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Hakodate Weekend 函館の週末 – Day 1

Hakodate is a city on the southernmost tip of the island of Hokkaido. It’s a port city that figures large in modern Japanese history. It’s the first city in Japan that the American Navy under Commodore Perry opened up to the world at the end of a period of isolation. An important battle at the end of Tokugawa Period and the beginning of the Meiji Era took place here as well. Hakodate is also known for its physical beauty because the city is situated on a tiny isthmus surround by the ocean on both sides and a mountain conveniently located at the southern end of the city to take in this scrumptious city and ocean view.

sapporo to hakodate map

For our travels to Hakodate from Sapporo, we considered two different modes of travel. The train would have been faster and more comfortable ride, but the price was roughly ¥8,300 one-way/¥16,600 round trip. Looking at a train ride that costs about CAD$170 per person was not what we wanted to spend. Especially when I think of the time to get there as almost the same as a Vancouver to Seattle road trip.

Thankfully, one of our shared-house mates had done the trip to Hakodate previously and took a Chuo Bus. The round-trip ticket worked out to just about ¥8,000 round-trip per person. That was half the price of what it would have cost us by train. Being a transit traveller and passenger train geek, I would have loved to take the Super Hokuto train to Hakodate. However, our budget for staying a month in Hokkaido did not allow for such a luxury. The bus was way more economical.

By toll highway without any stops, the drive from Sapporo to Hakodate is just under 4 hours. However, we had a pit stop at a toll highway rest stop for a half hour and we deviated from the expressway a few townships before Hakodate. So our bus ride was more like 6 hours from station to station.

JR Hakodate Station

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Toronto 2013 – College Street at Night

For my last night in Toronto, I stayed at Planet Traveler hostel. It’s on College Street near Augusta Avenue and just at the edge of the Kensington Market.  I do recommend staying here.  The shared accommodation is cheap, clean and comfortable.  It has the 3 C’s of hostelling that are hard to come by.  It has free WiFi and free breakfast.  Hard to go wrong with free breakfast.  I just needed the one night, so I only got to know my roommates for a short while.

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Toronto 2013 – Kensington Market

After my visit to the AGO, I had to make my way to the hostel that I booked for my last night in Toronto. I wanted to spend an extra night in Toronto to just see a little bit more.  The hostel was all the way on College and Augusta.  I had to make my way from Dundas and Beverley to get there.

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Toronto 2013 – Toronto at Night

Previously on metrobabel:

At the end of September, I had the chance to be in Toronto for a work-related meeting.  The weather in Vancouver had already an added crispness while Toronto was still hovering in the low 20’s and high teens for temperature.

[Toronto 2013 – Around the Royal York]

After all the work meetings were done for the day and I had grabbed a little dinner, I would wonder around Toronto with Camera in hand.  This time, I had also carried along my Gorillapod SLR-Zoom.  I couldn’t fit my usual tripod in my carry-on to Toronto.  So I packed my much smaller Gorillapod.

I’ve never actually done much long exposure photography.  However, Toronto is probably a perfect place to take a lot of photos at nights with all the bright lights of the largest city in Canada.  So the small and flexible Gorillapod would help me to keep my camera still while I took long exposures.  The only problem was finding enough flat top newspaper boxes in the right spots to get the right angles.  Sometimes I just put it down on the sidewalk to take some of my shots.

Here are my shots of downtown Toronto at night.  The photos were taken on two separate nights and are primarily from the west side of downtown Toronto.

RBC Centre – Wellington St at University Ave

Toronto International Film Festival’s TIFF Bell Lightbox – King St at John St

SW corner of King St and John St

Chapters & Scotiabank Theatre – John St at Richmond St

CHUM Radio neon – Duncan St and Richmond St

Art Gallery of Ontario – Dundas St at McCaul St

Sharp Centre for Design at Ontario College of Art & Design University

Ontario College of Art & Design University

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts – University Ave and Queen St

Salem Street, North End of Boston

Sorry. It looks April is too busy for longer blogs. Busy trying to recover data from my dead hard drive, finish up my taxes, and keeping up with the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Here’s a photo of Salem Street in the North End of Boston. After a great meal in an Italian restaurant, we were stranded here with no taxi in sight. Apparently, if you are in the North End, walk over to Hanover Street where most of the action is and you should be able to find a taxi there. Here on Salem, it was tumbleweeds and us.

So I was bored and snapped a really grainy Instagram shot of the street. No danger of being run over at this time of night.

Illuminate Yaletown

Illuminate Yaletown – Feb 21, 2009 – starting 5:29pm

This event looks like an exciting new annual get-together with a lot of potential.  I think these kind of free public events are great.  This would be similar to the Nocturne event that I attended in Halifax where you wander and find different art installations.  I think these kind of events are great for the community and gets strangers mingling with each other as they interact with the displays.  Not sure how interactive things will be, but it should still be fun.

For all you shutterbugs, they have created a Flickr photo pool to which you can upload your photos from the evening.  Don’t forget to ziploc your camera before leaving the house so that the electronics don’t experience temperature shock and condensation.

Dress warmly as it is technically winter.  Although, you might not believe that since the weather has been so nice lately.