カテゴリ:カフェ 英会話 札幌( 60 )   

Life in a Cold Climate   

It's been ten months since I moved to Sapporo. The weather in Hokkaido was unfamiliar to me. I came to Sapporo from the Philippines, where the weather is predictable and the sun shines almost throughout the year.
When I arrived in Sapporo, people frequently said, "You poor thing, it is your first winter? Oh my God, you need to get good boots and a jacket." So many people said this, I was petrified of winter. The more people warned me, "Winter is coming, what are you going to do?" the more nervous I became. It was as if a monster was coming, one which I had never heard of or seen.

Ten months ago, if someone asked me how I would describe snow, I would have most definitely said “a carpet of glistening sparkles.” Ten months later, I beg to differ on that view. Don’t mistake me; I still like the snow, and when it snows, I just couldn't help to look up to watch the gentle snowflakes falling from the sky. Beautiful.

First snow fall -- one November morning, when I tried to open the door, something was blocking it, when I pushed harder I couldn't believe what I saw. Mother Earth had been covered with a big white blanket. I touched it and tried to smell it. It looked like white sugar, but the snow was much more lively and charming, it was gentle and delicate. It was love at first sight and there was nothing to be afraid of. At least for a few days.

I learned that winter can be hazardous, (and even deadly,) because of the extreme cold, severe winter storms and challenging driving conditions. As a newcomer, knowing what to realistically expect, and how to prepare yourself for winter is essential.

I am grateful that I listened to people who warned me about winter. Bought myself a good pair of snow boots, a set of warm clothing – thermal lined gloves and hat, down coat, scarf, a sleeping bag and a couple of heavy blankets.

Winter living takes some time getting use to. I know it might take me a while to adjust to the snow, ice and cold temperatures; but I know it can be done and makes for an interesting journey!

Shiela (Philippines)


by chitchatcafe | 2018-02-09 09:06 | カフェ 英会話 札幌 | Comments(0)

Beautiful Lake Toya!   

After living here for a little over two months, I’ve had surprisingly few low points! However, I do remember one week where I started to feel like a bit of a waste of space at work. Working with an entirely Japanese team means I feel quite guilty when they have to speak English around me. As if she could sense my gloominess, my supervisor/role model/all-around-wonder-woman offered to take me on a day trip during the next day off work. Leaving as early as we both could manage (sadly neither of us are blessed with being early birds!) we headed for Lake Toya via Lake Shikotsu. Lake Shikotsu was incredible, and although the weather was a bit bleak it still felt magical. I could hear the theme song of Jurassic Park running through my head! But Lake Toya was definitely the highlight. It was so incredibly serene. I’d never seen anything like it before. I spotted a few people camping out on the beach beside the lake, which made me very happy. Wherever there is natural beauty, there will be some hippies! I then insisted that we climbed one of the active volcanoes – mainly to prove to my supervisor that she’s not too old (you’re never too old!), and we got to see some craters filled with murky blue water. As we climbed, being biologists, we were inspecting some of the fresh animal droppings. Twice we saw huge steaming piles of what I hoped was fresh bear poo, but my supervisor was adamant that no bears would be in that close proximity. (Days later, she came into work and confirmed my suspicions that it was in fact bear poo! Apologies to those who I already told this story. Bears make me very excited.) As we drove off, me and my supervisor were incredibly lucky to see two swans doing their mating dance. They both dipped their heads underwater in synchrony and waggled their bums in the air. It reminded me of Amelia and Abigail, two geese from a very incredible film – the aristocats (if you haven’t seen it, watch it as soon as you get a chance. It is of high importance as many people see this film as possible!). The drive home was long but I generously kept my supervisor company by falling asleep within 10 minutes. Overall, it was a beautiful day out. It’s impossible to be sad in Japan for too long!

Honor (UK)


by chitchatcafe | 2017-12-09 16:28 | カフェ 英会話 札幌 | Comments(0)


It has been a little bit more than one year since I left Brazil to study somewhere else. In this case, Japan. However, due to my summer vacations, I went back home for a month.

When going back home, I got to say I had mixed feelings. What to expect from a routine that is not mine anymore? Especially when I arrived and everybody else was doing something else. That was due to the inconvenience of vacation times that do not coincide.

