Sapporo and some random thoughts

I have to admit, I've been to Sapporo two times before, and both times I didn't spent a lot of time in the city. All I did was merely hang out around the station and visit the obvious tourist spots. This time was the first time I visited Susukino and the area that the tram loops around in. Damn, what a city! It's quite huge. Susukino is stylish in some areas, sleazy in others, but always full of life. I can't say the copious amounts of bars and clubs suit me, but I find it interesting to see (from the outside) nonetheless. Myself, I'm more of a lonely 'eat your cocoichi curry and then go back to the hotel' kind of guy. For all the city-ness that Sapporo offers, I guess I'll be happy to leave it all behind and discover new camping sites along new seaside roads.

This is also the first time that I'm in Sapporo in good weather, and it does make a huge difference. Yesterday, cycling into town, seeing tons of people outside, on the grass, relaxing, cooling down, barbecueing, having fun, is just so much nicer than arriving in a cold winter town where everyone's cooped up inside. If only London could have some more sunshine days.. If there was a kickstarter for a weather control device I'd totally chip in.

Cycling observation: concentration is a powerful force. In the mornings I am energetic and fully focused. The mind hardly wanders and I notice a lot of things. After a while my mind starts to wander and I think of any random thing totally unrelated to where I'm cycling right now. The wandering usually stops after a good lunch break or if I put on some music to help me stay focused. Eventually, if it's a long, tough day, my mind no longer has the energy to wander. I'm just so tired that all I can do is focus on the road. I know it's time to stop cycling when I stop spotting potholes or rocks, but for 90% of the days I've reached a good stopping point before my mind becomes that sluggish. Not sure where I'm going with this, I guess I'm just observing that it's hard for my brain to concentrate on a single thing for 8 hours a day.

Generic observation: sometimes I do things that I know are bad and/or stupid, yet I do them anyway. For example, passing a conbini despite needing supplies and knowing that there won't be another one any time soon, yet I stubbornly cycle on instead of cycling back for a few seconds. Same thing happens for side roads: some of them obviously lead to nowhere, yet I try them anyway until the end rather than turn back at an earlier point. Vice versa, some side roads are obviously better, yet somehow I don't take them. Why? I have no idea. It's like my brain is stuck on a rail and can't change course. This effect used to be a lot worse, but the GPS and offline maps have lessened it a lot this trip. Also, it applies to food: wandering into a restaurant I know is going to be overpriced or meh, yet somehow not being able to stop myself. "Can't be arsed to exert self-control"-syndrome, I guess.

Hokkaido's heat wave is still full on, and tomorrow is going to be a crazy hot day. So naturally, instead of taking it easy and taking the straight road to the ferry, I'm going to take an indirect route and climb 600 meters to a mountain lake :D. It should be the perfect test for my new very uncool hat. The ferry leaves at 23:59, so it's not like I have anything better to do. Speaking of which, I totally failed at bike maintenance today because the heat made me lazy, and the one decent bike shop that was nearby was closed for inexplicable reasons. So I'll deal with my bike tomorrow at the ferry port. I'll have plenty of time to waste there anyway.

I can only hope that the rainy season will stay away for a couple more weeks..


Posted in Spirit of Japan 2