After that, when we were having ramen, she mentioned a place that intrigued me. The port town of Otaru, just northwest of Sapporo, known for its beautiful canal, the sublime seafood and music boxes (there's a famed music box museum).
And then, hours later, when I attended the Hokkaido Selection program screening, and saw a short film set in the town (there was also a scene shot in the museum), I instantly decided to go there.
So, I went yesterday.
Because of my friend Yi Hua's recommendation, and also @sasa_meg 's short. I'm heading off with dad to Otaru to visit the music box museum— Edmund Yeo (@greatswifty) September 13, 2012
This is dad, before hopping onto the train to Otaru 小樽. twitter.com/greatswifty/st…— Edmund Yeo (@greatswifty) September 13, 2012
The train ride to Otaru was rather brief, perhaps it was around 40 minutes.
In front of the Otaru station.
I made my way to the Otaru canal that I heard so much about.
Aha. So this is the famous Otaru canal.@ 小樽運河 instagr.am/p/PgYFXvpxPo/— Edmund Yeo (@greatswifty) September 13, 2012
I really want to visit this canal again, during winter, and see the place covered in snow.
Took a break and had some butter ramen. Dad had a big bowl of seafood champon.
Dad trying some seafood champon. Otaru specialty? twitter.com/greatswifty/st…— Edmund Yeo (@greatswifty) September 13, 2012
Dad claimed that this meal was the defining moment of the trip.
We continued our way through the streets of Otaru.
At that time, on Facebook, my friend Yihwen was asking me to try out the 5 flavor ice-cream. The shop was along the way, but I went for 6 flavors instead.
Because I'm greedy, I requested for a 6 flavor ice cream instead of the usual 5 flavor that they serve. Very epic. twitter.com/greatswifty/st…— Edmund Yeo (@greatswifty) September 13, 2012
(the truth is that, out of the 6 flavors to choose from, I really didn't know which one to drop, so the nice lady just suggested that I go for all, so I did.)
Nevertheless, sightseeing while Facebooking, and having a friend suggest places to you in real-time, is something I never would've imagined just 2 years ago.
After the epic seafood champon and the epic 6-flavor ice-cream, I finally reached the famous music box museum of Otaru.
The famous music box museum of Otaru! twitter.com/greatswifty/st…— Edmund Yeo (@greatswifty) September 13, 2012
It is a very interesting place, beautifully melodious sounds from music boxes of all shapes and sizes filled the air.
Once we were done with the museum, we went to the cafe next door to sample its seemingly popular cheesecake, and some iced coffee.
Quite a classy place, this Otaru.
UPDATED: It is only a day after visiting the place that I realized that Otaru is where Shunji Iwai's LOVE LETTER (1995) was shot.
Knowing my adoration for the film during my teenage days, mom and dad had mentioned repeatedly that I should try to "visit the LOVE LETTER place" when I come to Hokkaido, and I just brushed them off, saying that the place was probably rather far away. I was wrong, I did end up visiting the place without knowing it. Of course, without the snow, it was unrecognizable.