December 3, 2018

Japan 2018 day 3: a crabulous feast

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We were up and at 'em early again this morning, trying to catch the sunrise that we missed yesterday.  I don't usually get my ass up this early, but Hello Kitty seemed determined to catch the sun coming up over the mountains, so we bundled up, grabbed our cameras, and went outside while it was still dark.

There was still some cloud cover above the mountains, but the light turned out to be pretty nice once the sun rose... especially when it illuminated the top of Mount Yotei (羊蹄山).  Someone had made a tiny little snowman and placed him on top of the fence, so Hello Kitty and I tried to take snaps of him against the rising sun.

I had told the ladies that we should take a "drone selfie" before we leave, so I took them to the parking lot where I was flying my drone yesterday, and launched from the same spot.  My newly replaced drone had only been hovering at a low altitude for a couple of minutes before it suddenly lost GPS signal and started to drift away over the cliff.  Fuck!  This was my second episode in as many days, and I panicked for a brief moment.  Thankfully the drone maintained connection with the remote control, so I was able to maneuver the drone back above the parking lot - where it regained GPS signal.  We managed a couple of selfies as well as short videos, then packed it in.

It might still be early, but the old fogeys staying at the Windsor Hotel Toya are up and about.  Which meant that restaurants serving breakfast were fully-occupied.  As we had a bus to catch, the decision was made to get to the grand hall serving breakfast buffet.  So I grabbed a small selection of goodies and tried to chomp quickly, while trying not to be sad about missing my morning onsen (温泉) session with a view.

We arrived at the JR Sapporo Station after a 2-hour train ride, and wheeled our luggage around the corner to the JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo.  Of course they wouldn't give us our rooms until the official check-in time of 3 p.m., so we left our luggage at the hotel and went to the Sapporo Central Wholesale Market Crab Curb Market (札幌市中央卸売市場場外市場) looking for lunch.

We did some souvenir shopping at Kitano Gourmet (北のグルメ) as mom placed her order to me over the phone, and after looking around on Tabelog for some options around the area, we decided to buy some seafood from the shop and dine at the in-house restaurant Kitano Gourmet-tei (北のグルメ亭).  Both Hello Kitty and My Birdbrain Cousin insisted on having a whole crab for lunch, and the latter wanted us to take down a whole Alaskan king crab... with just the three of us.

First up was some raw sea urchin soaked in salt water (塩水生雲丹), which came from the Kuril Islands.  Very yum as expected.

I saw some huge surf clams (北寄貝) in the tanks below, so we picked out three of them and had two served raw.

We also had the restaurant grill one of the clams.  This actually brought out the sweetness of the clam meat.

Then came the Alaskan king crab - a small one at "just" 1.8kg or so.  Can't complain when the crab is just fished out of the tank in front of you...

Even for someone who loves tomalley as much as I do, there are limits... I honestly couldn't finish this... and there was more inside the apron... which My Birdbrain Cousin nibbled on.

I left the claws to the ladies, and Hello Kitty picked up the big one.

I was pretty damn stuffed... and totally forgot to order up one of the live squids swimming around in a tank downstairs.  Oh well... at least the ladies were happy they got their crab!

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