First-Year Rep Elections

It’s that time of year again everyone–time to choose the First-Year-Rep. If you’re a first year, you’re going to be voting on one of these people here, so get to know their platforms and inform yourself. You appreciate democracy, right? You want to participate in the process, right?

ferfie pic

Chris “Ferfie” Brownoff

This is Ferfie, and I’m quite keen on running for First Year Rep. Prior to coming to Japan, I didn’t exactly live in some box, completely shut-in from the rest of the world. That said, there were still many curve balls slung my way by the JET experience. I also discovered very quickly that the cursory information provided at Tokyo orientation didn’t really hold for a Hokkaido-bound JET like myself. However, when I arrived in Chitose, and flipped through my Hokkaido Newcomers Guide, I was pretty quickly presented with more useful information than what was hurled at me during the 2 days of orientation in Tokyo. While the Sapporo Orientation and the HAJET presentations also gave me a sackful of useful tips and tricks for my job, it also delivered a social aspect that I had yet to experience at the initial orientation. HAJET just seemed fun. The people involved in the Prefectural Council seemed generally like rad folks. I was pretty stoked on how well they appeared to get along with each other, but also how rad they treated me and other first years. I mean, as a new kid on the block, you never really know what you’ll get when you’re getting advice from a bunch of folks with way more experience than you. Were they gonna be a bunch of lame-os? Were they gonna talk down to me like some impossible-to-impress parent? “Listen son, you’re a grown-ass man, now stop with the stupid questions, and act yer damn age.” …All valid concerns if you’re asking me.

But HAJET got me really stoked. Not only about living in a place like Hokkaido; but, it got me stoked on how connected they try and make a place like Hokkaido for anyone that’s on this journey. It’s a big-ass place. And honestly, before coming to Sapporo Orientation and meeting the HAJET folks there, I honestly didn’t think I would be ripping around the island too much, outside of Holidays. Now, however, 5 hour drive to Sapporo on the weekend? Sure. Some rad folks wanna climb some mountain I’ve never heard of, and I ain’t got a smart phone? Cool, I’ll try not to get lost. Wanna come to a feast out of your neck of the woods to celebrate a holiday you have no connection with? Yer damn right I do. Because the HAJET folks, and the JETs I have met through their organized events, really make those experiences for me.

So, if I can help provide for any JET (a new-comer or a Unicorn) half of what I’ve experienced from HAJET so far, than I’d say that’s pretty not too effin’ bad.

On top of that, I have to say that I was really impressed by how dedicated HAJET is to giving back to the community. Just about everyone that I’ve met on the council has shown interest not only in connecting JETs with each other, but demonstrating the benefits of connecting with those within their respective towns. Whether through the promotion of HEC – and demonstrating how much this can do for not only the academic future of a child but also their self-esteem – or simply the reminders to be present in your community, HAJET has impressed upon me the benefits of getting involved inside and outside of the classroom. It’s sometimes easy to get swept up in the JET experience, and focus on self-cultivation a bit too much. While it’s great to better yourself and take on new challenges, HAJET has served to remind me how much it means to my community if I shift the focus from myself to those around me. Not that I had a heart of stone before coming here, but when that 6 year-old at the town cafe brings over a book to read, regardless of all the crap I have to take care of on that evening, you better believe I’m going to sit down and go through every page with him. Yes, I would have done that before being introduced to HAJET, but they have demonstrated to me just how much experiences like that mean to those kids. Needless to say, this serves as another aspect of HAJET that I would be stoked to pass on to any of my fellow JETs, both current and future.

As for Pokemon. I mean I was right in that prime-age group to be swept up by the phenomenon that was Pokemon. I dug it, collected the cards, didn’t know how to play though. But I really only got stoked on the initial Game Boy games. I guess you could say I’m a bit of nostalgic…ist? I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with post-2nd generation Pokemon, or any of their related media. That said, they were never really my jam. I dug Gen 1 & 2 when thy were around and in syndication, but stopped paying attention pretty quickly thereafter. That said, nowadays I can’t help but walk around in the fall sometimes, smell a certain smell, and immediately remember being an elementary school kid – getting way too stoked on my Nidorino card, and far too anxious when I’d enter Lavender Town in Pokemon Blue. What I love about it is that it’s able to provide that experience for me: It has created memories that can be triggered by things as simple as sensory experiences. Granted, this is all likely due to very clever marketing on some executives part, and I guess I hat that. Taking advantage of the marshmallow like brain of some dumb Canadian kid, and implicitly coercing it to like a bunch of cute, foreign cartoons. They really reeled me in, hook, line, and sinker. Oh well, no regrets, so I guess everybody wins?


