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Learning to say yes   


I have now been in Japan for 6 months! Wow! Time sure does pass quickly here. This has been the longest I have spent away from Australia and my family. It has been exciting and challenging, but I have decided to stay another year.
After renewing my Visa last month I decided to really think about what I want to do with my remaining time in Sapporo. I have made so many friends and have taught so many interesting people.
I have climbed mountains, made snowmen and been Santa Claus; all in one month! While living here I wanted to become a "YES" man, If someone invites me somewhere, or if I'm offered some strange work; I say YES!
December was definitely the biggest test of my new "YES" attitude. I was working at the Sapporo Christmas markets; working in a stall selling candles and Christmas figurines. It was amazing! Seeing all the happy people enjoying the Christmas spirit reminded me of home, making being away for Christmas bearable.
But the most fun I had was being Santa Claus for a shopping mall outside Sapporo. When I was younger I dressed up as Santa for a local nursing home, so I had plenty of practice. I had mixed responses from children; some ran up to me excited; but some where so terrified. It was very special to me; seeing children believe I was actually Santa was so adorable.
I think living in another country allows you to step outside of your comfort zone and become a "new" person. By breaking the routine of my life in Australia I feel so much more fulfilled. It has also made me a healthier, happier person; which I am very grateful for.
And to all the people I have met and shared stories with at Chit Chat; Thank You! It has been amazing getting to know you all at chat sessions and parties. I hope to see more of you all!
Until Next Time!

Rocky (Australia)


# by chitchatcafe | 2019-04-12 15:01 | 英会話 スクール 札幌

Spring Break in Thailand   

For my break at university I decided to go to Bangkok, Thailand with my roommate. It was a very exciting opportunity for me as I had never been there before and it was a much cheaper plane ticket than flying back to America. Although it was difficult living with my roommates family who speak Mandarin and being in a country that speaks Thai, I had a lot of fun and would love to go back sometime.

I never knew much about Thailand and Thai culture until I met my roommate and she showed me a Thai drama. Ever since watching that show, I fell in love with Thai traditional culture. One of my favorite experiences this spring break was going to see a historical play and being able to try on Thai clothing.

I do not handle spicy food well, which was a concern of mine when traveling to Bangkok as it is common knowledge that Thai food is spicy. However, I found that there are many different options in Thai cuisine like sweet and sour dishes that were right up my alley.

All in all, I feel very grateful to have had the opportunity to travel to a new country and experience a new culture while I am in university. That is one of the best things about living abroad and making friends from all over the world. I am, however, happy to be back in Sapporo and go back to my daily routine!

Maggie (US)

# by chitchatcafe | 2019-03-28 15:40 | 英会話 プライベート レッスン

My Journey to Japan   

How I came to Japan!

When I was very young I was deeply interested in Chinese history and language. As a middle-schooler, I begged my mother to let me go to the Chinese Saturday school. She finally agreed, so I studied Chinese language and culture for two years.

Going into high school, however, my school did not not offer Chinese as an elective, they offered Japanese. It was closer than French or Spanish, so my brother and I decided to take it. Through this class I gained a new interest in Japanese history and culture, although I didn’t learn much of the language! We mainly just watched Ghibli films!

As senior year approached, I looked for many universities in the states, as I wanted to be closer to my family, but all of these schools cost $20,000 to $40,000 per year. One day, while on a walk with my father and my dog, my dad said, “if you really want to move to Asia then why don’t you just go now.” This comment surprised me and as soon as I got home I started researching universities in Japan and China.

I found that Japan has more programs for foreigners in undergraduate than China, so I applied to three Japanese universities. I was a nervous wreck until I found out whether I got in or not. Hokkaido University was where I really wanted to go, so when I got accepted I was ecstatic.

My mother was not happy, she still blames my father, but I came nonetheless. I hope that I am saving my parents money and making them proud!

Maggie Thomas (US)

# by chitchatcafe | 2019-02-21 15:27 | 英会話 プライベート レッスン


Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I have wonderful memories of my childhood, waiting for Santa and spreading granola on the lawn for the reindeer… However, Christmas can be a sad time these days as I no longer get to spend Christmas with my family. Although Christmas Eve in Japan is usually a romantic time for couples, in the U.S. the whole season is usually meant for spending time with family. My grandmother and I would put up the Christmas decorations and bake holiday treats, my father and I would watch old holiday films, and my mother and I would go shopping for everyone’s perfect gift. The last two Christmas’s I have been in Japan. I love that Sapporo Station is decorated with lights and playing Christmas music, but it can feel a bit lonely. That is why, this year, my mother decided to come in December and spend some time with me before the holiday season was over. It was a really nice treat for me to see my mother, so I took her to the German Christmas Market in Odori Park, and to Otaru to buy souvenirs for the rest of the family.

Of course my mother could not stay for very long, she was only in Sapporo for one week. I was very sad to see her go back right before Christmas, but she gave me wrapped presents to open on Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve, I had a really good time with some friends who made a Western style dinner with turkey, stuffing, and truffles. On Christmas Day itself, I had another good night with friends making takoyaki and playing board games. I learned that it is important to enjoy Christmas no matter where you are or who you are with. Celebrating together and understanding the true meaning of Christmas is what really matters!

Maggie (US)

# by chitchatcafe | 2019-01-06 14:13 | 英会話 教師 札幌

Cheap beers in the summer   

During the Summer holidays I went to Europe for one month. It was my first time visiting continental Europe and I was able to visit Germany, France, Denmark and Czech Republic.

Coming from Australia I always thought alcohol in Japan was very cheap (in Australia a beer at a bar is about 900 yen!) but I soon found once I arrived in Germany that beer was even cheaper there than it was in Japan.

In addition to cheap beers, if you keep your cans and dispose them into recycling machine inside major you can receive a decent amount of money in return (that can be used to buy your next can of drink!)

Glass bottles can also be returned to receive money at a specialty shop selling only drinks.

It is a very good system and encourages people to recycle correctly.

It public places, especially parks - people would leave their empty bottles beside the bin rather than put them inside. This made it easy for people who wanted to earn a little money to collect the bottles left behind.

In Germany alcohol is cheap - however, the further you go east in Europe the cheaper things become. This, of course means that the alcohol also becomes cheaper.

In eastern Europe Czech Republic is famous for being a backpacker heaven. Backpackers from around the world who come to Europe will naturally spend a few days in Czech Republic - most likely in the capital city of Prague, enjoying the too cheap beers (and also delicious fruity ciders) and very affordable accommodation.

A night in a hostel in Prague can cost about 1000 yen and a beer brought in a bar about 300 yen.

One evening I went to a supermarket close by my hostel to buy some dinner and a bottle of Coke. Once in the supermarket I made my way to the refrigerated section and put my hand inside the cool shelving to grab a bottle of the dark sugary drink. Yet as I did this my eyes fell across the shelf above the soft drinks, lined with glass bottles of beers and ciders.

The price below the beer was labelled '20 korunas'
The price below the cider was labelled '25 korunas'
The price below the coke was labelled '35 korunas'

I hesitated a moment, my hand lingering in the fridge before I eventually wrapped a hand around a bottle of beer and walked to the cash register to make my purchase.

Summer is for beer after all.

Jessica (Australia)

# by chitchatcafe | 2018-11-28 11:56 | 英会話 教師 札幌