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Arigato Gozaimashita!

Today I visited HUE’s Hakodate campus. It’s smaller than Sapporo, but the team made it a packed day for getting a sense of the work they do here and how they connect to Japanese education overall. After a campus tour, I sat in on two classes, both in Japanese. The first featured student presentations on their visits to a nearby affiliated school. The students presented on the school’s approach to special education, including how the school interprets ministry guidelines and tries to foster…

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Sushi and Convenience Stores

Nearly two weeks into my trip and I’ve finally had “real sushi.” It’s not that sushi is hard to find or that there aren’t a lot of sushi restaurants – but as you might have noticed, if something is easy to find, I usually miss it. But today I succeeded! There’s a sushi restaurant a stone’s throw away from my hotel, in the middle of the morning fish market. It was one of the pricier meals I’ve had in Japan - $30 for 12 pieces of sushi – but each piece was hand made to-order less than 6 feet…

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HUE on the World Stage

Hakodate is a port city on the southeast side of Hokkaido, home to a few hundred thousand people and a large star fort. It’s had a long history as a port city trading with the rest of the world, and is the gate to the north for Japan and much of its tourism industry. It’s unsurprising, then, that Hakodate and Halifax are sister cities: they’ve got a lot in common. Goryokaku Park is a great parallel to Citadel Hill. Both started as military forts to defend the city from invaders (though…

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Climbing Mount Hakodate

Today started with an early flight out of Okadama airport. It’s the smallest airport so far on this trip – 1 gate, 1 plane, and not much more. We were airborne for only 40 minutes before landing in Hakodate, on the southern edge of Hokkaido, with Hakodate bay on the west and the Tsugaru Straits on the east. Before checking in I went down to the beach on the east end of the city. The water’s too strong to swim in (and probably not that clean), but it’s a nice view and the breeze brings the…

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Parks, Museums, and Rain

To wrap up my time in Sapporo I visited some of the sights around town that the folks at HUE said were worth a visit. Like Tokyo, Sapporo has a TV tower in the middle of the city – this time overlooking Odori Park. Odori runs several blocks above one of the cities busier subway stations, and is filled with sculptures and small monuments that represent parts of Sapporo’s history. It’s also not too far from the old clock tower – what one of our hosts called “one of the Top 3 disappointing…

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Today we visited HUE-Sapporo’s two Affiliated Schools – a junior high school (grades 7-9) and an elementary school (grades 1-6). We started with the junior high, visiting with Dr. Oga and the Vice Director of HUE’s international office, as well as 4 exchange students (1 from Taiwan, 1 from Alaska, and 2 from Russia). The Affiliated Schools are very similar to Werklund’s Partner Research Schools – they work with the university on research projects, and often collaborate on opportunities like…

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