Despite, I arrived in my city in the best possible moment to travel there. There's a festival every August that colors the city as the clothing of traditional dancer hats. When I was younger I did not care that much about this festival, to be fair. But ever since I started high school, and my school was in the very centre of this festival, I started looking forward to this time of the year.

This is my first experience as an expat. Even though I had some short-term experiences abroad, so far, this is a totally new (and amazing) experience I'm having in Japan. And because now I have this new viewpoint, I was a tourist in my own hometown. Unbelievable, right?

Of course, it is great to see family, old friends, classmates and the such, but it is as my heart is not completely there anymore. Some would say that your heart/soul is split and each little piece of it will remain in the places you went and had good experiences. A part of me is still there. But a part of me also feels I do not quite belong there anymore, maybe that I never belonged so well, maybe that I will never belong completely. Or maybe it is just an impression that I had while traveling half-way through the world to come back to Japan.

Below, there's a photo I took from the August festival. Hope you like it!

Fernando (Brazil)



by chitchatcafe | 2017-11-02 17:27 | カフェ 英会話 札幌 | Comments(0)

My first experience with Yukata   



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)


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)


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

Pink Petals   

So spring has finally come. The floating snowflakes have turned to pink petals of cherry blossoms which have started to scatter across the city footpaths.

To me it was a little sad to see the snow slowly melt away, yet I am glad that the days stretch longer into the evenings now and the sun shines a little longer. But accepting spring did not come easy. I think I had a little bit of seasonal sadness as the snow turned to rain and I no longer had to skate to school on the soles of my boots.

Last month I finally became a first year student at my university. I went to my entrance ceremony along with my classmates. My classmates and I were some of the very few international students in attendance. We walked through the glass doors among our fellow first years all dressed in black suits. I think we must have looked like a hoard of penguins.

In Australia we do not have university entrance ceremonies. We don’t celebrate the entry, we only celebrate the leaving – graduating from university. The ceremony was long and I still don’t know why they introduced every member of staff that sat on the stage. As soon as the names were spoken I am sure most of us students forgot the names soon after.

In Hokkaido we have our entrance ceremonies in the April winds and the melting dirtied snow. I am jealous of those in Honshu who can celebrate their new schooling life under the cherry blossom trees.

But here in Sapporo we can enjoy the cherry blossoms in golden week instead. I rode my bicycle by Maruyama Park a few days ago, the smell of cooking meat drifting up my nose. I can’t wait to sit under the cherry blossoms myself tomorrow, a picnic in the shade of the trees and sipping beer in the sun with my friends.

I love the Japanese culture of appreciating the coming of spring by enjoying flower viewing. Or maybe it isn’t so much appreciating flowers as it is an excuse to get drunk, eat too much and laugh alongside your friends? Although there is nothing wrong with that either.

I’m looking forward to experiencing my first Hokkaido summer after the spring has passed. I can’t wait to see fireworks and wear a yukata with my friends.

But I will still always be counting down to my favourite winter days and a Sapporo blanketed in white.

Jessica (Australia)


by chitchatcafe | 2017-05-12 13:54 | カフェ 英会話 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.

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.


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.



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)


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

The great move to Sapporo   

This is the first time I’m attempting to write a blog. still don’t fully understand the true purpose or of doing so. Is it to see how you are at this exact present moment as a human and of course every day teaching and learning developments? Basically from my understanding of writing a blog, it has to have a title. Don’t’ know what the title of my blog will be but let’s just try… (The Great Move to Sapporo) I am not on Facebook, internet at the moment having major issues please do not ask why. It shows a bit of struggle with keeping up with technology for instance e books and such. Hahaha,
Life is a bit tricky at this stage in Sapporo. Missing Australia, mom, Olga, Mark my little niece Maria Viviian Rose xoxo. I have not met the darling yet!!! Cannot wait! I was in Sapporo when she was born 3 and a half months ago!!!

