“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” … and where could I find it but in Sapporo.
This year was my first Christmas away from home. As the days drew near, I was homesick for Minnesota and all things Christmas. Andrew had games in Sapporo, so instead of spending one of my favorite holidays alone, I joined him for what would be our first “official” family Christmas.
Sapporo is located on the island of Hokkaido. And is probably most famous for it’s brewery. I think everyone has heard of Sapporo beer, right? Well this was the place. And it was the closest thing to a white (Minnesota) Christmas I could come by. Stepping out of the airport I was happily greeted with snow flurries and 30 degrees. Which surprisingly put a smile on my face. My next stop was to get some food … a famous dish called Shabu Shabu.
Shabu Shabu is the Japanese version of a hot pot. It uses thinly sliced meat and vegetables, cooked in a pot of boiling water and served with several dipping sauces. It was delicious! (and all you can eat … lucky me!) After dinner, we took a walk around the city.
The next morning, on Christmas Eve, Andrew and I went to Sapporo’s version of a German Christmas market. The Japanese don’t celebrate Christmas in the traditional way. There are no lights, no Christmas trees, no Santa, no decorations, nothing around that reminded me of Christmas. You can say I just wasn’t feeling the Christmas spirit until I arrived here. This little corner of the city had everything. Snow, music, trees, lights, Santa, ornaments, roasted almonds, glühwein, you name it. Finally it felt like Christmas!
After spending much of the morning there, soaking up every last ounce of Christmas I could, it was time for some hockey. And I think the Ice Bucks got just what they wanted for Christmas … two wins!
It might not have been the Christmas I grew up with but I still had a Christmas filled with love, laughter and family around me.
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!