main island were certainly a unique sight, but visibility was poor and the light was fading, so I didn't stay long.
Back in Sendai, I filled up on a bowl of Japanese udon noodles and started the 9 hour overnight journey to Sapporo in Hokkaido, the frozen North. I eventually managed to get my point across to the lady in the ticket office that I
wanted a seat, not a bed, in the sleeper train, which was free, as opposed to the 40 quid supplement for a bed. This meant a contorted, broken sleep in a two person seat, somehow waking up with a sprained wrist for my efforts. The train also had a habit of violently and loudly jolting every time it slowed down, but donning earplugs and my fleece neck pillow (along with hair-hat-itis and sleepy head I must have looked like a scarecrow performing a lifeboat drill), I made the best of it.
Day 9: 8th February
I love Japan!
On arriving, I took at train at 7am to Otaru, a "historic trading port" where I would be staying the night before travelling on to Sapporo for the Snow Festival. After a circuit of the town yielded nothing open, I sullenly retreated back to the station to fuel up in the only place open, a Japanese fast food joint called Lotteria. Luckily, it was worth it as there I met another traveller called Huw, who had done the same. An artist/animator from Singapore, partly here for an anime exhibition in Tokyo, he was spending 17 days in Japan after completing his military service.