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Old 01-13-2011, 12:01 PM
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Sapporo is lovely (I also loved Hakodate) and I actually liked the weather!
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Old 01-13-2011, 10:58 PM
Location: US Empire, Pac NW
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YES! Hakodate! That was the name of the city I was thinking of visiting as a first stop to Hokkaido! It was a major trading port and one of three which opened to foreign trading ships after Perry opened Japan to foreign trade. As such it has a lot of charming old 19th century architecture, and much of the city is a unique blend of cultural references. And, as expected of the Japanese, they meticulously keep the place clean and the buildings restored and maintained.

They also have pretty lights in winter. I really want to go there!

RE: "Racism" against foreigners in Japan ... you have to understand that pretty much most of the crime in Japan is caused by foreigners, and many of the things we take for granted, say, "saying how it is" to quote an East Coast friend of mine, is considered very rude. Many foreigners come to Japan expecting their culture to bend to their whims and many times are simply ignorant of local customs and manners. Most often, you'll see people refused entry into bars, because stupid foreigners get drunk and cause a ruckus (especially Russians and US folks) and be loud and obnoxious. The Japanese HATE public displays of rowdiness. It's barbaric to them.

Most foreigners won't be like that, but the ones who ruin it for everyone else are to blame. And the good thing is a business won't refuse entry to anyone unless something bad already happened.

I've never encountered this, and have never been refused entry anywhere. At the onsen, it's natural for some people to take a look at you ... especially if you're a hairy ape, like myself.
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