Changes   

I’ve finally started my lessons, only a few Japanese classes this week, but full fledged first semester starts from next week. I am a little bit excited about it but nothing abnormal actually to my surprise. I thought I would go crazy with excitement, but I just feel normal about it. Maybe that’s what growing up is, you just feel normal about stuff.


A lot of developments have been happening in my life too, including me and other people, countries at some cases even, so I feel lots of things happening at once, a pace that is little bit too fast for my taste. But I guess during rainy days a good thumbnail to remember is, “Good stuff passes. But bad stuff passes too.”


Speaking of rainy days, what’s with Sapporo these days? The weather was perfectly fine up until last week, now it’s just all hell breaks loose. Yesterday night, was so cold, I actually had to wait in a konbini for a couple of minutes to warm up, and then go back to my home. Hokkaido is just one crazy place. It’s April now I mean, not even the start of it, it’s Mid April, and you still can’t go out without a scarf. And I bought a bike you see, I was super excited to ride it and not be late for school and stuff, but now, whenever I try to ride it, it’s either raining, or a wind that’s so cold and strong it just stops me on my tracks. Calm down a tad bit more, Hokkaido my dear? You’re hurting me, literally. (Note: It’s snowing at this very moment I am writing this.)


I went to a football game the other day with a friend and his kid, between FC Tokyo and Consadole Sapporo which the Sapporo won. As I’m living in Sapporo, I was like “Go ConSa!” the entire match. I guess I’ll go see more games from now on when I have the time. (And the money, aren’t those tickets a bit too much expensive??) Also after the game, we went to a yakisoba place, and guess who did we meet? The game announcer for that nights game! I heard him speaking at the game, and then just casually came to eat yakisoba at the place we were. That was a nice coincidence.


So yeah. Life in Sapporo, I’ve gotten used to it more or less now, some stuff doesn’t excite me as it used to, some stuff I like even more compared to the time I first came here. Life is fun here, I like it. Maybe full of hardships, lots of stuff to think about and lots of homeworks but always, always fun.

Dee (Turkey)



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# by chitchatcafe | 2017-04-13 17:10 | 英会話 プライベート レッスン

Hokkaido Hygge   

Recently, I read an article at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-39331314 which discussed the concept of happiness. This article intrigued me because I enjoy traveling and trying to be happy. So, I wanted to read more about a foreign country said to be the ‘happiest in the world’. Also, coincidentally, the Nordic part of Europe has come up lately for me. I recently met a friend who is a Social Worker in Sapporo. She had not long returned from visiting a prison in Finland as a part of her research into alternative forms of support for criminals. She spoke very highly of what sounded like an advanced system of rehabilitation. It perked my interest at the ‘alternative’ approach to the way some countries operate as a society. Another recent connection to this part of the world was my recent obsession with vikings! I came across a music band by the name of ‘Wardruna’ which uses traditional instruments to drum, hum and sing Nordic Folk type music. As I listen to it, I can feel my beard grow longer.

Anyway, back to the article. Try and read some of it and test yourselves to see if you can get an idea of what it’s about. Personally, I learned about one main idea, ‘Hygge’. Yes, that wasn’t a spelling mistake, but a word translated to mean something like ‘self-care or well-being’. Treating ourselves to something every now and again seems to be a part of what aids general well being. In England, many people rush, worry, binge and purge through life. In Denmark, the weather isn’t that great, especially in Winter, with cold days and around 17 hours of darkness! So they seem to make sure they make the most out of small comforts to help them through life. This made me think about the winter we’ve all just had….and still having.

So many people I have met over winter have complained about the cold and for some, the winter is just too long. Everyone seems to be counting down the days to the Spring. But I for one had a great winter and would like to share my ‘Hygge’ spirit with you.
When the snow started falling, leaving everything with a pure, clean, fresh coat of white, I liked the way it made everything look so different. The outdoors of Sapporo seemed to get quieter and more peaceful as the asphalt was blanketed, making cars drive slower and most other people commute by train or foot almost entirely underground.
Snow sports came into season, with mountains of fresh snow waiting to be carved through, like a knife through warm butter. Ramen never tasted better to help warm up the insides and a snowy Christmas spent eating comfort food in the warm while watching movies was my paradise. Outdoor onsens were picture perfect with crisp, snowy views. To top it all off, hunting season was in full swing, with fresh venison offered by a friend making for some amazing home cooked meat. Overall, I enjoyed the Winter and will look forward to the next one. Hokkaido has some of the most distinct seasonal changes I have ever experienced. The Siberian High, which plays a huge role in the Winter of Hokkaido, doesn’t stretch as far as England, so it’s quite unique for me. I try to appreciate each season no more or less than the other, making for an all year feeling of Hokkaido Hygge!

I hope this can freshen any lingering ‘Winter-blues’ and put us in the right mood for a Spring of new life and warmer weather coming soon!…maybe 😉

Matt (UK)

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# by chitchatcafe | 2017-03-23 16:54

Spring is coming!   

Hey everyone!

I stepped outside the other day and I finally realised that it's mid-March and winter is coming to an end. I imagine many of you are very excited for the arrival of spring, meaning you can cast aside your worries about shovelling so much snow!

Although it isn't my favourite season, winter is still one of my favourite parts of the year, espcially here in Sapporo. Walking in heavy snowfall, the amazing feeling when you finally sit down and enjoy some warm food and the frequent events Sapporo is world famous for, all of these things have made this the most enjoyable winter so far in my life.