How did the journey start? To get to Sapporo can be a short or long story…
One day just suddenly I had arrived in Sapporo and lived in Makomanai Komaoka, for about 5 months then had to go back to Australia for family reasons. When came back to Sapporo second time, I lived in Tsukisamu and now I live in Minami Hiragishi.
I would love to live in Sapporo, hence, been coming and going for about a year.
I love Japan so much! The culture is very deep and there are so many delicate intriguing things to learn here. The list is countless.
What draws me my family to Japan is that we, once mom, younger sister and father (passed away in 1999) used to live in Ishikawa prefecture Kanazawa Shi for four and a half years!! This was a long time ago already 22 years ago!

I was born in Ukraine but when the Chernovyl big disaster happened, lucky my parents found work in Mexico. We managed to live in Mexico for about two years before moving to Ishikawaken Kanazawa City. I was only very young at this age, but seem to have developed deep interest in Japanese language and culture. At the age of roughly 15 we, again as family we moved to Western Australia where we were granted Citizenship. My father had passed away at this time from cancer. My mother is a top specialist in music and cancer survivor too! We went through a great deal in life ( I will leave it to your understanding and imagination of the giant hurdles in life we all went through..) but its where it led me in life to have a fantastic experience to study not only in in Japan but also at the University of Western Australia. Had a perfect opportunity to take on a Language and Psychology Project at Kanazawa University through obtaining a four year Monbukagakushou Japanese Government Scholarship. I could not accept the scholarship at that time in my life because of family circumstances. My dream to come back to japan never stopped. My mother always reminds me of obtaining and not taking Government scholarship to Kanazawa university, ohh so much opportunities… Still are in life!!! Never ever give up and regret decisions that you choose in life. Just choose wisely!! If I had chosen to go to Kanazawa University I would not be in Sapporo!!!
Enough Blogging for a week. Just a small figment of life as a journey be writing what is on my mind every week

Blogging can be really great, in fact it is! Lets share our life little happenings especially exiting ones!

Daria (Australia)


by chitchatcafe | 2016-05-26 16:47 | カフェ 英会話 札幌 | Comments(0)

Final Days of Fun in Sapporo   

Hello everyone! Recently, I went on a snowshoe hiking trip in Otaru. I also got to see the winter festival in Otaru. There was a lot of candles and it was neat to see all of the old buildings too! I had been to Otaru before, but I didn't have the chance to see the city.

My older sister will come visit Sapporo next month. I think it would be fun to come to the cafe with her! We'll see what happens! I'm sorry to say, but after my sister's visit, I'll be leaving Japan and returning to the U.S. I've picked up many new hobbies, and met many new friends in Japan. I'm so happy that I came to Sapporo and I can't wait to explore the city with my sister!

That's all! I was very happy to have met all of you at the cafe!

Tom (USA)


by chitchatcafe | 2016-02-24 14:29 | カフェ 英会話 札幌 | Comments(0)

My trip to “Bamboo” Mountain   

Last month me and my friends have decided to hike mountain close to Jozankei, Hyaukumatsuzawa. I had to wake up early at 5:30 AM on Saturday; it wasn’t new thing to be up so early, but usually at that time I’m returning from the club. Anyway the weather was great the birds were singing, sun was shining so waking up wasn’t so bad, I took my ”mamachari” and cycle to our meeting, they told me it’s not that far from University so I can go with my “amazing” bike, I should have expected there will be elevation, which is not so great for my bicycle without derailleur, but with a lot of effort I survived.

When we arrived to the base camp, we were looking for our public track, but there was none and therefore we decided to follow the map, which led us directly to the forest, I’m not afraid to say “that’s how the real jungle must look like”. The only sign that we were on the right way were barely visible ribbons on the top of the tree every approximately 500m. The hike took around 3 hours up and 2 hours down, because we had to fight with enormous number of bamboo of my height. Good thing is that the last 2 km were only walking on the remaining snow on the top of the mountain except the last bamboo fight on the very top of the mountain. In accordance with Japanese traditions we ate cup noodles for lunch and chill there for an hour, enjoying the view, than we returned to the base camp sliding on the snow; and went back home.
I have to admit that wearing shorts and t-shirt for this trip wasn’t great idea; my legs now look like cats were sharpening their claws on them. But anyway trip was great and I enjoyed it.

David (Czech Republic)


by chitchatcafe | 2015-06-09 14:54 | カフェ 英会話 札幌 | Comments(0)