Relaxing summers holiday   



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Over the last month I've been to a lot of new places during my summer break, found a lot of food from my country in Sapporo and did a lot of resting before heading back to my language school. Over my summer break I got to go to Furano to see the lavender fields and the blue pond. I went with some friends by car which took almost 3 hours but took us through the mountains. The mountains were such a change from the tall concrete buildings of Sapporo so it was a nice change of scenery. When we were close to furano we decided to got to the blue pond first to try and beat the crowds but we didn't manage that. The blue pond hand lots of tourists so it was very noisy and cramped but it was still an amazing experience. It was a warm day and we didn't have any drinks with us so we decided to go to furano to get a drink and lavender ice cream. The lavender ice cream was strange as it felt like I was eating an air freshener but it was too good to miss out. After that we walked around the fields taking pictures and since I have hay fever I start to get sore eyes. It was such a lovely place but it was ruined by my hay fever. Later in the summer holidays I got to eat some British snacks that I loved when I was back home. I let my Japanese friends try some but they all thought the sweets were too sweet. It was interesting to see what others thought about something I have grown up with but it being a strange taste. I thought it was the perfect time to let them try it as I was at a barbecue and thought at the end of it, you might want something for dessert that is sweet. Over my summer holidays I didn't do much. Mainly talked to my friends from my share house or talked to my friends from Scotland over the internet net. I don't like extremely warm weather and this summer was very hot. Scottish people burn easily so I didn't want to look like a tomato. So I just relaxed, slept and prepared to go back to school. It was a fun summer holiday but next time I hope I'll be able to go more places since my Japanese will be better. Thanks for reading!

Adam (Scotland)

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# by chitchatcafe | 2017-08-29 12:57 | 英会話 個人 レッスン 札幌 | Comments(0)

Finally summer break, after all.   

So what is there to tell about summer life in Sapporo.

For now I am enjoying my spare time.
Of course I have planned to travel in Japan a little. I am looking forward to go for a few days to Niseko that is said to be a really nice travel destination with great scenery. Start of September I also was invited to visit a friend in Chiba, but up till now my break was more relaxation than eventful. Therefore what have I done with my moderate leisure time so far?

Near to my apartment there is a small café/bar. Because I have a test after the break I currently learn a lot Japanese. But writing grammar exercises and Kanji for hours just is neither the most satisfying task nor the most helpful for actually using or speaking a language. For this I started going to this shop to talk to the owner and other customers. In such a casual setting, sitting together with native speakers, it feels comfortable to experiment with speaking and not being afraid of making mistakes. Already I feel how my speaking has improved.

Another thing I have been doing a lot is reading. Gladly I have rediscovered my capabilities. As a kid I used to read a lot and even the bigger books didn't last long. Over the years I always felt that I had lost the ability to read as curiously and passionately as before. Recently even shorter books took a longer time than I was used to. Over the last two weeks I already read two fairly long books and still going with the next. With his great writing style and amazing world-building I developed a love for the books of China Miéville. The first I read was a historical narrative of the Russian Revolution 1917. In an interesting mixture of compelling writing and proper research it gives not only great insight into many aspects of this significant historical event but also makes for an entertaining reading. The author is quite renowned especially for his works in Sci-Fi and Fantasy.
The Bas-Lag book series, I started reading after that, consists of the titles "Perdido Street Station", "The Scar" and "Iron Council". It is hard to put the trilogy into a genre but it definitely is fiction. The press has called him an author of the "New Weird" which fits very well in my opinion.
"Perdido Street Station", the first of the series, tells a mysterious story revolving around a quirky scientist and his group of friends that face unforeseen troubles. It is impressive, how in these books, a complex society is created with so many minutely described details. I am looking forward to see the other stories unfold now that I have finished "Perdido Street Station".

So much for my summer break so far. In my next blog I hope to be able to report about my travels to you.

