Living in Hokkaido

Fireworks at Toyohira river

2013年08月01日 16:24
カテゴリ:from Hokkaido JaLS, Living in Hokkaido

Last Friday, Sapporo was filled with yukata-clad men and women in high spirits – the annual fireworks (hanabi) at Toyohira River were here at last! Students of Hokkaido JaLS couldn’t miss this opportunity, and went to the hanabi in style, wearing yukata.

The fireworks are held once a year and are organised by UHB (TV company) and Hokkaido Shinbun. Most people gather at the banks of the Toyohira River to be able to watch the fireworks display without any buildings blocking the view. Families, students, co-workers, friends: everyone enjoys the spectacle together.

The spectacle is split up into three parts, with short intermissions to let the air clear and let people enjoy what they have seen so far. The entire display lasts about 45 minutes.

Wearing yukata (a light, summer version of the kimono) to fireworks is a tradition in Japan: fireworks displays have been held for a very long time, and wearing the yukata transports people back to the old days. Fireworks and similar events are therefore one of the best reasons to really dress up and enjoy some old-school entertainment.

Students of Hokkaido JaLS definitely enjoyed themselves. Why don’t you join us next time?


Yosakoi Soran Matsuri!!!

2013年06月10日 20:05
カテゴリ:Living in Hokkaido

Yesterday was the finale of the 22nd Yosakoi Soran Matsuri!!
Around 270 teams participated in the festival. Teams from all around Japan and overseas gathered in Sapporo. It’s one of the biggest festival in Sapporo.

The festival took place in various locations around Sapporo. Odori Park, Susukino, Sapporo station, etc. It’s a large scale festival, alongside of the snow festival.

Students from JaLS attended this amazing festival.
We were very close to the main stage in Odori Park.
Great view and great dance!! =)

The atmosphere changes in Sapporo when Yosakoi Soran Festival begins.
It’s a signal for summer and signal for all the great festivals and activities.

It’s getting warmer and warmer every day!!

Come to JaLS and join us for all the fun! (^^)/




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SALE at supermarket every night !

2013年03月26日 19:52
カテゴリ:Living in Hokkaido

As a jobless people in Hokkaido, I always find ways to keep my monthly expense low whenever possible. And it’s my pleasure to share this information to all JaLSers so that we can enjoy cheap but good food together  🙂


Half-priced supermarket bento

In Japanese supermarkets, you can buy prepared food such as deep-fried food, cooked rice and bento (Japanese lunchbox). All of them are cooked and are ready to eat. Supermarkets prepare bento every day and try the best to sell them out before closing time. The best way to clear the food cabinet is DISCOUNT!


If you visit supermarkets at around 6pm, you can see DISCOUNT STICKERS (usually in red and yellow) on bento and fresh meat products. Take for an instance, a tag of ‘50円引き’ means you can buy the bento 50 Japanese yen cheaper than marked price. If you are patient enough to wait until 7.30pm, you will be able to purchase bento at 50% off(半額)!

Supermarkets usually the 半額 tag around an hour before closing time.




You can find 7-11 and LAWSON almost everywhere in Japan. However, you can find Seicomart ONLY in Hokkaido; and the prices of Seicomart food products are very reasonable.


You see the below lovely ice-cream produced by Seicomart.

Though each only costs JPY 100, it tastes great!


Next time, let me introduce you good and cheap restaurants in the city   (^^)/




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コタツ ♡ our best friend in Hokkaido winter ♡

2013年03月15日 16:39
カテゴリ:Living in Hokkaido

Which of the following is the best to keep you warm in the severely cold winter in Hokkaido? Scarf? Down jacket? Kairo?


No~ No~ No~ Not my pick!

I will choose kotatsu (コタツ)


Don’t know what kotatsu is?
It is a piece of lovely equipment (maybe I should say it a kind of furniture since it is always accompanied with a table) to keep you warm in winter.

In the old times, Japanese put burning charcoal under tables then covered the tables with large thick cloth. People then sat a ring round the tables to keep themselves warm. Nowadays, kotatsu is a kind of electronic appliance which no longer requires burning charcoal.


It’s time for me to get back into kotatsu (^v^)/
See you next week!



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My Life in Sapporo Shared House

2013年02月06日 16:50
カテゴリ:Living in Hokkaido

Once I have made up my mind to go to Hokkaido, I have decided to stay indoors whenever possible. It is just too cold outside!

Thus on the day of moving in, I surprised myself by saying ‘yes’ when my housemates invited me to play suberidai (滑り台) on Sunday.


We drove to Takino Suzuran Koen (滝野スズラン公園) in the afternoon and found there was a long queue lining up for suberidai. It’s obvious that suberidai is a very popular game in Hokkaido during winter.


