Sapporo is the capital of the northernmost island of Japan, Hokkaido. It boasts beautiful green, mountainous scenery in the warmer months and is a snow-lover’s paradise in the winter. Hokkaido is extremely popular with avid (Japanese and expat) skiers and snowboarders due to its high levels of snowfall, but this extreme weather can be difficult for newly arrived expatriates in Sapporo to get used to. Especially if you don’t speak Japanese, having a network of global-minded expats living in Sapporo or other parts of Japan with which to connect and direct queries to is both useful and comforting, and that where InterNations comes into play. You can use the forums and private messages system to ask advice from people in the same situation as you and, hopefully, get some useful advice on how to survive the cold! Sapporo is known for its cuisine, which includes jingisukan (Genghis Khan) lamb barbecues, the original miso ramen and chocolate/sweets, which is why Sapporo is known as “The Sweets Kingdom”. Using InterNations as a platform for communication, you are, for example, able to share tips and restaurant recommendations with other expats in Sapporo.
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Moving to Sapporo may be daunting for expats, especially if they don’t speak Japanese. Although Japanese people are usually extremely helpful on a day-to-day basis, it can be difficult for expatriates to source housing in Sapporo as private landlords in Japan will often only rent to Japanese citizens. Advice on how to find suitable housing is extremely important when searching for accommodation in Japan, which is where InterNations can assist you. Many expats have been in the same situation as you before and InterNations offers a place to pool resources and information that has been gained through experience. Japanese housing is not very well insulated and central gas heating is not a standard commodity due to the chance of earthquakes. Connecting with expatriates already living in Sapporo is a good way to get local information about how to stay comfortable in the winter months. Although Sapporo isn’t connected to mainland Japan by road or rail, there is an international airport so expats missing home are well connected to the rest of the world.
The Japanese workforce is not particularly internationally focused and business is usually conducted solely in Japanese, which may make working in Sapporo a somewhat isolating experience for many an expatriate. Joining InterNations gives members access to our Expat Magazine which provides guidance from experts on how to handle general expat problems, including culture shock. This is an invaluable resource when working in a new environment and adjusting to a new life abroad. InterNations doesn’t only offer support for new expats, however, it allows members the opportunity to network with other expats living in Sapporo and organize socializing events with people who share similar interests. Most expatriates working in Sapporo are employed as English language teachers. There are plenty of other prospects for expats in Sapporo if they speak fluent Japanese, but knowing where to find these opportunities can be difficult. Networking is essential in a situation such as this and InterNations is a handy forum for you to get in touch with the people who are best placed to help you.