Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ghengis Kahn in Sapporo

Almost two weeks ago, and I still have not updated in any decent amount of time. No doubt all my readers have abandoned me. Who can blame them really? Anyways, the following comes from my trip to Sapporo that I have failed to update on:

While Sapporo is most famous for its Snow Festival, it legendary for the Sapporo Brewing Company that bears the city’s name. As Sapporo is my favorite draft beer, I grew quite excited at the opportunity to have it really fresh on tap. Going to the Sapporo Beer Garden and eating heaps of baby sheep and assorted vegetables grilled in front of you with an endless supply of Sapporo Draft Beer right inside the brewery is one of Sapporo’s simple pleasures. Like many Meiji Era buildings in and around Sapporo, the large, red-bricked Brewery betrays a Western/European influence from the 19th century. Brenden and Denise (who have both been to Germany) tell me the building replicates the atmosphere numerous places in Do-i-tsu (as it is called in Japanese)

Escorted through an enormous restaurant with over 100 tables, we put on our paper bibs and began feasting on Genghis Khan, which is piles of cabbage, onions, pumpkins, seafood, and endless heaps of raw lamb brought out to your table for you to fry on a griddle at your own pace. In Japanese, the words are tabehodai (all you can eat) and nomihodai (all you can drink). The servers allot you two hours in which to finish all you can. We all noticed that the first plate of lamb they brought out was the largest, and the next plates had subsequently fewer slices on them. By the time the fourth plate came around, there was only a laughable pittance of lamb on the plate and we all joked about eating more plates until they brought out a plate with one single slice of lamb. We never achieved this goal though, because at that point, we were all so completely bloated that we won’t be requiring any sort of nutritional sustenance until sometime in early March.

Brenden and Denise’s friend Debbie showed up with her friends in the middle of our meal. Some faithful readers may recall her coming down with Brenden to watch the Fire Festival in Sukagawa. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to spend any time with them.

During the remainder of the evening, we went to Susukino, which is an entertainment district reminiscent of Tokyo (only extremely cold). Dozens of beautiful ice sculptures filled the central avenue. And while they didn’t constitute the main Snow Festival attractions (the enormous snow sculptures in another part of town hold that title) they were fun to look at and run around in. There were plenty of commercial tie-ins, as Baileys and several vodka companies were out promoting their products in buildings constructed entirely of ice.

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