katelyn pic

Katelyn Mitchell

HAJET has been an invaluable resource since I arrived in Hokkaido. From meeting friends to chill around a lake on weekends with to answering my frantic questions about phones on the Facebook group, HAJET has been there. As someone who hasn’t been very social or outgoing in the past and is striving to change that, HAJET has provided me with opportunities I might have never otherwise taken to meet new people in new situations. HAJET to me is the epitome of what an AJET group should be, a trustworthy group of people who work together to find ways to bring JETs together and explore our island at the same time. I want to be your First Year Rep to give back to HAJET for all it has done for me, and to help HAJET fill the same invaluable position for future members of the Hokkaido JET family.

Pokemon, much like HAJET, has played a role in allowing me to make new friends and connect with new people. Showing up to my first college Halloween party as Pikachu earned me several odd stares, true, but also several high fives and nostalgic stories about the good old days of the original 151. My opinion on Pokemon can be described thusly: at my final piano recital before leaving the country, when all the other graduates were playing Mozart or Andrew Lloyd Webber, I jammed out to the original Pokemon theme song – and nearly the entire audience sang along!


nikolai pic

Nikolai Muth

Hi! I’m Nikolai. I’m really tall. It’s a notable fact about me. I might literally be head and shoulders above the competition… Only physically though, I’m sure. :)

After only being here less than three months I can already tell that the community of awesome, wacky people up here in Hokkaido is going to be one of the best things about my experience as an ALT. If I could meet more great folks, and actually be personally able to help everyone have a better time here in Japan, I would be truly overjoyed. That’s why I’m applying for First Year Rep. Yoroshiku!

As for Pokemon… man, I probably COULD write an essay. Come on it’s like all the fun of having pets, combined with the appeal of collecting, and add in all the awesome and cute designs… what kid wouldn’t love Pokemon? The design that goes into all of them is incredible, and brilliant: the naming, the art, the balancing of abilities, all of it. Haven’t played since Emerald though so I’m a bit behind the times, but I have super fond memories of playing the games on gameboy… and watching and rewatching taped episodes of the tv show when I was little.

My favorite right now has got to be Absol, the dark/horned fuzzy yin-yang wolf cat one. If I WAS a Pokemon I’d probably be Psychic type. Or actually I hear they have Fairy now so maybe Psychic/Fairy. That would be rad.


jonathan pic

Jonathan Curry

Hi there! My name is Jonathan Curry, originally from L.A., recent Colorado College grad, and one of the two new ALTs in the quaint northeastern town of Hamatonbetsu. Call me Jon!

Since my arrival in Hokkaido, HAJET has been not only warm and welcoming to myself and my fellow newcomers, but also a key part of our transition and acclimation to living and working as a JET. The Northern region’s leader, as I’m sure the leaders of all other regions did as well, wasted no time in touching bases. Moreover, the HAJET leadership has been consistent and diligent in their efforts to reassure us that we do indeed have a dedicated support system backing us every step of the way. Having studied abroad in college, I understand the value of such guidance and support, and I hope to ensure that HAJET continues to thrive and improve in their endeavors. Not to mention, I have been super psyched on the Hokkaido English Challenge Camp – I love working in small groups with kids, especially in a camp setting. I feel that the generosity behind this event reflects HAJET’s admirable values, as well as my own. I would love to have the opportunity to further assist my fellow newcomers, have even more of an impact on young Japanese students, and promote the values that I believe make HAJET such a great organization.

As for Pokemon… I’m going to err on the side of caution and assume there is a word limit. I would honestly feel bad for making someone sit and listen to me rant about how incredible of a franchise Pokemon has become, or how huge of an impact it has had on me since receiving Red Version on my 6th birthday. I am always down for a competitive battle, a randomized Nuzlocke run, or to sit down and explain what these things mean to more casual players. (No condescension intended.) I can’t swim very well, but I adore water type Pokemon; I always go with the water starter, and Lapras is my all-time favorite. (Other than Lugia, of course.) You want to chat? Battle? Trade? Co-op run? I’m up for it, whenever, wherever. #pokemonforlife (Are we allowed to use hashtags in this?)

