Finally I’ve arrived at a few rolls that I shot during my trip to Japan at the end of April/early May. I took three cameras, intending to make the Nikon FE (for which I have a lot of lovely lenses) my primary camera, with the Rollei 35s as a pocket companion and the Diana as a just for fun ride along, since it weighs nothing. As has happened to me twice before on wonderful overseas trips, the Nikon body crapped out on me early on, leaving me with the Rollei, which did yeoman duty, and the Diana which turned out to be a lot of fun.
I spent my first four days in the north, in Hokkaido, traveling by train, and local bus and subway in Sapporo. It was unlike anywhere else I’ve visited except maybe Iceland (colder northern climate, lots of natural hot springs, gorgeous scenery). The shots on this roll were taken in and outside of Sapporo, a very large and beautiful city. The city hosted the 1972 winter Olympics and some remnants can still be seen. Just outside the city mountains rise up suddenly, providing what must have been a spectacular venue for the games. Two ski jump facilities are still maintained and apparently still used for practice. I visited the Okurayama stadium which took a bit of traveling to get to – subway, bus and then a bit of a hike, but totally worth it. There was still some snow on the ground in late April, and it was chilly.
Not only is there a museum and stadium viewing facility, but there is a ski lift you can ride to the top where there is an observation platform with a breathtaking view.
The view from the top convinced that ski jumping requires a stronger heart than I have! There was also a panoramic view of the city below.
In late April, the Sakura (cherry blossom) season is already over in central Japan, with blossoms falling from the trees in Tokyo. In Hokkaido, however, spring was just getting started.
A central focal point in the city is lovely Odori park. It reminded me of similar parks in European cities. It bisects the city from east to west and seemed to be always filled with residents strolling, enjoying a snack or just taking in the view.