Posted On

2023 Dec 27

2 months ago

Updated On

2023 Dec 27

2 months ago

December Hokkaido 北海道 2023

With my sister's family, I had my year-end holidays in Sapporo, Hokkaido

The trip is split up into 5 nights (04~09) Sapporo, 4 nights (09~13) Club Med Sahoro and 4 nights (13~17) back in Sapporo

Of all these days, I brought the M10 with me only on 2 days of the trip. One would expect the camera to be on me most of the time. Photography, to me nowadays, is a mixed-emotion tool

Chill out and Habits

After taking "professional" photos for a good number of years, or even being a photographer, where you try your best to snap the best angle, best-framed photo, amidst all that, I realised I did not enjoy/"take in" any travel sceneries. This trip was one of my attempts to chill it out, taking the camera out with me only when I felt like it

Some habits do die-hard, though. The quest to explore different angles regardless of weather and tiredness still lives within me after all these years of pursuing photography

Otaru 小樽

Obviously it is not a good idea to roam around freely as I am travelling with others

Shoutengai 商店街

Shoutengai 商店街 in Japan is decreasing in popularity as shopping malls, and outlets are the trend nowadays. Having stayed in Japan for some years, I was witnessing the decline of these shopping districts

After lunch, time to head over to Otaru Canal

Summicron-M 1:2/28 ASPH.

Having brought two lenses:
Summicron-M 1:2/28 ASPH.
Summilux-M 1:1.4/50 ASPH.

While testing the 28cron in Singapore, I was left with a bad aftertaste on whether I made the wrong decision to own the 28cron. Surprisingly, I was pleased with the results of the 28cron, the 50lux sat in the bag for the entire trip hibernating

Japan can be tight in certain places, but Hokkaido, in general, is wider than the major cities like Tokyo and Osaka, so the 28mm focal works well here, where most of the time, some form of scenery is in the background

An attempt to look for churros but met with disappointment as the shop was closed. There's definitely something about the Leica or rangefinder cameras, this stranger just walks into the frame smiling. I have no idea what was the intention but I could come up with the following:

  • Fellow Singaporean (I'm not but close)
  • Love to pose for cameras
  • No Churros! Hooray!
  • Really happy to be in Japan

After our attempt to have a quick break by searching for churros, we landed up enjoying Melon flavoured ice cream that looks like santa's beard... ? (signboard translated)

Always a challenge to focus subjects behind glass panels on the rangefinder

Club Med Sahoro クラブメッド北海道サホロ

The family decided to have a go at skiing, while I will stay true to snowboarding. The last time I snowboarded was over 10 years ago, time to hit the refresh beginner lessons

Disappointing Snow

Snow was disappointing. We expected snow everywhere, but that was not the case for us. One of the nights of our stay in Club Med Sahoro even had lessons cancelled due to the slopes being too icy

Snow during our check-out day

Fortunately, snow finally started pouring in on our check-out day. To make up for one of the lost days, I finally decided to take out my M10

The Leica rangefinders are not exactly weatherproof or even have weather sealing. Having previously researched before heading to Hokkaido, most problems are condensation and battery life. The temperatures in Sahoro during our last day was -5c ~ -10c, and, the M10 lived to tell the tale

Sahoro Gondola Top Station 佐幌岳

On our last day at Club Med Sahoro, the gondola finally opened up, and we decided to make use of our rarely used ski pass that was still available to us

And the return to Club Med Sahoro to take the shuttle bus, as there were no directions

The visibility is not great, but at least we finally see snow!

While I have been to many countries during my education days, I envy that the Japanese students get to enjoy their school trip at a ski mountain

On our way back from the Gondola, students from Club Med Sahoro showed up, the envy of the snow!

Leica-ed back

While still trying to improve my rangefinder skills, using the M10 has slowed down my photography by many folds. Using the rangefinder does help with my so-called chill-out and “laid back” shooting style this trip; you are still looking through an optical viewfinder rather than a mirrorless EVF (absorption of the scenery)

Minimum focus distance

One of the downsides of the Leica M lenses is the minimum focus distance

After racking up some experience points with the M10, I’m beginning to miss my sold Leica Q more than before. The ability to go into macro mode at 28mm f1.7 is the best combination for a travel camera. Not forgetting the full-frame goodness

Feels great to be... home?

It's been almost 5 (pre-COVID) years since I've been to Japan

There was a grammar dilemma going on above as I was tempted to use the word "return" instead of "been"

During our in-between transportation, I've had the chance to talk to the local drivers, and it shows how much my Japanese language proficiency has dropped throughout the years. (I hold a JLPT N2 before the newly updated JLPT N5 system)

Surprisingly, most of them still regard me as speaking with Kansai-ben 関西弁, which I'm glad stuck over the years

Thanks to hanging out with the locals during my time in Kobe and Osaka

Not close enough

Here’s to 2024 and hoping the direction is clearer as I move forward

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