2011-07-07

Otaru, Hokkaido - Part 1

Woohoo! Here's part 2 of my Hongkong + Otaru trip, sponsored by Park Hotel!!

For day 1 in Hongkong click HERE.

So anyway, from where I left off...


Cheesie and I before we leave for Japan. We had to transit at Haneda, Tokyo, before we could catch a domestic flight to New Chitose airport in Hokkaido.

Once we touched down at Haneda, it is like suddenly everything is so different.


I mean look at this alien toilet. It looks like a surgery room. I couldn't resist. I checked for handicapped people around first and went ahead to use it. I felt like I was peeing in some futuristic toilet.


Apparently you should keep a very, very stern watch on your child when putting them on the baby chair.

Cheesie was whining a little about the long transit time but I think she changed her mind when she saw this:


OK. The haneda airport is FREAKING AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Check it out! First we went up the observation deck:


OMG it was breath-taking. GORGEOUS view of the planes taxiing. The weather was at a perfect 24 degree Celsius, and it was so big and spaced out. Such a liberating feeling!

Cheesie and I even considered packing our food out there to eat alfresco.


On the 4th floor were shops built to look like olden Japanese towns. So cute!


We get lunch at a ramen shop, where for the first time I buy food with a vending machine.


Here's my ramen. It is extremely meh. I don't like ramen with miso or soy sauce soup! I like the white creamy sort.

Once I entered Pop Town I admit I went a little hysterical. It was filled with super cute shops!! Behold:



This seal puff thingy is like the Haneda airport mascot or something. I was about to splurge on some stuffed toys when Cheesie said "There is a hello kitty shop there. If you buy here you will regret not looking there first." Wise words.


Another toy shop with interesting gadgets and a freaking race track. I bought a bunny stuffed toy there at freaking $60. :( But it's so cute I can't possibly resist it! ♡


Grabs hair hysterically


Hyperventilates




Cheesie and I. So nice that they allow photos!



Love this floral kitty!

Anyway I was just deciding on which kitty to buy when Cheesie was speaking to the shop's assistant there who was actually Singaporean.

The shop assistant asked, "What time should you guys be on your next flight?" when a startled Cheesie realises that her watch was set to Hongkong time which is one hour behind Japan's. -_-

Which meant... We are super duper late!!!!

And the worst part? We were still dawdling in the international airport when we had to be at the domestic airport!!

But how bad can it be, right? Shouldn't take that long. WRONG. Had to take a stupid bus to get there!!


While waiting for the bus I still had the mood to camwhore with my new bunny (named Cottontail), because Cheesie was left in charge of the time and I was happily oblivious to how late we were.

I can't believe during the HK-Haneda flight I was still complaining to Cheesie about how I hate latecomers on flights and that the doors should all close on time. Absolutely no grace period for fuckers who make the entire plane wait. Really karma man.

Anyway, so I thought after getting the to the domestic airport it should be a piece of cake because typically domestic airports are smaller but it was a freaking ginormous maze.

Cheesie was antsy like mad and kept sprinting - YES SPRINTING - in front of me. I had no choice but to run too. :( I was made painfully aware by my body that I am not suited for exercise.

And we got lost too coz the signs were so confusing and poor Cheesie had to speed-read all the Japanese words to see where to go.


So yes here's a photo of us finally on the plane, all sweaty and gross and unhappy. We did make it in good time though.


Check out these earphones that were given to us!! Cool isn't it? It is just a hollow rubber tube with no wires, but it amplifies the music very well! Amazing.


Us waiting for our luggage. You can see Cheesie checking out the Japanese dude who looks like he uses Gatsby.


I LOVE this photo! If you are wondering what's happening here...


I was happily sitting on the luggage trolley and made Cheesie push me! LOL

After this we had to find a train to get to Otaru!!

Just a heads up for anyone who intends to take this holiday up. It is really quite difficult for anyone who can't read/speak Japanese to find out how to get there because the signs are all written in squiggly Japanese (not even English Japanese). The locals don't commonly speak English either, so do your research!


Train conductor is super kindly and helped us with other luggage. He actually came looking for us to make sure we got off at the right station!! Japanese people are really crazy nice!


Duffy and cottontail. Quaint Japanese countryside outside the window.





It was a very enjoyable ride.

And here's a video of us on the train:


And we were so amazed because guess what?


Right beside the train was the sea. It was so freaking gorgeous. 
And serene, just choo-choo-ing along with the sunset.


Took a sneaky photo of this dude drawing on his paper. Anyone knows what this is?

And we reached our stop! Grand Park Hotel Otaru, is just a 5 min walk from the station.


Posing with the ferris wheel just outside the hotel

The hotel itself is super grand!



Had our luggage carried up, and it's time for dinner. We were supposed to have a hotel buffet but it was a little too late and the buffet line was closing.

So the chef specially made a meal for us.


