Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hakodate (函館)

A few weeks ago I went to Hakodate (函館), south of Hokkaidou (北海道).

I went there with some of my lab colleagues in order to attend a Japanese conference on Embedded Systems, called SIGEMB (情報処理学会 組込みシステム研究会).

The day we arrived, we noticed that the temperature was not as cool as we expected. In fact it was almost as hot as in Nagoya. Many people go to Hokkaidou during Summer holidays to escape from the excessive heat in other parts of Japan. As the conference started the next day, we had some free time for tourism. The picture above was taken from the Goryōkaku Tower where you can have good views of the city of Hakodate.

The next day, we went to the Future University (未来大学), where the conference was held. The building was surprising at first, spacious and modern. However many of us were wondering how many people would move to such an isolated place as the one where the University is located at. I made a presentation there and in fact, it was my first presentation in Japanese!!. After the presentation I received several questions, also in Japanese. There was one question that I could not understand correctly at first because the accent of the person asking the question (most probably from Osaka 大阪) was a bit difficult for me. There were some interesting presentations. I especially liked one about clone code.

The day after the conference we had some time for ourselves. We took a train to Nanae town (七重町), rented some bicycles and went around the Oonuma lake(大沼湖), which is near an active volcano called Komagatake (駒ヶ岳). Actually, I wanted to climb that volcano but they said that I had to apply at least 3 days in advance!

During the afternoon I went to climb Mt. Hakodate (函館山), which is famous for having one of the best night views in the world. The path to climb it is quite nice and I could see some squirrels. Do not go out of the path because there are snakes. Specially be careful with the so-called mamushi マムシ!

The day had been a bit cloudy so I didn't have the chance to see the long-awaited night views of the city. Instead, I enjoyed the beautiful colors of the sunset while wearing my new t-shirt :D (Note: kuma means bear in Japanese). I went down at night using the cable car.

Now that I am finishing this post I realized that I didn't mentioned anything about food in Hakodate. Trust me, if you ask any Japanese what is worth doing in Hakodate, they will all tell you to eat as much seafood and fish as you can! This is because you can enjoy very fresh seafood at much cheaper prices than in the rest of Japan.

Apart from seafood, there were also some other interesting places that we went for lunch such as Hakodate Genghis Khan (函館ジンギスカン) which is basically a yakiniku (焼肉) restaurant, the Lucky Pierrot hamburguer chain or some place near Oonuma lake (大沼湖) which served a huge dish of ankake yakisoba (あんかけ焼きそば).


Maria said...

hehe it's funny that while mamushi exists on wikipedia in 5 languages, one of them is polish :)

Sangorrin said...

hehe true!