Musical box museum (Otaru)

A gentle tune played as we strolled along the snowy street, giving Otaru a magical air with its soft street lamps illuminating the relentless snow.

Otaru, albeit more touristy than Hakodate and Sapporo (or maybe because we explored more of the touristy streets which were, well, clearly touristy with free samples and confectioneries in beautifully wrapped boxes to be brought home as souvenirs, + multiple glassware shops along the same street) was probably my favourite of the 3. Maybe it’s because of the lightheartedness I felt, where the snow was soft but not bitter, where our steps felt magical, where I carried a transparent umbrella around to shelter my head from the snow.

Also, the musical box museum – it was the one thing I had looked forward to for the trip. A musical box museum!

I spent most of my time winding tunes after tunes, trying to pick the best one, the right one, for you. This, too cheesy… This, too light-hearted. This, too normal, too jappy. I tried to pick one that evoked mystery, and depth of sorts.

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Last day, we stayed at the airport hotel, where they gave us 2 complimentary coupons for the hot springs!

At the hot springs – there we carried our naked bodies trying desperately to cover our privates with the tiny brown cloth they provided. There you saw large bodies, thin bodies, young bodies, old bodies; bodies of the past and bodies of the future. Breast cancer survivor soaking on my right, mother of a Caesarian child sauntering past, unabashed. Bodies and the stories that lay behind them, I thought. I love stories. (Speaking of which, I received an email of a story about a girl and her multiple timelines)

After soaking for some time we forgot our nakedness and basked in the therapeutic waves of hot water. When we emerged from the water again we left behind the shyness we carried with us at the beginning. ‘Why is that so? We don’t care at all now’, she asked. ‘Because we’ve conformed, here nakedness is the normality, and after some time we’re as comfortable within this new world’, she said as she smiled to the ladies baring boldly their flesh and skin. 

I know I’m intensely privileged to be able to go abroad. 
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