Nearly two weeks into my trip and I’ve finally had “real sushi.” It’s not that sushi is hard to find or that there aren’t a lot of sushi restaurants – but as you might have noticed, if something is easy to find, I usually miss it. But today I succeeded! There’s a sushi restaurant a stone’s throw away from my hotel, in the middle of the morning fish market. It was one of the pricier meals I’ve had in Japan - $30 for 12 pieces of sushi – but each piece was hand made to-order less than 6 feet from me, with fresh fish and pretty decent portions. The quality was definitely there and if you’re a sushi fan it’s worth the price.
In the afternoon I wandered back to the red brick warehouse district, which is where a lot of Hakodate’s souvenir goodies are. I’ll be mum on that for now but I do want to say a bit about convenience stores, since they’ve been a staple of my time here so far. Japan’s convenience stores are, well, much more convenient than the ones we have in Canada. For one thing, there’s many, many more of them – 7-11, FamilyMart, Lawson, and a few other chains have stores scattered every few blocks so you never have to walk far to get to one. Once you’re inside, you’ve got far more options. Beyond the candies, gum, hotdogs, and slushies you might expect at home, you can also buy all sorts of meals, snacks, as well as wine, dress shirts, and a few aisles of I-don’t-know-what-that-is-but-it-looks-fun.
Some (but not all) come with in-store seating where you can stop to eat or hop onto free wifi, and they also have garbage cans – something that’s fairly hard to find on the streets themselves. You can also get your food heated up for you if you want, but fair warning that a lot of the mini-meals come in plastic containers, which isn’t the greatest thing to stick in a microwave. Convenience store food isn’t as good as sushi or restaurant ramen, but it’s an easy fix, the staff are kind, and it’s nice to check out the stores that aren’t in the middle of tourist areas. All about the little things.