Life is hard   

My god everyday is so busy right now! I don’t even have the time to sleep properly!

You see, I started a project called Hult Prize, a university wide competition for refugees. With my team, we’ve been doing everything we could do every single day for the past month, researching, contacting several companies about certain subjects, writing, meeting, researching again, fighting about every single thing to make every part of the presentation perfect. And guess what? TURNS OUT SOMEONE ELSE ALREADY DID OUR IDEA!

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Yesterday we were so frustrated about everything, and decided to quit, since we didn’t have a report or a presentation for deadline, which was today. But then our team captain was like “No! We will finish this!” She was so scary, I immediately saluted her saying “Sir yes sir!” out of fear. So from dusk ‘till dawn we’ve been writing reports and speeches today, to prepare for the presentation which, you’ve guessed it, TOMORROW. We basically did everything in a single day for a presentation which other teams had a month to prepare for.

You can’t guess what kind of a “tokitoki” moment I’m having right now. I’M SO NERVOUS! I’ll be speaking in front of an ambassador, President of Hokudai, CEO’s, very very important (and rich) people. And if we get it right, if we win, we get to go to SAN FRANSISCO, US. Not for holiday of course, for the second part of the competition.

So yeah, this is so tiring and making me feel so nervous, but in a way, I guess it’s fun. We’ll see what happens tomorrow, I just hope I don’t embarrass myself in front of everyone!

Also our team’s name, Team Clark. Guess where we got the name from.

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Dee (Turkey)

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# by chitchatcafe | 2016-12-08 18:14 | 英会話 スクール 札幌 | Comments(0)

First Sapporo Winter   

So I have been in Sapporo for two months now, time has gone very quickly. The weather also changes very quickly.
One day the leaves were turning gold and crimson for the Autumn and the next white snow was laying across the fallen leaves.

The first snow came early in November this year. I woke up in the morning and opened my curtains to let the sunlight through the windows.
"SNOW!!"
I was suprised to be greeted by whiteness. Snow glittered in the sun and the cars in the carpark below lay covered in a fresh heap of powder. Immediately I went down stairs to the front of my dormitory and started building a snowman. It didn't take long for me to be joined by another resident of my dorm. Together we sat outside, our fingers growing numb as we rolled balls of snow.
We built a large bear out of snow and decorated it with sunglasses and a scarf.

In Australia it does not snow in very many places. We have only a couple of ski resorts on very small mountains. Even in these areas the snow is very little and ski resorts must produce artificial snow to keep their resorts running.

I really love Sapporo covered in snow. The city looks beautiful surrounded by mountains and the naked winter trees turned white by fallen powder.

In Australia my family and friends are uploading photos of barbeque lunches on the beach and boggy boarding in the waves. Yet here I am in Sapporo, the snow is falling and the temperatures can be negative numbers. Completely opposite.

I'm looking forward to surviving my first Sapporo winter!

Jessica (Australia)

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# by chitchatcafe | 2016-12-02 14:48 | 英会話 教師 札幌 | Comments(0)

How not to travel to a foreign country   

Hello there! Michael/Waffle here!

As many people know by now, this is not my first time here in Sapporo as I used to be a foreign exchange student at Sapporo University. I had always dreamed of coming back, but my return was by no means a smooth one and so I present to you the story of how services that do not exist in England but are readily available in Japan saved me from a tough transition.

I did not know when I would arrive in Sapporo after staying in Tokyo so I decided to not reserve any form of housing or hotel in advance and I arrived on the evening of Tuesday the 6th with no where to stay for the night. This unfortunately happened to be the week that preparations were underway for the Autumn Festival at Odori so many businesses and tourists had booked all of the cheap hotel accommodation, leaving me confused and contacting my friends to assess my options. Fortunately, because I had been in Japan before and knew the Sapporo area well, I remembered the existence of Manga Cafes and I headed for a cafe I remembered being in the Susukino area.

