Night lights, snow fall, quaint shops, small corridors, and canals are great elements to create a perfect evening stroll. This is exactly what I was aiming at when I went to Otaru.
It was February and the peak of winter when I was in Otaru. Coming from Kobe airport, we took a flight via Skymark to Sapporo. After checking in in our hotel in Susukino-Minami, we headed to JR Sapporo Station and took a train to Otaru. From Otaru station, we took a bus, ideally getting off near the canal. But we got lost. And this is one of those days that I’m glad I’m in Japan because when you’re in a fix, trust that help is on the way.
We are walking in extremely cold weather. Google maps is not working; the snow does not give any signs of stopping, and the sun is fading quietly in the distance. There are only a few souls walking on the street but no one can be as lost as we were. I was shivering, my left glove gone, and a tad disappointed that the music box museum was already closed. To be honest, I didn’t have the will to continue. Just kidding, I was okay after a can of hot Suntory chocolate from my friendly vendo. Long story short, I approached an old lady to ask for directions. But because I don’t understand her and pretended to understand a bit; I mean, to be polite, I need to show that her efforts are not wasted. She’s a true angel, this Obasan, and understanding that I didn’t understand, she offered to go with us, together. We headed on the opposite direction and she walked with us for about 500 meters just to see for herself that we won’t get lost again. Realizing this, I was touched and deeply moved.
Because of the weather, I only managed to take a few photos of the canal.
I was glad I went to Otaru even if I missed out on some of the attractions of the place. Because what I gained is far more important than visiting various places – I was reminded again and again of the goodness of people, how one can easily show another that caring is still what makes us human.