It’s my second year living in a Sapporo, one of the major cities around the world where it snows the most! I would like to share some tips on how to survive in this Winter Country.
- dress like an onion, layers and layers of clothes. Sometimes I see locals in summer shoes strolling on snow and ice: dress like an onion or dress like a Parisian. But you don’t have this superpower
- keep your place warm, keep calm and don’t break any furniture when your electricity bill arrives in the end of the month (it will be about double or even triple than in summer)
- study snow: it is not just a random white matter. There are different types of these water crystals: stars, needles, dendrites, columns… Hokkaido is a perfect place to experience its variety first hand. Sometimes you will understand the difference when evil crystal needles land on your face
- get your shovel, you will probably engage in snow removal
- sunbath whenever possible. In Hokkaido, winter sunset is about 3pm, so daytime is incredibly short. Yet, there is the most beautiful sunshine in the morning. Whenever you can, enjoy sunbath. With all your clothes on, obviously
- go to izakaya with your friends, lover, alone. It’s a perfect place to warm up, but please note, room temperature may exceed 30°C
- enjoy white Christmas and New Year and… maybe Easter (luckily very rare!) plus winter festivals!
- eat ice cream: snow outside, snow inside. It’s Hokkaido’s tradition to eat ice cream or parfait in winter while enjoying watching snow outside
- in April don’t expect that winter is over, even if there is no more snow around a huge blizzard can come anytime. Develop a supernatural coping mechanism with neverending winter
- exit Winter Country for a while: go to Okinawa, Bali, Hong Kong or even Tokyo
Though it is long and sometimes not easy, winter in Hokkaido is unique and beautiful! And sometimes what matters the most is not where you are, but with whom you are.