Seriously though, it would be an absolute honor to represent my fellow first year JETs. I hope that the way my values align with those of HAJET, as well as my undying love of Pokemon, will show you that I am a strong and worthwhile candidate for this position. Thank you, and best of luck to the other applicants!


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MariTi Blaise Lovell

HAJET to me is not having my mom worry that I’ll be ok in this foreign country all on my own. HAJET is having a support group that reminds me I’m not alone in an isolated bubble. As a first year rep I want to help my other first year colleagues realize that even if they’ve visited Japan before through home stay or what or if they’re like me, who has never lived alone or left the country before. It doesn’t have to be terrifying because there are guaranteed to be people out there going through the same things as you, with similar experiences and to find them you just have to step outside your bubble.

And now to the serious question. I love Pokemon because Pokemon is the game that got me here. It’s the game that gave me the courage to say “Ight mom, I may still be a kid in your eyes but I’m packing my stuff! Me and my Pikachu are out yo! I’ll send some of my funds home when my backpack gets too heavy, but for the most part I’m off on an ambiguous adventure to Catch em All! Don’t touch my computer while I’m gone.” It was my first step to leaving home and going on a never-ending adventure. Who knew that tiny game screen would parallel so perfectly with my life, now all I need to do is go to Sapporo and capture me a Pikachu.

2015 Fall Meeting in Obihiro

Well here ya have it, folks. The leaves are starting to change in the mountains, the animals are packing up to tuck in for the cold, and the air is beginning to smell a little like fall. It’s time for HAJET’s annual Fall Meeting.

This year it’s going to be in Obihiro, the jewel of Tokachi and the home of the all-day butadon. Also, as it turns out, a great place for horse racing, onsen access, and views of the fall colors on the back of the Tokachi Range (if mountains can really be said to have a back).

All your favorite Fall Meeting friends are back: seminars, an enkai, a pub quiz, and of course who could forget everybody’s hero, the general meeting?

Check out the info packet for a more detailed breakdown of the events and for a schedule. We’re expecting to see you there!




INFO PACKET // English | Japanese


Where to Eat in Sapporo

It’s no secret that Sapporo has some of the best eating in Hokkaido. So we’ve assembled some of our favorites. If it’s 12:30 and everyone’s complaining that they’re getting hungry and you’re from like Enbetsu or something so how are you supposed to know where a good restaurant is in Sapporo — you know where to look. Here. Here is where you look.

Burgers ‘n Things


Specialty: American-style burgers and fries


Hours: Lunch 11:30~15:00 / Dinner 17:00~23:00

Street Address:

  • Kita 24 Location
    • 札幌市北区北23条西3丁目2-51 コープビル1F
  • Odori Location
    • 札幌市中央区北1条西8丁目2-9 丸二羽柴ビル1F
  • Asabu Location
    • 札幌市北区麻生町3丁目9-7鈴木ビル1F
Nut’s Café

Specialty: “world dining,” burgers highly recommended

Websites and Street Addresses:

Tony Roma’s

Specialty: American-style casual dining


Hours: 11:00 ~ 23:00

Street Address: 〒060-0001 北海道札幌市 中央区北1条西3丁目3番地 札幌MNビル1F


Organic +

Specialty: smoked tofu dishes, cheese ravioli

Website: Find on Facebook at オーガニックプラス – 北海道 札幌市 – 食品・レストラン

Hours: 17:30 ~ 24:00

Street Address: 〒060-0063 北海道札幌市中央区南3条西6-1-3ティアラ36ビル1F

Veggie no Ie

Specialty: pasta dishes, tapas


Hours: 17:00 ~ 1:00, (Last order 24:30)

Street Address: 〒001-0024 北海道札幌市北区北24条西2丁目1−13


Mohan Dish

Specialty: authentic curries, garlic naan


Hours: 11:00~15:00, 17:00~23:00

Street Address:

  • Kita 24 Location
    • 北海道札幌市北区北24条西4丁目2−10
  • Shiroishi Location
    • 札幌市白石区南郷通2丁目南10−6 13
  • Hiragishi Location
    • 札幌市豊平区平岸2条6丁目 2-16
Taj Mahal

Specialty: curries


Locations and Hours:

