Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sapporo Conference Day Two

Today was an interesting day.

We had a through overview of the Futenma airbase issue and Okinawa’s unique history and its relationship with mainland Japan. By chance I had lunch with Proffesors Sato (Okinawa lecture) and Furukawa (who presented yesterday). Professor Fukukawa is actually going to be in Ishigaki at the same time as April and I so we will try to organize a dinner or lunch together. He spent a year in Vanouver and is a Vancouver Canuks fan. We also had a lecture on the changing borders in central Europe, Schengenization, and Euroregions. It was a fairly basic overview but a good refresher on the issues.

Throughout the day my goal has been to try and get a phone call in through to April. It’s much more difficult than I had thought. The nice folks at 7-11 did their best to try and help me, but to no avail—the cards were only good for cell phones. Then the folks at the university said that I should try skype. I tried it, but the wireless networks and skype did not like each other, so I am going to have to resort to a collect call. I have investigated the process online, so I will attempt a “wake-up call” for April in a few minutes, as it’s nearly time for her to get up and go to work.

Dinner was fun. A group of us walked down to find a cheap sushi place and found one. It was pretty decent and good quality. Then we wandered with wonder through the heart of downtown Sapporo. All the lights remind me of Las Vegas. It really is quite something. It is truly unlike any other place I have ever been. I now know what my mother-in-law says about really feeling you’re not at home when you’re in Japan. Sapporo (only) has 1.8 million people, so I am both dreading and excited to see what Tokyo has to offer with its 13 million people.

We partook in some touristy activities like going up in a big ferris wheel, hanging out in a video arcade, and finding a bowling alley. All were on different stories in the same mall. I can’t wait to show April around when she gets here. It will be a lot of fun. I think the most fun can be found in simply people watching.
Replica of the border marker from Sakhalin Island. After the Japanese Russian war in 1905 the Japanese took possession of Sakhalin Island below the 50th parallel. They deported all the Russians and sent in settlers. After 1945 they gave up rights to the territory and the Russians deported all the Japanese. This is the Japanese side of the marker, represented by the Imperial Chrysanthemum.
This is the Russian side of the stone with the Imperial Russian double headed crest.

Here's some silly guy posing with it.
Bathroom with the heated toilet seat

Desk and hallway
The best translation yet. I have no idea what it means but its incomprehensibility is poetic.
The surprisingly comfortable bed


  1. Well, this sucks. April's phone won't accept international collect calls, apparently. Looks like I am out of luck until I can figure out some other way. Thank you Rogers.

  2. Ok, Skype did work. Thank goodness. What an ordeal.