Hakodate had the worst of the rain. Possibly the worst rain I’ve ever seen first hand. We lay on the futons expecting each lull to be the end of it only to have it pick up again with more force than before. If it wasn’t by the sea there would have been major flooding, but the city drains well and in the time it took us to explore the morning fish markets the streets had mostly dried and the sun poked through enough to make walking uphill an exhausting experience.
Around the lower slopes of Mt. Hakodate are churches of various denominations. The Russian Orthodox one was what caught my eye in the pamphlet but the Greek Orthodox was the strangest. The closest I can get to describing it is as an old-style windmill with the rotating blades now facing upwards and rooms built below them.
The curious thing about Hakodate is that it has built its tourist industry on its non-Japanese side. As one of the first ports to be opened to foreign trade, it got a lot of outside influence. Add to this watching Indiana Jones in English and eating (spicy) Thai food in a modern version of China Town and you’d easily forget which country you’re in.
You’re clearly not in Europe though when you get woken in the middle of the night by an earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale. It shook for quite a long time, enough for me to be sure it wasn’t actually a truck driving down the hallway, and a low rumbling sound I’d never heard before. Outside the window the power-lines were shaking but no sirens sounded and there were no signs of panic.