タグ別アーカイブ: Sapporo

Introducing our new website!

Check out NELS’ brand new updated and easy to use website here!

You’ll be able to:

  • find out about our lessons and courses,
  • read lots of testimonials from our students,
  • see information about our upcoming events
  • see photos and videos from the school
  • contact us to get more information

and more!


Running my first half marathon

I don’t often write about my personal life on my blog, but today I thought I would. I have just completed my first half marathon today. I am now feeling really exhausted but happy. Actually, I don’t know how people run twice that distance! At school I was a sprinter (a 100-200m runner), so this is quite an achievement for me.

I was lucky too today, as I met a couple of my students, and actually ran most of the course with one of them. He is a veteran runner, having completed many marathons and even 100km ultra marathons, and he really gave me motivation, as well as telling me our pace. A friend also came to cheer me on at the half way point, and that really gave me a boost. I have to say as the race went on, it got harder and harder, and the last two kilometres, when I split from my running partner, were really hard – the last kilometre felt like five! However, I was really pleased with my time and position, considering it was my first race and the fact that there is still a sprinter inside me at heart! I managed to cross the finish line without throwing up (!), got my prizes of a much needed energy drink, a certificate, and hot sweet bean and rice cake soup, and then met up with my students again to celebrate our achievements.

I then had to summon up the energy to get myself home. Me being me, had cycled the 10km from my home, so now had to do the reverse. Having not much left in reserve I changed gear to go up a little slope, and what happened? My chain came off and got jammed!! Oh no! It actually took me a good 20 minutes or so to get the damn thing back on. I had images of having to push it home, and how that was going to happen, I wasn’t sure! Anyway, I did it, and with very oily hands, but now a happy heart and the wind behind me I made it home for a lovely hot bath…and a beer! Am now refuelling with a pizza-man (steamed bun with pizza filling inside). I’m not sure they would be on a nutritionist’s list of post running energy sources, but they are going down a treat!

So, having cycled, got a bit rained on, and run, does that count as a triathlon?!! No? What about having had a bath afterwards?!ImageImage




BBQ fun

NELS held a BBQ this weekend in Sapporo. About fifteen people came and we enjoyed eating, drinking, chatting, and even a magic show!

Anyone is welcome to join our NELS’ social events. If you want to have fun, meet people and have the opportunity to practice your English, please join our next event.

ImageBritish style sausages in buns with tomato ketchup. Yummy!


ImageLook at all this delicious food!



‘And for my next trick…’

For more photos look here.

Sport and culture in Sapporo = Spocul

I love sport and am interested in Japanese culture so when I heard about an event called the International Sports and Culture Festival, I decided to check it out.

Sure enough, there were lots of sports, and lots of culture. Being extremely shy in such situations, however, I played a passive role, merely observing what were basically kids and their parents having a go at all the activities on offer.

Here were some of my personal highlights of the event:

A lone old guitarist who hadn’t quite managed to pull in the crowds. Poor chap. He was actually quite good.


A poor stuffed toy, or should that be a poor guy stuffed inside the poor stuffed toy?


A duo who should perhaps come to NELS to understand that their name ‘my&jennie’ is not 100% grammatically correct! Their music was pretty cool though.


Anyone for an…ear massage?


How about some kinball?


Another of the half-dozen or so people stuffed inside a creature, such is this country’s love and obsession with them!


Erm…I was not sure how to react when I saw this chap. Apparently it’s about an algae with an erection…obviously!

Sports and culture event at Tsudome (3)

To see more about the event for yourself, click here.


June, 25 degrees, and…snow?!

If you live here in Sapporo, then the answer is ‘Yes!’

Although the blossom has finally come, and there are beautiful flowers everywhere here now, up on the mountains which surround the city it still makes me smile to be able to see the last remnants of my winter playground.


I’m sure in other parts of Hokkaido there is still even more left, but here it’s all but gone. Instead, it is filling up the rivers which are in full flow. So, now I have to wait another 6 months before I can enjoy my playtime again. I mustn’t grumble though as it is nice to be able to wear less clothing and enjoy the sun before it gets too hot.

A rude awakening

A rude awakening is just what it says it is – when you are woken up by some thing rude. In my case, for the past few months it has been because of the demolition of a building next to mine. It begins at 8am 6 days a week, and yes, maybe it is good as an alarm clock to get me out of bed(!), but I would prefer something a little more soothing! There has also been demolition and construction of another building just a hundred metres away for over 6 months, so I feel like I have been living next to a building site for quite a while already.