It's strange thinking back and realising the snow started falling all the way back in October and, after a brief period of time with no snowfall at all, December kicked off with record amounts of snow! I've lived in Sapporo before, but waking up and seeing all that snow on the ground still managed to surprise me.

As for my highlights this winter?
Going to Sapporo Factory with friends to eat and see the Christmas tree and decorations back in December. Although it wasn't too special, it was very nostalgic for me having lived in Sapporo four years ago and it's very pretty once it gets dark outside.

For New Year's, an old friend from Sapporo University came from Australia to visit me and we went all the way to the middle of nowhere (Fukagawa!) to eat some ramen made by one of our friends. Probably the most expensive ramen I've eaten to date as the total of the food and travel exceeded 7000 yen!

And last but definitely not the least, the Snow Festival! Every day after work I would walk through the festival and just enjoy the atmosphere and I'm sure I'll never forget the Trump/PPAP snow sculpture!

I hope you all had a good winter despite all the snow and cold weather and I look forward to seeing you all in the Spring!

Michael/Waffle/ワっちゃん

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# by chitchatcafe | 2017-03-21 17:09 | 英会話 プライベート レッスン

My expenrience with snow in Sapporo   

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Before coming to Sapporo, I have never lived in a place with so much snow before. In October 2016, when I opened the window and saw tons of snow on the street for the first time, I was filled with joy and literally had to run downstairs to play in the snow around my dormitory.


In February 2017, I joined an event to build a snow sculpture for the Yuki Matsuri, and had a really happy day at Odori Park. It was really amazing that they could create such huge and magnificent snow sculptures with intricate details. The festival was absolutely wonderful, and attracted so many foreign visitors to the city. It was also very fortunate that they celebrated the 30 years of Final Fantasy 7 with a big sculpture of the two famous characters of this legendary Japanese game, and I had the opportunity to be in Sapporo to witness it.


In March 2017, I went skiing for the first time in a Cross Country Skiing event, and it was one of the most memorable days of my life. I did not expect skiing to be so much fun, and tiring at the same time. It was such an enjoyable workout and I kept smiling no matter how many times I fell. I was utterly joyful when I could finally ski down slopes well after some practice. Cross Country Skiing has become the newest entry on my list of favourite sports. I am very glad to be living in Sapporo, the city with beautiful white snow.


Hoang (Vietnam)

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# by chitchatcafe | 2017-03-11 14:16 | 英会話 教師 札幌

My trip to Tokyo   

I arrived to Sapporo end of September, and I have been going to a lot of classes at my university in Sapporo, so I was very much looking forward to the winter holiday to go travelling with my sister, who came from Hungary all the way to Japan to spend Christmas and New Year’s with me. We met up in Tokyo on the 23rd of December and spend 2 wonderful weeks there. It was my sister’s first visit to Japan, and I was very excited to show her everything that I love about this country. Tokyo has many great things to offers for its visitors, so we were not bored, not even for a second! On Christmas Eve, we visited Hibiya Park, where the Tokyo Christmas Markets are held. We tried mulled and German sausages. We were satisfied with the quality and the different types of the German food at the stalls. We did not expected to find such great German food in the middle of Tokyo, so we were very happy to have a bite of all these traditional European Christmas foods. With a huge mug of mulled wine, we went to see a Christmas show in the inside tent. It was a very fun event, with Christmas carols, singing and dancing.



My favourite part of the trip were our visit to Tokyo Disney Land and Kamakura town. Although the Christmas season is one of the busiest season among visitors i disney Land, we had loads of fun in park. We tried different rollercoasters, my favourite one was the Indiana Jones ride, it was very adventurous. We also took part in a treasure hunt in Japanese. It was very challenging because of the language, but it was a lot fun while exploring the park. We enjoyed the end of day show with characters from Disney animations and fireworks. I love how the fireworks were shaped as Mickey or Minnie mouse. Also, because it was the park’s 25 anniversary, this was a special show with it theme song playing during the fireworks.


On the 2nd of January we visited Kamakura, and all its shrines and temples. We queue up the make our wishes for the New Year. Although the main shrine was very busy, and we had to queue for an hour, we visited an other temple, where we washed our money. Did you know that if you go to this shrine and wash your money under water, the money that you wash, supposed to double in amount. It was a crazy experience with everyone washing their money, and making their for the new year. We visited the Great Buddha too. It’s huge, and the place is really relaxing.Kamakura is a lovely small town, and we finished our day on the beach. The sunset was beautiful, and we had a nice walk going back to the train statio.


After two weeks of travelling in Tokyo, it was time for me to come back to Sapporo, and for my sister to go back to Hungary. My sister, never liked Japanese food before she came to Japan, said it’s the best food she ever had. On the first day I made her try taiyaki with sweet bean paste, and she didn’t like it. On our last day, she bought ankle from the supermarket to take home with her, because she came o like it so much. On top of that, she said that she doesn’t want to go back home, she wants get to know more of Japan, and learn more about Japanese. It was a great holiday, it was both of our first visit to Tokyo, but definitely not the last one. Can’t wait to be back, and explore different cities and sights in Japan!

Tamara (Hungary)



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# by chitchatcafe | 2017-02-02 14:42 | 札幌 英会話 サークル