Our Golden Week
Every May, Japan has a number of national holidays clumped together, forming what is commonly known as Golden Week. Most years, these public holidays create a 5-day weekend and if you take just a day or two off work, it becomes a long week of holidays. This year, Japan’s new emperor ascended on May first. This day was proclaimed a national holiday, extending the pre-existing long weekend to join the weekend before it, giving the nation a 10-day Golden Week!
Well, it just so happens that my Trial period coincided with this extra-special Golden Week. While technically I was not constrained to work those 10 days, practically, I could not get myself to step away from Trial work for so long. It tooks me months to get that far, and I decided I would work right through Golden Week.
That’s why my wife and I decided to take two days away this week and celebrate our own private Golden Week. It was “golden” in that
- It was a semi-replacement for the holidays we didn’t take earlier in the month.
- It was a celebration of getting accepted into a new job.
- We avoided peak season so had a little more “gold” left in our pockets than had we done the same trip when everybody else in the country was also celebrating ??
Our holiday started with a trip to Sapporo Art Park – more specifically, their outdoor Sculpture Garden. This is a location my wife and I have wanted to go to even while we were still courting. But as the name implies, this is an outdoor sculpture garden, so we have been waiting for the perfect weather before we go.
The outdoor museum consists of over 70 art works, distributed over a mountain/forest of about 7.5 hectares. (I think I got my week’s exercise in walking around that ??) It so happens that they had a Escape Game type even on at the time, too. So we went up and down the mountain, round and round the forest, searching for clues and figuring out the puzzles. The walk, the game, the scenery and even some of the interactive artwork were all contributed to a fun day out!
Jozankei hot springs
We then spent the night at Jozankei, a famous hot springs town on the outskirts of Sapporo. The town wasn’t over-crowded with tourists as it is famous for being in peak tourism season, which made the night there that much more enjoyable. The town saw its prime a couple decades ago. While about half the hotels have managed to stay open and are now serving a new generation of tourists, a 20 minute walk from our hotel down some of the back roads showed how there used to be other lodging options here, too.
Home-made Turkish food at LALE
We completed our trip the following day by visiting a Turkish restaurant the two of us had being eyeing for a while now. (Sorry, they didn’t have a homepage I could link to…) The shop was run single handedly by a friendly Turkish man who seemed to have been living in town for a good few years now. Other customers in the store seemed to know him personally and he was keeping up a good chat with them while cooking and serving everyone else, too. The food was delicious, the price was cheap, really, and he gave us a few drops of cologne on the way out… (I’m not sure, is that a Turkish custom?) Excellent customer service overall ??