《Before living in Hokkaido…》
Hokkaido, the very north part of Japan has been highly ranked among Japanese where yearning for moving in surveys. It is comfortable to live especially in summer because humidity is quite low for its temperature, which main land (Honn-shu) residents are pleased to visit for summer exodus. However, as some Japanese advise, you should visit the place you long for living in the season with the most severe condition for each area. As for Hokkaido, it is in winter that you should visit in order to decide whether or not you would lead a life.
《The beginning of a winter morning》
You should check around your house if the snow has covered up the road you walk on. If you can’t see the road with full of snow, you need to clear the snow with a snow shovel. (yuki-kaki.) In that case, you should follow the rules that your landlord or neighborhoods have shown to you in advance; you are to move snow to the park or vacant ground etc…
You can purchase snow shovels or snow dumps at home centers such as homac http://www.homac.co.jp/shop_list/contents_type=26
or Joyful A.K. http://www.jak.co.jp/shop.html. On the other hand, some apartments hire an agent who clears snow with a snowplow (jo-setsu-ki.) So, you might choose those apartments in the process of contract.
(picture 1)Snow dumping with neighborhoods (picture 2)Abundant numbers of snow dumps (picture 3)A snowplow (jo-setsu-ki.)
After you get out of “snowy gate,” you will be “welcomed” by a traffic jam where buses are late more than 30 minutes in addition to rush hours in the morning. That is why I would strongly recommend you to choose the residence which is near a JR or subway station if your life is to be led strictly punctually. If you have a car to commute by, you are also to get your car ready.
First, you might run the car engine with a remote control (engine starter) from inside your house about 10 minutes before you ride on it; warm up your car in order not to damage the engine because of the temperature differences. You can purchase an engine starter at car maintenance shops such as Autobacks
or Yellow Hat.
Second, you might need to scrape the frosty snow with a scraper which you can also purchase at car maintenance shops, home centers mentioned above.
(picture 4)Scraping frosty snow off a car (picture 5)Convenient engine starter (picture 6)Slippery street in Sapporo
《For walking around》
You should prepare reliable “armor” also for yourself. The most important item for walking around is shoes. You will see spiked or spiked-like shoes at shoes shops during winters. Please bear in mind that the streets are much more slippery (they are like ice skating links) than you imagine especially in the crowded ones in like Sapporo (the prefectural of Hokkaido) or Asahikawa (the second largest city in Hokkaido.) You also need to prepare caps, gloves, mufflers, and sometimes disposable heating pads (called Kairo.)
Many residents in Hokkaido use the pads with adhesive tapes that will be attached to undershirts. You can purchase those pads at drug stores such as Tsuruha http://www.tsuruha.co.jp/shop/
or Sapporo drug stores.
(picture 7)Spiked shoes (picture 8)Spiked-like shoes (picture 9)Adhesive heating pad
Although there are a lot of things you have to do, you will share wonderful experiences with your family, friends, or neighborhoods in Hokkaido. We have figured out good ways to get along with “Fuyu-Shogunn” in cooperation with each other.
Please enjoy such kind of communications with residents, and the gate will be opened for you anytime.