北海道JaLS STAFF BLOG

Hokkaido

Furano daytrip

2013年07月26日 14:22
カテゴリ:from Hokkaido JaLS, Hokkaido

On Saturday, students of Hokkaido JaLS, volunteers and Sapporo locals went to Furano to see the lavender fields, which rose to fame through their appearance on a popular TV show. Beautiful views, great weather and even better company: it was lots of fun!

The day started off with the bus ride to the lavender fields, about two to three hours’ drive from Sapporo. Along the way we stopped off at the cheese-, milk- and ice cream-making factory, where we had the opportunity to look at the cheese-making process, taste freshly made ice cream and even milk a (fake) cow.

After half an hour we boarded the bus again, and after getting stuck in a traffic jam (which lead to great hilarity and new friendships being formed over the question if it would be faster to walk or drive) we made it to the first lavender fields. The view was beautiful: purple flowers for a good hundred meters, if not more, with big rainbow-coloured bands of blossoms stretching the other way. After taking a group picture, we headed off to eat lunch (teriyaki hamburgers for most of us, with the odd slice of melon and perhaps a cup of lavender-flavoured ice cream) and wander around in groups for an hour or two.

After those two hours we boarded the bus again, this time headed for Biei to see another flower farm. This particular one happened to have an alpaca farm, a small quad-riding area and a lot of tractors besides rows and rows of different types of flowers. The tractors especially provided an extra layer of entertainment, with many students posing and lounging on them. The flowers were indeed quite beautiful, and since the farm was positioned on top of a hill, the flower fields cascaded down which lead to great views of the surrounding area. By that time the sun seemed to have really reached its peak and most people slowly but surely started to seek shelter in the shade while enjoying yet another ice cream or a bottle of guarana, which is probably best described as a sweeter Hokkaido crossover version of Coca cola and Redbull. A leisurely hour was spent here before we boarded the bus again to drive to our last stop of the trip: the Blue Pond.

The Blue Pond was a stop many weren’t expecting, but it definitely was a case of ‘last but not least’. The name is a bit of a giveaway – the pond is indeed bright blue, with lots of tree stumps sticking out while being reflected at the same time. Combined with the view of the surrounding mountains, it was a stunning ending to the Furano trip.
A few hours later, we drove into Sapporo after a long but fun day, with camera’s filled with new pictures. Come and join us next time!

Want to know where we’re going next? How about checking out our Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/#!/hokkaido.jals

Christmas in Sapporo

2012年12月24日 14:34
カテゴリ:from Hokkaido JaLS, Hokkaido

Lights, garlands, Santa Claus…It’s finally Christmas !
Surrounded by piles of snow, you can really feel the Christmas mood in all Sapporo.

Coming from Germany, Munchen Christmas market is the most popular Christmas event around : with its little wood houses, hand-made decorations and foreign cooking,  you feel like travelling in Germany for real:

We held a warm Christmas party in our decorated lounge where guests could enjoy nabe (boiled vegetables, meat and fish that you pick from a pot. Actually, “nabe” in Japanese means “pot”) and Hokkaido’s fishermen traditional food : chanchan-yaki (salmon and vegetables cooked on a hot plate).

We had plenty of games such as pictionary, marshmallow-catching… Speaking of pictionary, who’s the best Mickey Mouse ?

The winning team received a giant Christmas stocking full of snacks !

Students of our Asian Cafe (courses of asian languages for Japanese people) came as well as Hokkaido JaLS’s friends and students to enjoy this special event.
As JaLS is like a family, we couldn’t miss the chance to celebrate this joyful time all together.

Everyone, have a nice Christmas !

Sapporo’s rising star : Hatsume Miku

2012年11月30日 14:37
カテゴリ:Hokkaido

Who would have imagined that a virtual singer could become so popular?
But before becoming the first virtual singer giving a concert, Hatsume Miku was only a character illustrating Vocaloid software’s voice.
Vocaloid is a program that enables you to create your own music using you computer. Lyrics and chores are sung by a synthesized voice that you can arrange as you please.