Around 15 years ago in England it was common to find Internet Cafes, a place you could use a computer with a fast internet connection for a short period of time and they were very expensive. These facilities are now very rare due to how many people use smartphones, though you can find them around London but it is important to note these are not available 24 hours a day. At the Manga Cafe I stayed at, not only was I able to use a computer, but I could also stay overnight to lay down and sleep with access to free drinks and ice cream. I spent 5 consecutive nights at the Manga Cafe for 2000 yen a night, which felt like a great deal to me as hotels would not have been as cheap and I was free to watch movies, play online games and read comics as much I would like!

When I left in the morning, I had a new problem. I still had my suitcase which weighed over 20 kilograms. Fortunately for myself, Japan is known as the country of convenience for a good reason and there are coin lockers in nearly every train station which is not the case in England. In England, only in our biggest train stations do we have baggage storage services and these are very expensive, it would have cost me roughly 2000 yen to store a bag for 12 hours in London whilst in Sapporo, it cost me 500 yen. This was a big relief for me after I found a coin locker big enough to store my suitcase in as I’m sure 5 days of carrying around such a heavy piece of luggage would not have been very fun!

The greatest thing, which still surprises me, is how convenient the timing was for both services. I could stay in the Manga Cafe for 12 hours with a cheap night package and I could store my luggage for 12 hours without having to pay any extra. Although I definitely would not recommend anyone to voluntarily do what I did for my first week in Sapporo as it was very irresponsible, it was an interesting experience that probably would have definitely been impossible to do not only in London, but many other cities around the world.

Until next time!

Michael (UK)
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# by chitchatcafe | 2016-11-10 19:14 | マンツーマン 英会話 札幌 | Comments(0)

My trip to Virginia   

Hello there!

Recently, I’ve got married and had a long trip to Virginia and Hong Kong last month to visit our families. It’s the second time that I’ve been to America and it’s always great fun to go shopping in the gigantic grocery stores! Since it’s gonna be too long a post if I wrote about the whole trip, let me just talk about some of the things we did in Virginia for now!
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On the first day we got there, his mother (my mother-in-law) made us lobster rolls, which are famous in New England. In the rolls we had lobster, of course, green onions, celeries, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. The rolls were very crispy and tasty, and you can buy all the ingredients in Japan, so you should really try it sometime.
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About Virginia, it’s located on the West Coast, very close to the capital of the States – Washington D.C. It is one of original states, and the City of Fredericksburg in Virginia is where the mother of George Washington, the first US president, spent her final years in. This city was also an important location during the Civil War due to its position between the two capitals at that time.
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We also went to Arlington National Cemetery, one of the largest cemeteries in the States, because many military personnel were buried there. It was very beautiful and peaceful, and I could feel the respect and honour they gave to the veterans.
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It was actually my birthday during the stay, and they prepared a chocolate peanut butter ice cream cake for me. Yum!
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I really enjoyed my time in Virginia, and I recommend you to go there next time you have a holiday!

Christopher (Hong Kong)

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# by chitchatcafe | 2016-10-14 16:18 | 英会話 個人 レッスン 札幌 | Comments(0)

Hokkaido University   

Hokkaido University is one of the most popular spots to visit in Sapporo, for sure. I had been there this Winter, when I just came to Sapporo. And then I decided to visit the place again this Summer and it was beautiful.
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Thankfully, it was one of the sunniest days this Summer and the sky was beautiful. The first time I came to Hokkaido University, I just walked through the main alley and did not really see much. But this time, I decided to try to get deeper inside and look for some places that not everyone one really gets in.

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It is not a surprise that the campus is huge. In fact, it is the largest university by territory in Japan.

There is a huge pond which freezes in Winter and I indeed saw a few students playing on it during my previous visit.

Visitors also can get inside the oldest buildings in the campus. There are some exhibitions of some agricultural equipment of the time. It was not allowed to enter these buildings in Winter.

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Hokkaido University is a huge, yet very quiet place to enjoy some of the sunny days of the Summer. I am planning to visit it this Fall again.

Dil (Uzbekistan)

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# by chitchatcafe | 2016-10-07 15:16 | カフェ 英会話 札幌 | Comments(0)