Jan (Germany)

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# by chitchatcafe | 2017-08-27 12:21 | 英会話 教師 札幌 | Comments(0)

My first experience with Yukata   

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ヘローみんなさん!

I'm posting for my first time so I will present myself!
My name is Julián, I'm from Colombia and I'll be sharing with you on Chit Chat café some of my experiences here in my small daily adventure in Japan.
Today I want to share with you a nice day I had on summer's Fireworks 花火大会 with my friend Adam! who's also working on Chit Chat café.

First I got some assistance from my Japanese students friends. It was the first time
I tried Yukata so I didn't knew how to wear it... But, after some trial and error we got the Samurai style 角帯 knot! and we went to Maruyama station to wait for everybody. Then we took the subway to Nakajima park! It was very crowded.

There In Nakajima we went to lawson to get some drinks and food and took a short walk into the park. I was surprised to see how beautiful the park is, with the pond and the Hōheikan 豊平館 building. We found a very nice spot in front of the lake were we put a plastic cover... kind of a picnic spot were we could take off our shoes.

We had a lot of fun drinking and having some casuals conversations, I learn some few simple words like Duck 鴨 or Pigeon 鳩 and I shared them with Adam too. He
made me remember summer's homework! I asked him about it he said he already started!

Anyway, finally the fireworks started it was a beautiful scenery that lasted long time! very nice work indeed. Unfortunately the branches of a tree were just in front of our view... but we found a small spot at the front so we had a very good view of the fireworks from there.

It was a very nice day indeed, I was fortunate to meet my friends and had a lot of fun with them, and I'm glad I wore Yukata too!

Julián (Colombia)


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# by chitchatcafe | 2017-08-14 15:22 | カフェ 英会話 札幌 | Comments(0)

Road trip   

Hello everyone!

It’s my first post for the blog and I’m very happy to share with you a little bit of my experience in Japan. I’ve been living in Sapporo now for 3 months, and gonna stay here 2 more months. It means that I am already half way through my stay here, and that is so sad!!!! Don’t wanna leave this country, I really really love it.

To confirm my love for Japan, specially for Hokkaido, I saw, in the last 10 days, the most beautiful landscapes, peculiar and abandoned cities, ate amazing food and had a wonderful time on a road trip through Hokkaido. Me and 4 more friends rented a car and got on the road around the state, camping in every place we stopped.

We left Sapporo and took our way to the West coast. Our first stop was a little unexpected! We found an abandoned school in the middle of the road, and stopped to check what was that about. We discover the school was closed in 1995, and until today there are a lot of materials, books, clothes, and pictures of the students. Super interesting. After that, we went to Haboro, ate some italian food in a tiny little restaurant (probably the only opened one) and camped by the beach. The next day we headed towards Wakkanai, where we slept one night before getting the Ferry for Rebun-to! Rebun-to is one of the most special places I’ve ever been!!! What a cute and peculiar little island. The weather was not good, with a lot of fog, which gave the island a mysterious feeling. Our campsite was in the middle of a pine forest, and we got there by a little bus that goes around the place. However… we forgot to buy food before getting there!!! There was not any shops or civilization closer than 30min by bus, and there was no buses anymore. The night was coming, and everyone was super hungry, so me and my friend decided to go to the road and try to get a ride to the closest conbini. And so we did!!! We got a ride with a very nice old lady, that lived in the Island her whole life! We got food, came back with another ride, made a bonfire to warm us up and had a great time in the forest!

After walking around the island for 2 days, we got the ferry back to Wakkanai, and from there we went straight to Daisetsuzan National Park. The road from the north to central Hokkaido is absolutely beautiful. So much nature and breathtaking landscapes. By the time we got to Daisetsuzan it was already night (and raining!), so we had to quickly find a campsite and get into our tent! One of my friends was too cold and decided for a hotel in the little city at the entrance of the park. We all had dinner together at the city and came back to our camping, where we played cards and had a very nice night with the sound of rain and nature. By the morning, there was a dear right outside our tent!!! We decided to spend the next day hiking the most famous mountain of the region, even though the weather was not got. It was not raining, but there was a lot of fog. Because of that, the way up was super hard! There was still a lot of snow on the path, and sometimes the path was literally a river haha when we finally got to the top, we were absolutely wet! Completely worth it!!! The weather got better, and the view from up there is absolutely amazing. I was so grateful for being there, in the middle of such beautiful and intense nature.

