My fourth visit to Japan: you already know about the other three. But you probably also already know that this year's trip was undertaken in different circumstances from the previous ones. Since the beginning of April, The Belated Birthday Girl had been out in Sapporo on a ten-week language course. When I went out there in mid-June to bring her back, it became a holiday of two halves: the first week spent in Sapporo while she wrapped up her course, the second week spent touring around other towns on the northern island of Hokkaido.
So this travel piece will take its structure from the holiday, and come in two distinct chunks (with a break for the Edinburgh Festival in the middle). In Part One, I'll look at Sapporo, trying to avoid overlapping with The BBG's own bloggings on the city. In Part Two, we'll focus on our tour of Noboribetsu, Hakodate and Otaru: The BBG may pipe up once or twice in there to let you know about the food and drink options available. Audio-visual supplementary material is available from a number of sources: photos on my Moblog and her Picasa, videos on my YouTube channel and (New Thrill Alert!) hers too.