The firm, Crypton is based in Sapporo and each year, thousands of Japanese came to visit Sapporo, only to ride the Hatsume Miku Train :

You really can see her everywhere, she even has her sculpture at Sapporo Snow Festival

And Sapporo’s souvenir shops are crowding with Snow Miku goods (an exclusivity of Sapporo). The most surprising may be Hello Kitty-Miku crossover goods which are again, unique to Hokkaido.

If you wish to discover the wolrd of Hatsume Miku , feel free to join us !

First snow !

2012年11月19日 15:21
カテゴリ:Hokkaido

The first snow at Sapporo seems like a little event for its inhabitants. Yes, it’s the beginning of winter but also, the start of festivities ! Soon, you can admire the Munich Christmas market, the Odori White Illuminations…your mind will be full of Christmas thoughts.

The giant Christmas tree at Sapporo Factory

For many Japanese, snow conveys a romantic image, like taking a walk under the gently, twinkling snow with your partner… For a lovely  stroll,  we highly recommand Otaru, a town next to Sapporo where the atmosphere is totally magical with its cute canal and music boxes. If you join our Winter Course, we can go together !

Yesterday was only a tiny pick at the very long winter to come but everyone is excited to discover that it will bring. Would it be nicer to enjoy it together ?

 

Anime-manga at “Sapporabara”

2012年11月15日 14:28
カテゴリ:Hokkaido

No need to go to Tokyo to find anime and manga culture ! You have everything in Sapporo !

Did you know that many mangaka (manga authors) came from Hokkaido ? For example, Yuki Obata (We were there), Kazune Kawahara (High School Debut), Karuho Shiina (Kimi ni todoke: from Me to You)…

Sapporo is full of manga book stores, internet coffee shops, maid cafes… which are gathered around THE place to be for a real anime manga fan : Animate !
Animate is one the biggest anime-manga shop in Japan, and we are blessed to have one in Sapporo. They have everyhting you can dream of : manga, dvds, dojinshis (fanzins), exclusive signs, goodies…

Also, not as big as Tokyo Anime Fair, we have our own event dedicated to “otaku culture” : Kitamae manga-anime Festival !

Live perfomances, dojinshi stands, cosplay demonstrations…everything to entertain manga-anime fans. Just before Christmas (23/12/2012), it will be a nice present, isn’t it ?

Last but not the least, guess who’s born in Sapporo ?

The Vocaloid star Hatsume Miku !
If you want to say “Hie” to our virtual princess, come to join us !

Do you know Chrysanthemum ?

2012年11月09日 16:15
カテゴリ:Hokkaido

Hey !

Today, if you drop by Sapporo Eki underground passage leading to Odori Station, you can watch a Chrysanthemum exposition.

 

Why Chrysanthemum ? It’s the national flower of Japan. Of course, Japan is well-known for it’s cheery blossom but the real symbol of the country is the Chrisanthemum (菊 きく) used as the  Imperial Crest.

There are plenty of species and the most beautiful may this one, it looks like fireworks, isn’t it ?

This year is indeed the 50th anniversary of the Chrysanthemum Festival so the “altar” was more gorgeous than last year.

Flower lovers, don’t hesitate to come to Hokkaido, it’s really the place to be !

 

 

Do you know Sapporo Snow Festival?

2012年10月23日 15:34
カテゴリ:Hokkaido

Winter is coming and our staff is getting ready for the winter course!

 

The 5nd February after class, let’s go to Sapporo Snow Festival!

It’s probably the most awaited event here and we are very pleased to introduce it to our students.

 

The winter in Sapporo is very unique: there is so much snow that it pills up quickly. Inhabitants found a playful way to deal with it: they sculpt it and their fleeting piece of art could reach 10 meters high!

 

Looking these giant snow sculptures will give you a blast as well as these meticulous iced creations. Numerous concerts are organized and you can enjoy night-time illuminations…everything for free!

 

Can wait to see it? Then, join us on JaLS and we will offer you the greatest time in Sapporo!