After two days enjoying the endless nature and beauty of the park, we headed towards Furano, experiencing a totally different landscape. The most exciting thing happened at this road: we saw a bear!!!! A real and big one, in the middle of the forest, right next to the road. We were inside the car, and as soon as he saw us, he ran. Very lucky :) We got in Furano by night, and found a very cute Guest House, in the middle of the rice fields, where we spend two nights. During our time in this region, we saw a lot of flowers fields and farm landscapes, which were very beautiful.

I am so grateful for this trip and for having the opportunity to get to see such amazing places and experience special moments. So ready for the next one!

Fabiana (Brazil)

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# by chitchatcafe | 2017-07-05 16:03 | カフェ 英会話 札幌 | Comments(0)

Shakotan Trip   

I have now been in Sapporo for 8 months, and I have just finished my second semester mid terms, and I have to say I’m starting to feel mixed emotions about my stay here. This also means I have only half a semester left here, or 8 weeks, meaning my year abroad is coming to an end.
On one side, I am so happy of my stay here: I have experienced so much since I’ve been in Japan. I travelled around Japan in March and to Taiwan and Korea, I saw all wonderful seasons in Hokkaido, I managed to ski so much more that I could have imagined, and I met the most amazing people here in Sapporo. I now only have 8 weeks left to tick off my bucket list all the last things I want to do before going home.
On the other hand, I feel like I’ve overcome the peek of my stay, and I am ready to go home. Most of my friends from home are now on summer holidays, whereas I’m still in class, and after being here for so long I’m starting to really miss Europe, France and my home and family.

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Anyways, my main purpose for this blog today was to talk about an awesome trip I did with my friends last week: Shakotan peninsula!
We decided to leave early Saturday morning to catch the bus from Sapporo station and head to Yoichi first. After half an hour of fooling around to find the right bus stop, we got on the bus. After around 1 and a half hours, we got to Yoichi which was holding a small festival including street food sellers. I got some delicious yakisoba before getting onto the second bus (my love for japanese food is unconditional). The second bus then took us closer to the actual peninsula. We stopped by a first campground which looked very desert and abandoned: there were no showers, no usable toilets, and it was on a dirty beach. I was ready to go find another campground but my friends looked like they wanted to settle there… I didn’t want to!
2 of my friends then found another camping ground 10min from where we were with shelters, a nice beach and grass to put the tent, toilets, and an abandoned onset opposite the road. We decided to lay down our camp there for the night.
We then moved on to doing all the cliche-camping-fun: we went for a swim in the sea (it was so cold!), we played games on the beach, we played the dancing game ‘limbo’, and we tried making a fire before the rain started pouring. However, with the rainstorm about the burst, we decided to have a barbecue under the shelter with roasted potatoes, aubergines, smores and hot water for our cup noodles. We also made mulled wine on the barbecue which is a mix of wine, whisky, sugar and cinnamon: it was so nice!
The night in the tent was a bit cold but the next day we have brunch over the fire, which was finally successful: croissants, coffee, more marshmallows and a couple sausages. We finished the day by walking around the beach and taking pictures of the peninsula, before we had to get our train back to otaku to head home.
I had such an amazing week end, as it almost felt like holidays only 2 hours away from Sapporo!


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Next time we will try and camp in Furano, in July.
These kind of week ends make me realise I will miss Japan way more than I can imagine.

Katia (France/UK)

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# by chitchatcafe | 2017-06-16 18:21 | 英会話 スクール 札幌 | Comments(0)