Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Beer, Mall, and Pets

Written August 2, 14:25 (Recap of July 31) Part II

What's a visit to Sapporo without a visit to the Sapporo beer factory? Here, we checked out the Beer museum, which is three short floors describing the history of the company, the process of making beer, past marketing, and lots of sampling.

It was all in Japanese, but the American brochure helped, and this was my third beer tour, so I think I'm good on the beer making process.

I had to stare at this sign a while for it to register in my brain that the words really sync with the picture. There's no cross through the circle, so I guess that means it's ok.

These cute, bright displays were setup in sequences. It had moving parts, bright lights, and a mystical beer fairy (above the beer) and beer elves. I can only imagine that this is for kids! (Reminds me of Christmas displays)

This was pretty cool. That two story kettle there was in use since the factory opened til 2003!

The trio sampler with cheese. The one on the left is my favorite, it's Sapporo Classic. Only available in Hokkaido (the northern prefecture of Japan).

There's a wall of these old advertisements. My favorites are the ones with kids in it!

In Japan, different regions have different food specialties. Up in Sapporo, the Ghengis Khan is such a specialty. I love the eating experience. I'm a huge advocate of the Melting Pot and have three fondue sets of my own. The Ghengis Khan is another table cooking dining experience. Meat and veggies are grilled table side then enjoyed in a mild dipping sauce. It's believed that the dish is called Ghengis Khan because the grill is shaped like his helmut. We enjoyed this dish at the Sapporo Bier Garten.

Yes, I'm wearing a bib. And, yes, that's melon soda with a girl bear on it. At the Sapporo Bier Garten.

We did lamb and beef. The plates of meat come with a cube of fat that you use to prep the grill. You leave the fat at the top and the juice drips down. There's a gutter at the bottom so the veggies steam in the drippings.

We continued our exploring and stopped at the Sapporo Factory Mall. Since Sapporo is way up north, it's often frigidly cold with snow. There are two huge under ground malls. This was a regular mall. 

A gift for your enemies, perhaps? From the 100¥ store.

While we were at the mall looking for a camera store on the directory, we saw that there's a pet shop! In need of Japanese treats for Sure and Mae, we promptly headed over. This was a REAL pet store, with easily over 50 kittens and puppies, and a plethora of miscellaneous animals including bunnies, squirrels, and ducks. The ages of the puppies ranged from 2 days to 6 months! There was also a Cat Cafe. Normally, these types of stores (Puparazzi) make me ill. But the puppies here were energetic, healthy, and hygienic. I know they need to be with their litter to learn social behaviors, etc. But honestly, I really didn't feel disgusted by it. (Disclaimer: I'm not condoning, promoting, or supporting it, so chillax, PETA!

Picture taking was not allowed, so I snuck a few shots with my camera side-slinged around my neck, sorry they're blurry, I was being discrete!
Some puppies playing in the window

Super cute chow chow pup about a week old.

Turtles no bigger than my big toe. It's illegal to sell or give turtles that are under 4 inches in diameter in the US for health reasons.

Bunnies, voles, rats, and squirrel.

That's a squirrel. It came closer to us, and we both jumped back!
This was a good warm up for the rest if the trip. We're heading south where the weather will be hotter, more humid, the train rides with be longer and more numerous, and the foot travel will be more extensive both in distance and time. I'm going to need a vacation after this!


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