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So I got arrested last weekend...   

Honestly, it was one of the best experiences of my life. Okay, so I wasn't really arrested, but I managed to make reservations at "the Lockup". It's a very interesting prison themed izakaya with a pretty fascinating menu. It all starts with pressing a button placed on a skeleton's hand in the middle of the 6th floor in an otherwise unremarkable building. After a door slides open you are lead into a dark room. In the distance, you can start hearing noises, and as you listen you find out that they are getting closer. Right about then, the lights turn on, smoke blows into the room and a lady in a police uniform jumps out at you. BOO!

After a proper scaring, you are handcuffed and taken to your cell. They were nice enough to give you a table and a few (almost) reasonably priced menus for you and your friends to enjoy. The drinks are presented in beakers, bottles, syringes, with all sorts of weird fillings inside. They were pretty good, even if it was a little hard to mix your own drinks with a syringe.

The food menu was properly themed too. I ended up ordering the Devil's Left Hand. A spicy chicken meal that looks like a hand on a plate. It was pretty delicious!

While you're enjoying food and drinks with friends, you can sometimes here sirens and lights go off. When that happens, a bunch of people dressed in scary outfits start rattling cages, jumping into rooms and sneaking around walls to try and spook you.

I'll say this for the record, I wasn't scared at all. They'll have to try harder next time.
However, the food and drinks and service was top-notch. I definitely recommend trying if you want a unique and thrilling experience.

Tyler (USA)
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by chitchatcafe | 2015-12-09 15:16 | 札幌 英会話 国際

Once a Month   

This blog will mark the beginning of what has been a long standing intention to reflect on my time with words. I have a fascination with expression, in all its various forms. I believe life can never be boring, so long as it finds a way to express itself. For many years, I longed for an experience that was very different from what I had become so familiar with. You see, having spent time in England, Canada, America and New Zealand, the western influence was fully threaded throughout the fabric of these countries. I, through samples of eastern influence, hoped that one day I could pluck up the courage to immerse myself in a distinctive culture away from the west. Japan has therefore felt like somewhat of a destiny and has opened my eyes in ways that can barely contain the delightful differences of this place.

I was speaking to my brother in England recently and trying to explain my impressions. It was the little things that stood out to me. For example, my brother's outside impression is that everything is busy. It was through explaining my experience so far that I realised how I had linked 'busy' with 'chaos'. In England, when times were busy, it was loud, disorganised and frantic, with frustrations that could be felt all around. I just saw it as a natural consequence of there being many people collected. But here, having visited Tokyo and now residing in Sapporo, my first impression is that although there are many more people than I am used to, 'chaos' is the last word that springs to mind. The opposite rings true, there's a sense of calm. People walk, but are not loud, things happen all around, but there's no sense of things being disorganised. It doesn't feel frantic and frustrations don't appear to bubbling to the surface.

Now this may be the honeymoon period where I'm seeing things through rose tinted glasses, but so far, I feel more at ease around the roughly 2 million inhabitants of Sapporo, compared to the roughly 250,000 inhabitants of my hometown of Plymouth, England.

I have many other impressions of this wonderful place which I hope to share over the next coming blogs, so stay tuned and stay snowy Sapporo!

Matt (UK)

by chitchatcafe | 2015-12-08 15:16 | 英会話 個人 レッスン 札幌

Changing from North to South   

It's December and I already stayed for over 7 month in Hokkaido. 2 month in Biei and nearly 5 month in Sapporo.

I really enjoyed that time here. Actually it was too hot for me and summer and now it nearly gets too cold. But at all, Sapporo was a town, you can't compare to other towns in Japan like on Honshu or Kyushu. It's kind of different. The food... the people... the architecture... the habits... I had nice times in parks by good weather and a few nice days out of Sapporo on places like Yotei-san, Cape Kamui or Daisetzuen national park.

It was nice to meet all of you at Chit Chat Cafe, some of you just once, some of you more than 5 or 10 times. I heard a lot stories and got much knowledge from local people during the conversation rounds. Some of you learned much about me and the German culture as well.

I will head down to Kyushu now. It is probably a bit warmer and spring already start there in march. Let's see what's going on down there ;)

Wish you all the best and many more enjoybale times at Chit Chat Cafe!

Erik (Germany)

by chitchatcafe | 2015-12-03 16:49 | 札幌 英会話 サークル

First month in Sapporo: from Autumn colours to the first snow of the year in the blink of an eye   

I moved from Tokyo to Sapporo less than one month ago, but my life has already changed in so many ways, that I really have no clue where to start from.
I think I will by singing the praises of Nakajima Koen.

The first time I crossed Nakajima Koen, the beauty of its Autumn colours really took my breath away.
I was confronted with a shower of red, gold, yellow and green, mingling together in such an exquisite way that not even the most gifted painter would ever be able to reproduce.

I had been told that the “Momiji” in Japan are a mind-blowing spectacle, but I wasn’t ready for such magnificence.
I remember sitting down on a bench in front of a small pond, gazing at the reflection of the Autumn colors on its rippling surface.
It looked liked a liquid miracle, some sort of fleeting view which only dreams can be made of.
It also reminded me of one of my favourite expressions in Japanese: “諸行無常”, “all worldly things are impermanent”.

Almost as to confirm my impression, less then three weeks later, the magic of Autumn colours had vanished, swept away by the first snow of the year.
And what snow it was! 42 cm fallen in just one day and one night, according to the news.
I had not seen so much snow ever since I went on a school trip to a sky-resort when I was fourteen.
In the small sea-town in the north of Italy, where I come from, snow is an extremely rare occurrence.
So I was not really prepared for what I saw, when i looked out of the window, on the morning of Tue, 24th November.

I immediately rushed out to Nakajima Koen to take some pictures and even a video to send to my friends and family back at home.
I believe that snow can be the emblem of deceptivness: like a beautiful bride, when it has just fallen: so spotless and immaculate-looking, and flawless. The enchant lasts just for a few days, though, when the snow turns into a dirty mess of slush and ice.

Elisa (Italy)

by chitchatcafe | 2015-12-01 17:44 | 英会話 教師 札幌