Let’s get real. Life as a foreigner in Japan can get tough. We would know — we’re foreigners in Japan. Who’d have thunk. But for that very reason, we’ve started compiling various documents and schemes to try and make it a little bit easier.
Start by checking out the various Hokkaido Facebook groups. This list isn’t exhaustive, but we’re trying to get every even remotely relevant Facebook group on here, and it’s likely that this list will be updated. There’s a group for basically anything you could be into, so you know you’re in good company.
Another great resources for people new to Hokkaido is HAJET’s Hokkaido Newcomers’ Guide. It’s basically a full get-ya-ready for new ALTs in Hokkaido, but it has so much information about what Hokkaido has to offer that I’ll bet even a 20-year foreigner here will find something they didn’t know.
If you want to go a little deeper, go take a peek at the old ‘Hokkaido Life’ archives. These go back to 2008, when HAJET consolidated a number of articles from Polestar and the old Hokkaido Newcomers’ Guide. Some of the info can be a bit outdated, but most of it is still workable today.
Need a roof over your head while traveling in Japan? Assistant Language Teachers all over Japan have signed up for Tatami Timeshare, which you can read about over at the ‘What We Do’ page. Through this program, you can sort out lodging at ALT housing all over the country. Most ALTs already have bedding anyway, so in most cases you don’t even need to pack a sleeping bag. You can find the Tatami Timeshare map here.
The HAJET Bookstore also owns more books that you’d be able to–or frankly, want to–shake a stick at; and all of them are for sale. Literally over 1000 books. I mean, some for-profit bookstores don’t even have that much. You can check out a full list of those books here.
And of course, what resource list would be complete without a section devoted to our very own fifth-biggest-city-in-Japan, Sapporo? You can find a list of places to stay, as well as a list of places to eat, which might come in handy when everyone’s standing around in the winter cold going, “Where should we eat?” “Look, I’m from Enbetsu, I have no idea.”