All signs in English

Sapporo Travel Blog

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Just to get it straight from the beginning why did I go to Japan? There are a lot of places to go hence instead of doing excessive research about the different places I could go I decided to go for the dart arrow approach. Just hurling a dart towards a map of the world and see where it lands. Of course this method is not entirely failsafe. The first few arrows ended in Antarctica - way too cold this time of the year. Then Sahara - done that this time of year - and trust me it is too hot - I am not falling for the Sahara things in July again. Next few arrows landed in the Pacific and the Atlantic far far away from the nearest land - hence no good. Next arrow in Afghanistan which could be an option but for some reason I could not find anyone to go with me and it is just too expensive to travel that country on your own. The next arrow fell close to Japan. So the answer to the question why go to Japan is - because it is there. :P Ok maybe this is not exactly how it happen but it could have been this way.


I had some doubts about the country before I left. Would I be able to find my way around - considering my Japanese vocabulary is somewhat limited to a few words like, sake, sushi and hai. And I would probably have problems with some of the sign at the stations if they were only in Japanese.  But the first part of my journey started pretty well - everybody spoke English - ok this was onboard the 747 from ANA bringing me from Frankfurt to Tokyo - it could have something to do with it but then again maybe all Japanese speak English?


I have an extended waiting period in Tokyo before I can get on my connection to Sapporo. The city is up in the far north of Hokkaido and is most famous for hosting the winter Olympic Games of 1972. I must admit I did not know Sapporo was known for this - but in my defense I actually wasn’t born in 1972 so that might be how I missed the games.


I get out of the airport - and now the fun will begin. I will need to get on a train and a subway to get to my accommodation. Fortunately the trains in Japan got a punctuality rate of around 99½ percent - and I know the train from the airport will take 28 minute to reach my connecting subway station from where I will have to go 6 stops on the subway. I manage to buy a ticket - admittedly I am helped a great deal by the fact you can choose English language on the machine. Then I get onboard the train keeping a close eye on my watch counting the seconds from we start to we reach 28 minutes. Then as we approach the first station I notice there are a sign showing the name of the stations in Japanese - and English - furthermore the stations are called in both Japanese and English over the speakers - hence I really don’t have any problem getting off at the right station.


Next challenge is getting from the train station to the subway station. But as it turns out the route is actually signed in both Japanese and English. And on the subway are signs in English. All in all the journey from the airport turned out a lot easier than expected now I only had to walk down the road for about 10 minutes to get to where I am going. Considering this is the fifth largest Japanese city it is actually a lot more quite than I had expected - there are only a few cars and couple of bike running on the street as I walk along it.

karen789 says:
You have put my mind at rest. Instead of opting for car hire on my first day, I wanted to try the public transport, now I know it won't be so difficult.
Posted on: Oct 09, 2012
gingerbatik says:
thanks for the advice:) very weldone...
Posted on: Jun 03, 2011
soonthiam says:
Your blog are well written. Informative and entertaining. I know I am going to enjoy going through your travel blogs. Cheers!
Posted on: Feb 17, 2011
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