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Goodbye snow!   

The snow has melted! In January, I couldn’t wait for it to go. However, now it’s gone I miss it already! I wish I had had time to go see the drift ice or try ice fishing. I wonder if I will have to wait another 21 years to see that much snow again… Hopefully not. But I’m sure 21 years later I still won’t have forgotten waddling on the ice every day trying to not be late for work! It seems it’s time to welcome the next season to Sapporo! Hokkaido is so exposed to the natural elements, it feels like I’m being given a tour of the seasons by mother nature. Or like that song – the 4 seasons (also the name of a popular pizza topping in the UK)! I can’t wait to see the beauty of spring. Every time I see the little new-born streams of water running down the streets from the melted snow, I think about all the plants sucking it up to create something beautiful. We, as humans, are so lucky to have been gifted the ability to realise natures beauty! Let’s hope my memory will do it justice for years to come…


Honor (UK)

# by chitchatcafe | 2018-03-30 14:56 | 英会話 教師 札幌

Gagaku in Hokkaido Shrine   

Hello everybody on Chit Chat! thanks for joining us! I love to talk and share about culture, Ideas and different ways of understanding our beautiful world.

I must admit I have not any particular skill on writing so I'll do my best to tell you about interesting things that happen on my stay in Sapporo! Basicaly I've being studying deeply Japanese language and music. That is to say, that my Social life (and skills) have dropped considerably hahaha, but In the meantime I've learned and shared a lot with many different Japanese people.

I'll tell you about one interesting experience I had in Sapporo, I went to a gagaku (traditional music) workshop at Hokkaido Jingu on February. It was a two day experience where we stayed at the Jingu office the night and continue studying the next day. A very enjoyable experiece! I was not the only foreigner in the workshop so I was very relieved to see another one.

I learned a lot of interesting things about the Instrument Shō(笙)and I was surprised that Shō players were very few. I suppose is not a widely played instrument in Hokkaido… but It was very good for me since I could ask many questions and learn a lot from the teachers.

After a long rehearsal (more than 8 hours!) we relaxed and drink with the teachers! they really changed from being very strict to be very gentle! after the little party I took a bath, went to sleep and from 6am in the morning we rehearsed one last time and finally we played full orchestra at the Jingu office building for the enshrined gods and the good health of Hokkaido people.

I got a certificate, and few photos (I can show just some of them, sorry). Anyway, I hope you all have a good end of the winter (My god, is so long!!!) I’ll attend another workshop at the end of March, so maybe I’ll do another blog about it!. Bye and thank you so much for reading.

PD: I also attach a drawing a friend of mine gave to me before she went back to her country, is so funny! hahahaha tell me how you think about it when we met at chit chat!

Julián Ferreira
Músico - 音楽家


# by chitchatcafe | 2018-03-22 15:22 | 英会話 教師 札幌

How I learned Japanese   

Sometimes,people would ask me “Why did you start learning Japanese?”, or “How come youwanted to come to Japan in the first place?”. Well, to be honest, there aretimes I wonder that myself.

Butgiving it a little bit of thought, I came up with some possible answers. Givingsome more thought, it may be better to call them “excuses”.

Amongthem, the relatedness part.

Iwas raised in Brazil, a country with a huge influence of Japanese culture.

Duringmy childhood I would watch the same amount of anime as I would watch cartoons,because they were often in the same programming block on TV. Of course, bybeing Japanese productions, there is a both relatedness and strangeness when itcomes to a foreign audience's perspective.

Amongseveral thoughts, “Look at those narrow streets, the school uniforms, thetrains. Why don't we have it here?”, followed by “I've seen this before inanother series, I'm starting to understand this and this!”. And that, naturallyadded to the curiosity to understand what the characters were talking about,and what the music lyrics mean.

Onthe next post, I would like to talk about some of the methods I used to learn.

Fernando (Brazil)

# by chitchatcafe | 2018-02-14 14:06 | 英会話 個人 レッスン 札幌

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

Food is my friend   

Hello everyone, I hope you are having a wonderful day.

I am the newest staff at Chit Chat Café, and this is the first blog I write. It is really hard to really come up with a fresh new idea, and write about it in a way that will be entertaining for you guys. So, I thought that I might want to talk about something I get asked a lot in Japan: what are my favorite Japanese dishes. More precisely, I will talk to you about two restaurants in Sapporo that I really like. Let’s go for a small culinary adventure!

As a Hokkaido University student, I hang out a lot around campus and I barely go anywhere else in my free time. There are two reasons for that. First one is that I am really lazy, so I do everything to stay close to university and my apartment. I that way I don’t have to walk for too long going back home in Sapporo’s freezing winter nights. Second one is money. It is well known that university students are not the richest people on earth, and actually eating for cheap fills my heart with a lot of satisfaction (and especially when the food is good ahah).

The first place I go to on a regular basis is a Café called Jikan (時館), located just next to the 18-jo gate of campus. There are a lot of students there and it opens until midnight. I find it really nice to study there when I don’t want to study in my room. They do amazing burgers, that are really cheap. The one that I prefer is the Zangi Burger. I often take a glass of Coke and fries with it. But I can’t talk about Jikan without telling you about their amazing pancakes. I had never seen, my entire life, such fluffy and delicious-looking pancakes. Last time I tried them, I tried the coconut sauce, but in the end, I think that my favorite is the caramel sauce.

The second place I really like to go to is a place called Manbuu. It Is near the 15-jo gate of campus. I first went there with a circle of the university, and what a surprise when I realized that there was a ALL YOU CAN EAT KARAAGE menu. I did not try the karaage menu the first time, but I quickly came back to try it. A second time, third time, forth time, fifth time… The restaurant instantly became one of the places I loved to go to for a good dinner with a friend. The Chicken Katsu menu is really good, I can’t wait to go back there.

The good thing with those two restaurants? They’re only 30 minutes away from my place by foot. I can’t wait to be able to ride my bike to go there when the snow will be gone (will that even happen one day? It doesn’t feel like it ahah). I think it is a good thing to have some places to feel good when you’re so far away from home. Homesickness is a really tough feeling, but I am sure that whenever it gets me, a bit of Karaage and some fluffy steamy pancakes will get me back on tracks right away!

What about you? Do you have a favorite restaurant or a place to feel good when things get tough? Let’s talk about it next time we see each other!

Have a nice day,

Sofiane (France)

# by chitchatcafe | 2018-02-08 15:02 | マンツーマン 英会話 札幌