To play suberidai, we need to borrow swimming rings which requires no rental fee. (COOL!) Then we queued up for the ‘lift’ which pulled us up to the slope and slid down from the top of the slope to the bottom. I couldn’t believe such a simple game brought us so much fun and I could hardly remember how many turns I did!



It’s getting dark (also the weather was getting worse) so we walked to the parking lot at around 3.30pm.

‘Where is the car key?’ one of housemates who drove the car asked. Everyone remained silent, hoping that he was playing joke on us. No matter how cruel it is, you need to accept the reality — WE LOST THE KEY!


It was so bad that we could not find the car key even with the help of the playground staff. It was so kind that the playground staff drove us to the visitor centre and wait for our friend to bring us the spare key. When we were waiting for the key in the visitor centre, we played lots of mini games which are popular in Japan.


It was already 8pm when we arrived home.

Although we were tired, we couldn’t wait to join the nabe (なべ) party in living room   \(^^)/



Although we crashed into a small accident today, we had so much fun and I begin loving to hang around with friends regardless the coldness outside.



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A survival guide for icy territory

2013年02月01日 14:21
カテゴリ:Living in Hokkaido

Let’s enjoy the winter in Sapporo without a broken leg ! With a good preparation, everything is absolutely fine.

First and obvious advice : buy good shoes which means warm, studded shoes. With a good grip on the ground, you have no chance to fall.

If your country is all summer year-round, no worries, you can find practical shoes for a reasonnable price in Sapporo.
To stay fashion, you can add removeable ice cleats to your boots and you are done.

Second, watch your way. If pavements are fine, crosswalks are more vicious : it’s a real skating rink so be careful while crossing.
Sometimes, it’s not you who are slipping but the others around. Check out if cars are actually stopping before crossing. Another advantage of Sapporo is that the snow is piling around roads so you are protected from any traffic accident.

Third, avoid ice.
If streets seem strangely empty when you go outside it’s not because everyone fled to Caribbean, they are underground.
As we said before, there is an underground walkway that connects Sapporo Station to Susukino Station in where you can access the buildings surrounding the area.

Fourth, a ground that doesn’t look icy is still a threat.
Especially when you enter a building, after passing the safe carpet area, many people forget their vigilance and fall. Why? Because your stoles are covered by snow so it becomes really slippy in contact with a solid floor.

These little advices can help you anytime and don’t worry too much about falling, after all, without ice, there wouldn’t be ski, snow festival or igloos…everything that makes Hokkaido, the best place ever.

Where are the Hokkaido people?

2013年01月22日 19:01
カテゴリ:Living in Hokkaido

When I first arrived in Sapporo, I was astonished by the street view here. You can hardly find a person in the street !!


‘Where are the Sapporo people? Are they spending the winter in south part of Japan where the climate is much warmer?’


Questions came up in my mind when I was walking along the street. Finally, I got the answer when I walked down to chikagai (地下街).


In chikagai, heater warms up the air. Also, chikagai protects you from the strong wind outside. Furthermore, there are many boutiques and restaurants in chikagai. You can spend the whole day in chikagai without getting bored#

# Sapporo Chikagai runs from Sapporo JR Station to Susukino Subway Station. It also links to various shopping malls and commercial buildings.



Another way to warm your up in Hokkaido severe winter is kairo (カイロ). It is a small pad stuffed with vermiculite which produces heat in contact with oxygen. These pads are available in drug stores, convenience stores and 100 Yen Shop.


The most basic type of kairo is to warm your hands. Recently, there are different types of kairo appear in the market. Say for example, there are warm pads which can be attached to clothes to make your body warm and even smaller pads to be put into shoes to keep your feet warm.

Stay warm!


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Sapporo map and directions

2013年01月21日 13:23
カテゴリ:Living in Hokkaido

New in Sapporo and already lost ? No worries, we are here to guide you !

First, you must know that Sapporo is divided in ten wards, called “ku” 区. Sometimes their name are logical as based on their location (North ward “Kita-ku” 北区, Center Ward ”Chuo-ku” 中央区…) or on the contrary, totally random (The white stone ward “Shiroishi-ku” 白石区、ainu-language derived Toyohira-ku, 豊平区).

Concerning the orientation in the city, the system is based on cardinal points and number of streets such as New York city. The starting point is the TV tower. From here, the further you go, the streets number will grow higher. Then, your position is marked this way :
North/South Number East/West Number.

It’s very easy to find your way in Sapporo, just follow our little map and you will get the trick in no time !

Here is Hokkaido JaLS directions and a view of the signs that will guide through the city. As they are everywhere, there is no chance to get lost.

At first, you won’t probably be able to distinguish where is North or South… but try to remember some key locations such as Sapporo Station or Tanukikoji to figure out your position.

Don’t be affraid to be lost, you may discover things that maps don’t show.