In a way, I am interested in how they have been pulling down the buildings, using several diggers  to literally tear them to pieces and then separating the rubble from the metal. They have also had to deal with working in all the snow and in such cold temperatures. They must be hardy guys. However, it’s such a drone that it has not been very pleasant being at home with the constant noise pollution.

Anyway, recently a significant development has been made as the scaffolding and huge drapes that shroud the site have started to come down, and now, wow, I am amazed at how much more light I receive! I am almost blinded by it when I leave my flat, actually!


I’m looking forward to when they are down to ground level and the debris has all been cleared….however, I fear that I may then have to endure another period of more construction and once again my precious light taken away as a new building is erected. But what can I do? Move?!


Freezing cold, very windy, and poor visi … 続きを読む

An exciting new blog for you to read!

I am happy to introduce to you Yoko’s blog. Yoko teaches at NELS and helps make all the important decisions. Her blog is written in both English and Japanese, and is about NELS, English language study (such as hints on how to remember new vocabulary), and even marathon running!

Please add it to your blog list: http://ameblo.jp/sapporonels/

Winter exercise

Sometimes it is easy to blog, when you know what you want to blog about; today, I don’t have any bright ideas, so I thought I would ask you. What is interesting for you to read? Do you like looking at photos? What topics are you interested in? English language, about NELS, about me(!)?

Well, let me tell you a little about me today. In the winter I find it hard to get exercise here in Sapporo, Japan. Like many people, I make excuses about why I don’t go to the gym, or swimming pool, or run etc. (I think the huge quantities of snow and sub-zero temperatures are quite good excuses, but still, I do see people running.) Sometimes, I run up and down the 14 flights of stairs in the block of flats where I live. I listen to Japanese language podcasts as I do so, and I also have a pedometer on my ipod to count my steps, but it’s so cold out there in winter.

Anyway, recently I was thinking about a friend of mine who uses Wii to exercise. I’ve had a go and it’s a really good and fun way to burn calories. And then I thought of when I spent 3 months on board Peace Boat, a cruise ship. In that relatively tiny space I managed to do tonnes of (=lots of) exercise. I would go to the gym before breakfast, and often also gave my own exercise classes there. ( I used to be a PE teacher before I began teaching English.) I would also go to various other exercise classes on board, one of which was the video of “Billy’s Bootcamp”. This video would be played on a big screen and 50 or so people would gather, and punch, kick and sweat away as the ship pitched and rolled. (It is so much more entertaining exercising on board a ship than on dry land!) So, I had a look on Youtube and managed to find lots of exercise videos which I am now doing in my living room. It’s great as it’s so convenient. I don’t have to take time to get anywhere, like going to a pool, or get cold, like going outside, and, it’s completely free! Bonus! So thanks to Billy and his mates, I now have at least some sort of exercise regime going on.

Ideally, of course, I would be skiing and snowboarding all day every day, but unfortunately that won’t pay my bills. I love teaching, but…!!! Well, bring on the NELS ski trip to Niseko!!!

International Events – Speaking English outside the classroom

English students sometimes say that they can’t find the opportunities to speak English outside of the classroom, especially when they are learning in their own country. One thing to do, is to find out if there are any international events in your area. Here in Sapporo, there are a few people who organise such gatherings, and I try to go along to them if I can. I find that people there really want to meet new people, and if they want to speak English, it is a great way for them to do so, when us English speakers show up.

In Sapporo, there is an organisation called FIFO  – Furtherment of International Friendship Organisation http://www.fifojapan.org/ which organises parties every month in bars and clubs in Susukino. About 50 or more people go and there is a wide mix of ages.

Mika Furasawa also holds events, often at Hokudai, and she makes food and curry, and then everyone contributes their own food and drink.

Last night I went to another similar ‘pot luck’ (bring your own food and drink) party held near Sapporo Station、organised by Miyabi Miyazawa. The organisers made sure that we spoke to lots of different people, and we each gave a self introduction, in English or Japanese, and we also played charades, a miming gestures guessing game.

Both of these events were passed onto me through Facebook, so see if you can find any yourself.

I also know that at the International Communication Plaza in Sapporo they have English Speaking sessions where anyone can go along with the purpose of speaking English together. Check it out.

So, my point is, if you want to practice your English speaking outside the classroom, there ARE ways to do so. Good luck in your English Speaking hunt!