First post and explanation
This is the police. Please disperse immediately. Or, you know, don't. That's okay too.
Alright, let's forget about the day before yesterday and yesterday morning. What happened thereafter was stressed-out-izu-free, so we'll just skip straight to that part, agreed? Cool.
I'm visiting Sapporo for my three-day semester break.
Sapporo itself is crazy, crowded, and gives off a completely different impression than Hakodate. Let's put it this way: if Hakodate is Omaha or Iowa City, then Sapporo is Chicago. Shorter, but a similar vibe, and even sketchier nightlife, if you can imagine.
I met up with my group of friends near a botanical garden and from there we hung out in a park with lots of modern art sculpture that also double as playground equipment. This is the kind of postmodernism I think is rad: playful, useful, not obnoxious or pretentious. After drawing stares clammering all over the equipment, we drew more stares by whipping out a soccer ball and playing around with it on the green space for an hour or so.
The appropriate simile for this situation, we decided, was if a group of ten or so very flamboyent drag queens came to a park and horsed around for a while. Kids stare, adults try not to stare but do anyway, and some harmless attention is attracted.
Sapporo, though, definitely has a higher foreigner population than Hakodate. I saw a white/black/Hispanic/not-Asian person I didn't know once every ten minutes or so, rather than once every three days like in Hakodate.
After going back to our quite clean and pretty reasonably priced hostel to, er, 'freshen up' we headed out to the town's main bar district, Susukino.
Lots happened from there. We got really awful, probably purposefully bad service at a restaurant (we hadn't been drinking yet, so to the best of our knowledge nothing about our behavior triggered the treatment), ran into some HIF people at a bar and hung out there for a while with two Japanese punk girls who liked grabbing my friend's boobs and saying, "I love you! Please be my girlfriend!" in English. Over and over.
After Bar Le Boobgrab, we rounded past an extremely packed, extremely loud bar chock full of foreigners (all of whom looked like JETers or hippy backpackers) and danced at a near empty club called "Booty" for a while because there was no cover charge. That got lame quick, so eventually it was back to Rad Brothers, the foreigner hang-out.
Within Rad Brothers was a soundtrack of indie rock rather to my tastes, tons of very rowdy people, and two guys getting tattoos. No, seriously. A Japanese guy with his shirt off was getting a tattoo across his back in the middle of a dirty, smokey bar spilling over with drunken people possessing little sense of balance.
I talked with two Japanese university students for a while, one of whom was flirting with me, and complimented them on their excellent English (we were speaking in Japanese, but they both pronounced my name correctly, is what tipped me off, rather than the Japanese-equivalent to my name 'eh-ree-kkoo.') Then I hung out with a group of Japanese bohemians crouched on the corner with drinks, cigarettes, and snack food. They were waaaaasted and hilarious to talk to. One of them responded to my question of what he was eating by grabbing my head, pulling me over, and feeding me what turned out to be beef jerky.
The night ended when the police came in paddy wagons and announced that the crowd had to disperse. One of the bohemians dropped his pants and mooned the police, who responded to this by, again, politely requesting us to disperse and not arresting anyone. In fact, after a while, when nobody appeared to be moving or even paying the police much attention at all (I'd removed myself to the other side of the street), the police just sorta left. Like, "Oh well, we did our best, I guess it's back to the station we go."
Today should be all around better than yesterday, if luck has it.