  • Sapporo Factory Location
    • 〒060-0032 北海道札幌市中央区北2条東4丁目 ソフトバンクサッポロファクトリ
    • 011-207-0765
    • Hours: 11:00 ~ 21:30
  • Nishioka Location
    • 〒062-0034 北海道札幌市豊平区西岡4条8丁目4−23
    • Hours: Mon, Wed-Fri 11:00 ~ 15:00, 17:30 ~ 21:30 ; Tue 17:30 ~ 21:30 ; Sat,
    • Sun, & Nat’l Holidays 11:00 ~ 21:30

Soup Curry


Specialty: Blue Herb-style soup with lamb


Hours: 11:30 ~ 21:30

Street Address: 〒060-0063 北海道札幌市中央区 南3条西1丁目12-19 エルムビル1階

Soup Curry Samurai

Specialty: mild coconut soup


Hours: 11:00 ~ 15:30, 17:00 ~ 21:00

Street Address: 〒062-0933 北海道札幌市豊平区平岸3条3丁目2−3


Specialty: vegetable add-ins


Hours: 11:30 ~ 15:30, 17:00 ~ 23:30

Street Address: 〒060-0063 北海道札幌市 中央区南3条西2丁目7

Soup Curry SAMA

Specialty: kakuni (simmered pork belly)


Hours: 11:30 ~ 15:30, 17:00 ~ 22:30

Street Addresses

  • Kita 18 Location
    • 札幌市北区北16条西3丁目21 1F
  • Teine Location
    • 札幌市手稲区前田5条10丁目5-10
  • Kaminopporo Location
    • 札幌市厚別区上野幌1条2丁目4-43



Specialty: spicy food, miso broth


Hours: Mon – Fri 12:00 ~ 4:00 ; Sat, Sun, and Holidays 12:00 ~ 24:00

Street Address: 札幌市中央区南六条西7丁目1-6 高砂ビル1F



Specialty: miso broth


Location and Hours:

  • Esta Location
    • 札幌市中央区北5条西2丁目エスタ10階 (Ramen Yokucho)
    • Hours: 11:00 ~ 22:00
  • Tanukikoji Location
    • 北海道札幌市中央区南3条5丁目20-2
    • Hours: 11:00 ~ 5:00 ; Holidays 11:00 ~ 1:00
Nibo Shin (にぼshin)

Specialty: sardine-based broth


Street Address: 北海道札幌市北区北23条西8丁目3−19



Specialty: high-quality lamb and veggies


Locations and Hours:

  • Original Location
    • 〒064-0805 北海道札幌市中央区南5条西4
    • Hours: 17:00 ~ 4:30
  • Second Location (だるま4.4店)
    • 札幌市中央区南4条西4丁目ラフィラ裏(旧ロビンソン)
    • Hours: 17:00 ~ 3:00
Hokkaido Beer Garden

Specialty: tabehodai plan with lamb, pork, and chicken, + veggies and rice

Website: Find on Facebook at 北海道ビール園 / HOKKAIDO BEER GARDEN

Hours: 17:00 ~ 24:00

Street Address: 札幌市中央区南3条西3丁目3番地floor 9



Specialty: “better than the Tokyo location”


Hours: 10:00 ~ 22:00

Street Address: 〒064-0804 北海道札幌市中央区南4条西3丁目9


Specialty: low prices, and an excellent view of downtown


Hours: 11:00 ~ 22:00

Location: Sapporo Station, Esta Building, 10 F

Specialty Restaurants

Emmy’s Kitchen

Specialty: Mexican

Website: Find on Facebook at Emmy’s Kitchen – 北海道 札幌市 – レストラン

Street Address: 〒001-0024  北海道札幌市北区北二十四条西4-2-2

Very Fancy

Specialty: Pancakes


Hours: 11:00 ~ 19:00

Street Address: 北海道 札幌市中央区 南8条西3-1-4 HOTEL RELIEF札幌すすきの 1F

Sosan no Yamucha

Specialty: Dim Sum (note: only at dinner time)


Hours: 11:00 ~ 22:00

Street Address: 札幌市中央区南1条西2丁目 IKEUCHI ZONE(旧アルタ)8階


Daimaru Buffet

Specialty: a little bit of everything


Hours: 11:00 ~ 16:30, 17:00 ~ 22:00

Location: Sapporo Station, Daimaru Building, 8F

Bakery Restaurant Saint Marc

Specialty: lunch set with all-you-can-eat pastry buffet


Hours: 8:00 ~ 22:30

Street Address: 〒064-0916  北海道札幌市中央区南16条西5-4-20

Where to Stay Overnight in Sapporo

Looking to visit Sapporo but need a place to stay? Our first suggestion is always to check out HAJET’s new Tatami Timeshare program. But! If that doesn’t work for you, you can always check out these places recommended by Hokkaido ALTs. From internet cafés to swank hotels, there should be something here that fits your plans. Just be sure to book early as needed!

