For some reason, I kept wanting to call... Er, have to look it up... Hakodate-yama (could that be easier, and yet!) Mt. Surabashi. Bad me. Anyway, wandered around Hakodate for a bit (weather wasn't awesome, so skipped the rope car up to the mountain, in hopes Sapporo would have better weather), then caught the train to Sapporo, which turned out to be a good decision, but more anon.
The train ride was interesting. First half, the car was full of middle school kids or something, which entertained me greatly, even though I was stuck with a bulkhead seat. Some kid pretty much slept on my shoulder most of that way, which didn't bother me none. Call me crazy, but I don't mind the human contact you get on trains in Japan. It's actually kind of, well, companionable... But never mind that. Second half, it got quiet, since all the kids got off at some onsen or something (well, as far as I know, that's all that was at that stop), and I moved to another seat so I could stretch out (whoever the kid on my shoulder was, they weren't part of the onsen expedition, they went all the way to Sapporo with me).
Anyway, when I got to Sapporo, I dropped by the information office, and decided to hit the brewery museum. They also told me this was a good place to get the lamb that Sapporo was famous for, which seemed odd to me, but whatever.
However, when I got to the museum, I ran into a couple fans there that looked familiar to me -- I think I (probably) saw them around at the convention this year, and I have a vague memory of talking to them when I was working the Nippon2007 table last year, and them telling me they planned on going. Anyway, we decided to join forces for great justice (they and their two-year-old, who was a near-constant form of amusement for everyone around us -- she didn't quite get into too much trouble :), and we headed over to one of the beer gardens attached to the museum. Which turned out to be all sorts of awesome -- worth every penny -- 食べ飲み放題 (all you can eat and drink) of Sapporo beer, and lamb plus vegetables and such you cooked yourself at the table -- "Genghis Khan" style, it was. Not only was the food and beer great, it was great accidentally running into someone to share it with -- all the way in Sapporo of all places.
We talked of a many things, including the convention, which they thought went really well, which on behalf of all the people who worked on Nippon2007, I was really happy to hear -- I really think I was too close to really be able to say one way or the other (too early for me to see the parts that went wrong, I think, even though it's true I had some really good times during, they had everything to do with seeing friends, and not a lot to do with the convention itself).