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4 May 2003
I will plan on moving to Japan when I am older. And this will not change!

I want to live somewhere in Hokkaido , maybe an hour or so away from Sapporo. But, so I can be prepared before I get there, I would like to know a few things about it there.

-what dialect do they speak? I've been learning Kansai-ben, but I think they speak a different one, one?

-what are some things I should know about that area?

-do you have any sites about it?

I would love the help! Thanks so much!


I can't say what Hokkaido is like, as I haven't been there yet - but I plan to fly there in winter for the ice festival!!

Kansai-ben is spoken in the Kansai area (Osaka, Kobe etc).

Hokkaido doesn't have a strong dialect. Originally there were not many people inhabiting the island - just the original ainu people. So, todays's Japanese came from Honshu (the main island) so, they don't speak a strong dialect like here in Kagoshima.

Most school teach Tokyo (Kanto-ben) Japanese, perhaps you have learnt that as well? You'll be able to use that no problem.
If you study general Japanese customs that will help.

www.japan-guide.com is a good sorce for information. I found this page for you - www.japan-guide.com/e/e638.html
Nzueda-san is right about the language. You should do fine. Hokkaido is a great place if you like a little natural scenery thrown in with your urban sprawl 8-p If your an outdoors type you will find plenty of things to occupy your time (skiing and snowboarding during the Winter, hiking and camping during the Summer, etc.). The beauty of living in and around (or near) Sapporo is that you will have the best of both worlds (all the comforts of a modern city coupled with the escape of the natural environment).

The Hokkaido countryside is a beautiful place and there are many surrounding places of interest nearby (Yubari and Otaru come to mind). In and around Sapporo proper, there are many other smaller cities that are definitely worth checking out (if you haven't decided on any one particular location as of yet to reside in) like Ebetsu, Kitahiroshima, Iwamizawa, and many more.

The Hokkaido people are very friendly and are always accomodating (from my experience) and i'm sure wherever you ultimately decide to live you won't regret it. Sapporo itself is a cultural mecca imho because of all the wonderful events that take place throughout the calendar year. Yosakoi Soran Festival and the Hokkaido Shrine Festival (both in June), Toyohira River Raft Festival (July), Sapporo Summer Festival and Pacific Music Festival (both July through August), Bon-Odori (August), Sapporo Chrysanthemum Festival (November), Sapporo White Illumination (November through February) and of course, the Sapporo Snow Festival (February) are most notable.

Other places of interest you might want to check out in Sapporo (in no apparent order) include:

--Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art-Some great glasswork displays on permanent exhibit.
--Sapporo Museum of Sculpture-Home of Shin Hongo.
--Sapporo Concert Hall ("Kitara")-Drop dead gorgeous venue btw. A must see.
--Hokkaido Museum of Literature-Just opened in '95.
--Sapporo Factory, JR Sapporo Station Shopping Mall/Paseo, Aurora Town, Pole Town, and Tanuki Koji for all your shopping needs.
--Jozankei Hot Spring (Onsen)-Only an hour from downtown.
--Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill-Spectacular view, trust me.
--Nopporo Forest Park, Centennial Memorial Tower, Historical Museum of Hokkaido, Takino Suzuran Park, Makomanai Park, Sapporo Art Park, Sapporo Sato Land, and SO much more... :cool:

Anyways, as you can see i'm pretty partial to Sapporo and Hokkaido. Lemme know if I can answer any further questions you may have.
That was very kind of you, Iron Chef ,to name all those interesting places - I will note them myself, as I have yet to go to Hokkaido, but can't wait :)

They say Hokkaido is a lot like New Zealand, so it has to be beautiful hehe
I live in Sakaemachi on the edge of Sapporo. Before I moved to Sapporo, I lived in Saitama, on the edge of the Tokyo sprawl. Moving was the best decision I ever made.

As far as language and people, Sapporo has the feel of a relatively new city having experienced enormous growth when the government offered incentives for Japanese companies to relocate some of their operations to the area (partly to relieve some of the pressure on the area around Tokyo). This means that a lot of Sapporo residents are only first or second generation, and so regional dialects haven't really had a chance to take hold.

The main thing that will probably strike you about Sapporo, is how well planned it is. The hub of the city runs from Sapporo station through Odori, to Susukino. But the entire central area can be walked from end to end in about 15-20 minutes (both above ground and underground - a lot of Sapporo exists below ground level)

Odori contains a long park stretching for many blocks which is probably the cultural capital of the city. At the moment, we have the Summer Festival (lots of garden and flower displays) and the Beer Festival running there. During the spring/summer months barely a week goes by without a different festival taking place.

Susukino is possibly *the* number 1 nightspot in Japan. Whereas Tokyo spreads it's entertainment across a number of areas (e.g. Shinjuku, Shibuya, Roppongi etc) Sapporo concentrates it all in one place. In an area covering only a few blocks, there are over 4,000 bars, clubs and restaurants.

The Sapporo station area used to be a bit dull, but now we have Stellar Place which opened this year. A huge shopping mall, cinema, restaurant zone etc.... Just don't take your girlfriend there - I did once and suffered extensive damage to my wallet. She's banned now! (only kidding)

The transit system is pretty good. We have a small subway system which covers the entire city. There are 4 main lines and you're never more than 6 or 7 stops away from the center of town.

If you like winter sports, you can be on the slopes in about 15-20 minutes. Or take a bus out to one of the larger resorts. The snow is the best I've ever skiied on.

Compared to Tokyo, Sapporo feels like a city with its own identity. There is much more of a feeling of community. It's not so crowded and I think people here are a little more friendly than further south. The winters are harsh - really harsh, but if you like cold weather and a lot of snow, you'll be fine. However the summers are beautiful, warm, always with a gentle breeze but a lot less humid and sticky than Tokyo. And at night the summer temperatures drop into the mid-teens (celcius), meaning you'll never have a problem getting to sleep.

One more thing. If you ever come to Sapporo, look out for a bar/live music venue called "Patchwork". It's opening in September, and I work there.

So it doesn't matter what dialect you speak, you'll all be able to speak together, alright?
Yup... unless you go to Aomori and speak to some of the old-timers there. Heh, I have no clue what they are saying 8-p

Btw, Tiger-san is right about Susukino being THE hot spot for nightlife (can't believe I forgot to mention that). And Odori Koen is an absolute jewel in the middle of the city. Many a time I have spent eating lunch seated on a bench in the wide open space overlooking the large dias fountain in the center casually enjoying the lazy afternoon taking in all the sounds and smells.
Hokkaido Is Not as Great As Y'all Think!

Well, to tell the truth, the northern island of Hokkaido is to Japan as Tibet is to China. It's underpopulated, with not many major cities, and is not very modern as the other Japanese Islands.

Hokkaido has only one major, modern city, Sapporo. It's very cold and gloomy, and they mostly speak Tokyo Japanese, except people from Osaka who move there and speak Kansai-ben.

Hokkaido is populated by the Ainu, an ancient people who have whiter skin, blue eyes, and occasionally blond hair. Of course, those Ainu remaining live on Government Reservations to avoid prejudice, and many of the other Ainu have intermarried with regular Japanese people.

To put it bluntly, if you love rural life, farms, and non-moderness, than go to Hokkaido. But if you prefer moderness and urban life like me, go to the other islands.
sapporo snow fest

hey, i REALLY wanna see the ice sculptures but tickets are WAY too expensive over snow fest time.

does anyone living in sapporo know if i will see anything if i go up the following weekend (tickets are 7,500 yen tok-sap with ANA!)
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