OT:Home Away From Home

Last month, I learned that I was going to be sent off to Hokkaido for the next four months to manage a project to install information management system at the new international terminal at New Chitose Airport.  Initially I was not too thrilled with the idea of having to spend 4 month away from home and my family, but career-wise it lead to something quite significant for me.

So far, I have been here for about 2 and a half weeks, and Hokkaido turns out to be not such a bad place after all.   Yes, it’s cold, yes it snows a lot, yes the sidewalks are icy and and hard to walk on….not to mention that the apartment that I am living in for the duration of this project smells like a chain smoker’s ashtray, …or  the fact that the airport project that I am working seems to not be going anywhere at the moment.  Yes, despite all of that I am having a wonderful time here.

In all seriousness though,  the sleepy little town that I am living has all of the essentials (like the supermarket, drug store -just in case things get unbearable and I decide I want end it all, convenience stores -their must be about 15 of them near my apartment, and a whole host of restaurants to choose from) all within a 20 minute walking distance from my apartment, so it is quite convenient.  Many people think that Hokkaido is the coldest place in Japan, but on the contrary it’s the warmest place to be during the winter – a lot warmer than my house in Yokohama.  This is due to the fact that almost every building in Hokkaido has double entrances, double paned windows, well insulated walls, and the heaters turned up to 30 degrees Celsius.   I often have to strip down to a t-shirt and shorts because it so warm in my apartment. So in turn, this is ironically one of the warmest winters I’ve had since Guam.

Haruka and her sunglasses

Haruka and her second cousin having a drink

Having dinner in Tokyo

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