|I asked the waitress if she had something on the menu that was very Japanese and that she thought was good. She suggested this mayonnaise and cheese covered squid.|
On Sunday, at the festival in Otaru, I ran into a Swedish guy visiting Japan to visit his girlfriend's family. On Monday, I met a Swedish researcher who was here in Sapporo for a conference. I went to elementary school with his wife, so this time there was a connection. A few months ago she asked me: "My husband is going to Sapporo around the end of July, do you want to meet him?"
We went out and had okonomiyaki, a Japanese dish that I like and that you rarely see outside Japan. For people visiting Japan, sushi is of course the most famous Japanese dish to try, but since you can try that abroad too (and if you go to a good enough place it might even be like Japanese sushi :-) ), I like to show visitors Japanese food that you cannot find elsewhere.
|Ramen salad, a Sapporo specialty|
When we were walking back towards his hotel and my bicycle, we stopped at a red light and four other people caught up to us there. They also spoke Swedish! It turned out to be four Swedish ladies travelling around Japan. They had been in Tokyo, and had just visited some small islands in the far north of Japan. They were going to stay a few days in Sapporo and then go south, finishing their trip in Hiroshima. When we met them they were heading for an electronics store to buy a battery charger for one of their cameras.
The next evening, I met up with my former classmate's husband again, and we went to an izakaya, a Japanese type of bar that typically serves Japanese food. When Japanese people go out to drink, this is one of the most common types of places to go too, and they serve a variety of food popular with Japanese people. We also had my Swedish colleague with us, and a Spanish guy from the same conference our Swedish guest was attending.
|A very very common way to prepare fish in Japan. This is a "hokke", which I did not know the Swedish name for. Probably there is no Swedish name for it? Hokke is very common (as food) in Hokkaido.|
I ordered a lot of different things to show a wide variety of food, but ended up ordering a bit too much. It was nice, though.
Meeting this many Swedes in one week in Hokkaido is very rare. The only week I have met more Swedes was the week when the Sweden Hills area and Leksand (a small place in Sweden) celebrated the 20 year anniversary of their sister city agreement and 70 or so Swedes came here for midsummer. One time I randomly met a group of 15 Swedes in Hard Rock Cafe in Tokyo (where I was taken by an Australian woman showing foreigners around), but Tokyo is not in Hokkaido.