Cafés Etc.

Dino’s Café

Info: Clean and comfortable internet café in the basement floor of Don Quixote. Showers can be rented for an extra fee.


Price: ~¥2,000 / night

Location: Tanukikoji Block 3

Street Address: 北海道札幌市中央区南2条西3丁目6-1


Honoka “Komichi”

Info: Ladies-only spa that offers overnight plans. Includes access to a small locker, communal bunk beds on the top floor, and full use of spa facilities.


Price: ~¥2,500 / night

Location: Tanukikoji Block 2

Street Address: 〒060-0063 北海道札幌市中央区南3条西2丁目15-5

Guest Houses

Guesthouse Yasube

Info: A popular guesthouse close to Nakajima Koen. Also doubles as a café with great coffee. Book early!


Price: ~¥3,000 / night

Location: near Nakajima Koen

Street Address: 〒064-0810 北海道札幌市中央区 南10条西7丁目6−6

Guest House Enishiya

Info: A guesthouse that’s great for extended stays. Has a cozy atmosphere and very friendly staff. Book early!


Price: ~¥3,000 / night

Location: near Nakajima Koen

Street Address: 〒064-0808 北海道札幌市中央区南8条西8丁目515



Business Hotel Norte

Info: Two hotels with good prices and facilities. Hotel Norte also offers parking spaces for a small fee.

Price: ~¥5,000 / night

Locations and Websites:

Nest Hotels in Sapporo

Info: On the upper end of the price spectrum, but are excellent hotels. Highly recommended for those who have the budget.

Price: ~¥10,000 – 15,000 / night

Locations and Websites:

Other Possibilities

NOTE: the following are not recommendations per se. But if you’re still looking for accommodations in Sapporo then this list might give you a place to start. We’ve had no member feedback on these locations so please be careful and do your own research! (And if you do stay somewhere and find out that it’s awesome, let us know and we’ll pass on the word!)




Location: near Sapporo Ekimae

Price: ~¥2,000 / night

Sapporo International Youth Hostel


Location: close to Gakuenmae station on the blue Toho line

Price: ~¥3,500 / night

NOTE: may or may not require a membership (which can be purchased on arrival)


Backpacker’s Hostel INO’s Place


Location: near Shiroishi station on the orange Tozai line

Price: ~¥3,000 / night

International Hostel Kaosan Sapporo


Location: near Susukino

Price: ~¥2,500 / night


Jimmyz Backpackers


Location: near Susukino

Price: ~¥3,000 / night

Sapporo Maruyama Guesthouse


Location: near Maruyama Koen

Price: ~¥3,000 / night


Time Peace Apartment


Location: near Susukino

Price: ~¥3,000 / night


Capsule Inn Sapporo


Location: near Susukino

Price: ~¥3,000 / night


Sapporo Inn NADA


Location: near Susukino

Price: ~¥3,500 / night


Sapporo Crescent Hotel


Location: near Sapporo Ekimae

Price: ~¥4,000 / night


Mark’s Inn


Location: near Nakajima Koen

Price: ~¥6,000 for a double room / night (price per room)


Wakka Wildflower Park

Located in the Northeast of Kitami City, in Tokoro-cho, is a large flower garden with approximately 300 kinds of flowers on a sandbar of 25 km in length between Lake Saroma and the Sea of Okhotsk. The best time to visit is in summer when most of the flowers are in bloom. Admission is free, but if you’re not keen on walking around the entire field you could pay to ride the horse-drawn carriage (around 1500 yen), or bring your bike, or rent one for about 600 yen, and cycle around the area. Other activities include bird watching, walking along the secluded beach near the ocean, and treasure hunting amongst the thousands of washed up objects. If you’d like to learn more about the park, visit the Nature Centre near the entrance to learn more about its history.

Opening Hours:
8:00 – 17:00        Late April – October 9th
8:00 – 18:00        June – August
Closed                 November 1st – Late April

Image courtesy of Rambling On My Hokkaido, here.

The Hokkaido Association for Japan Exchange and Teaching