Our appetizer. So good. I know it looks very simple but omg... That brie was just so awesome! Cheesie said it is because hokkaido milk/cheese is famous. And that pancake is filled with hokkaido corn kernels. FREAKING YUMS! Never had pancakes with corn before, didn't know it could be so nice!

Even that little strawberry which looks so unremarkable was so sweet and delicious! It's just that the Japanese have such high standards for their food quality.

Btw I'm gonna rave a lot about this meal because it is seriously one of the best meals of my life.


Cheesie ordered apple juice. I was uninterested because I don't usually like apple juice. She said "Are you sure? It is very nice." and so I tried hers and she was right it is the yummiest apple juice I've ever had -_-. And of course, made from hokkaido apples.

And look at that dull bread on the side. Cheesie started eating the bread and I was like "What a waste of stomach space. Bread. Pah!"

She said try the butter, it is famous worldwide. So I reluctantly did:

Hokkaido butter

OMG BEST BUTTER EVER. It is softer than the usual butter and it is fluffy! Melts in your mouth etc etc. I finished the bread. -_-


Corn soup up next. Need I say this? Freaking delicious. Made for hokkaido corn + the amazing hokkaido cow's cream, obviously delicious right??


Our seafood entree with some giant prawn, scallop, and fish, with a potato crisp on top.


It is so good wtf. Ok since my standard and expectations were already made so high from my appetizers I'd say the prawn is as good as a typical Singapore restaurant's but the scallop is super sweet and the fish is beyond delicious. The skin is so crispy! I have no idea what fish it is! To be fair the veggie thingy is not that nice.

At this point Cheesie and I were filled to the brim. I was like DONE. Happy and full! But this came along:


BEST. BEEF. EVER.

The tenderness is done just right. The exterior of the beef is actually CRISPY, while the inside remains a bit rare. The marbling is so exquisite and it is so fresh, it just bursts with juice in your mouth. Sprinkled with bits of sea salt for perfection. I think this ranks among the top 3 best steaks I've ever had!

I asked Cheesie to ask the chef what beef this is because seriously such good beef had to be like kobe beef, right? Imagine our surprise when the answer was "roast beef". Just normal beef from a normal Hokkaido cow. They couldn't understand why we were asking what beef it is.

It is easy to neglect the stuff at the side when the steak is so wonderful but seriously, those mushrooms are heavenly too! And I even finished the carrot when I usually hate carrots!

After our steak Cheesie and I were groaning because we knew a dessert had to be coming up and there was no way I can stuff it in!

I told her it's probably gonna be some typical chocolate lava cake thing and I'm not gonna eat it at all. She said "don't speak too soon" and she was right...


OK I know I took a bad picture of the dessert but this, ladies and gentlemen, is the BEST dessert I've ever had in my life!! MY WHOLE LIFE!

On the top is a milk sorbet, then a layer of hokkaido strawberry sauce, with milk pudding at the bottom.

It sounds so average but I'm telling you that pudding is not normal!! Usually pudding is a tad firm but this is like the consistency of... soft boiled eggs? Semi solid till you put a spoonful in your mouth and it just melts into liquid. The sweetness is exactly right too. Mixed with the strawberry bits and ice-cream it is just an orgasmic package!

I told Cheesie I felt like I was eating an angel's brains. LOL

Anyway, while eating that pudding I was so overwhelmed with emotions I started to tear. T_T That dessert was just too much. I mean seriously I am just humble me what did I do to deserve such freaking awesome food and awesome service and awesome holiday wtf. And it was just wave after wave of such good food!! I can't even believe it!

And it's so nice to relax and have people pamper us after all our stress of missing our flight and I just felt so contented and happy... :')

Cheesie saw me tear and started to tear too LOL

Seriously though, the only other time I was so touched by food I actually teared was at my own wedding. (What? Forlino served some kickass cod!)


With the amazing chef who worked OT to cook for us.

And that's that. 

We go up to our room... Which is an executive suite!!!

o_0



This is the living room. IT IS SO HUGE!!!!!!!!!


Our bed


Night view... You can make a guess what the blurry objects are. The day view will be revealed in my next entry!


This is the first time I've seen a hotel provide not only a comb but also a hair brush AND a rubber band for tying hair. Thanks for being so considerate towards ladies with long manes!


Toilet bowls with warmed seats. Every time I sit on one I sigh in happiness.

Ending this entry with a silly photo:


Cheesie and I doing a mask before going to bed!

For some reason she took this photo, reviewed it on her camera, and laughed her ass off. It is THAT funny meh??

She was breathlessly saying "HAHAHAH HAHA HAHA HAHAHAHA we HAHAHA look so HAHAHA stupid HAHAHAHA HAHHA"

And kept making me laugh too, which is an uncomfortable affair in a mask. LOL

That's it for Otaru day 1. Will blog about day 2 soon!


p/s: Cheesie's version is HERE!

♥♡♥♡♥♡♥♡♥♡♥♡♥♡♥♡♥♡♥♡♥♡♥♡♥♡♥♡♥♡


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