Brittany Houtz

北海道大学社会学部。 札幌の姉妹都市、アメリカポートランドにあるポートランド州立大学在籍中。

Brittany is an Applied Linguistics student studying Japanese and Social Science at Hokkaido University in order to complete her Japanese Language Minor Degree. Her home university is Portland State University, located in the heart of Sapporo's sister city: Portland, Oregon, USA.

Mini Recital: Piano and Violin Duets and Solos

ミニ・リサイタル: ピアノとバイオリン・デュエットとソロ



Brittany Houtz wrote this on Mar 2

Today I went to a small piano and violin concert inside the Migishi Kotaro Museum of Arts in Sapporo. My friends (from Alaska and Germany) and I were invited by our friend Kawamura Takuya, the violinist. The piano was played by Naganuma Erika.




This intimate concert consisted of classical duets and solos by these two talented, young musicians, and took place inside a beautifully lit room filled with colorful paintings. After the concert, we toured the museum, which is definitely deserving of a visit for its own sake.

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(Note: The photos of the performance were taken and kindly given to me by Kawamura’s father.)

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Nakajima Park!




Brittany Houtz wrote this on Mar 2

Last weekend, I was finally able to go to Nakajima Park for the first time! It was really easy to get there from Sapporo Station.



Just three stops South is Nakajimakoen Station, and the exit leads right into the entrance to the park.


The snow from the day before had mostly melted, but the bare trees and frozen lake and streams were absolutely gorgeous!



There were many young men playing on the shallow parts of the frozen lake. We got some hot drinks from a vending machine and explored for a while.




There are lots of beautiful paths to wander along in the park, and some nice grassy areas for playing with pets, having a picnic, or just relaxing.



There was also a lot of interesting architecture to be seen from the park, framed by a beautiful sunset.


We were also able to see many interesting sculptures in the park, and even a wisteria tunnel, which looked really amazing covered in bare, twisted vines, but is probably even more beautiful in the spring when the fragrant flowers are in bloom.




Some other interesting sights in this area are a beautiful concert hall and an old schoolhouse and playground.


This park seems like a great place to visit in any season. It could be a great date spot, a place to hang out with your friends or family, or a place to enjoy some relaxing time alone with a book or with your pet.


I am planning to go back later this week with some friends to see the park covered in snow. I’m really looking forward to seeing a whole new Nakajima Park.




After heading back to Sapporo Station, we decided to explore the food shops in the basement of the Esta building.


Lots of special items were being prepared for the holidays, such as very large and elaborate bento boxes, regional sweets, and other edible gifts.

Here, one can find some really amazing deals on bento boxes that the vendors want to sell quickly.


I am really enjoying seeing the way these places change throughout the seasons.


I hope to see some amazing Osechi boxes (elaborate boxed meals for New Years celebration) soon!

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Asahi Beer Factory




Brittany Houtz wrote this on Jan 30

Last week, I went on a trip to Hokkaido’s Asahi Beer Factory.
As someone who really enjoys beer, I was excited for the tour.




I have seen small-scale home-brewing before, but I’ve never seen such a large-scale operation. At the beginning, we walked into a nicely decorated lobby and received some instruction from the staff. Then, we proceeded up the escalators to begin our tour.




There were many diagrams and charts on the wall, and videos depicting the way beer is stored at the factory. We were able to see the outdoor storage containers through a window; there were six of them visible from one window, and they were nearly as large as a water tower. Really amazing!




Next, we were brought into a room where we could see bins filled with barley and hops, which are two of the main ingredients in beer (besides yeast and water).




There were descriptions of the production of the materials, and we were able to touch and smell the ingredients. The next room had diagrams and videos describing the fermentation process, wherein the yeast converts sugar into carbon dioxide and alcohol.


After this, we entered the actual factory area. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to take any photos here. First, we got to see how kegs are filled with Asahi beer. This was done in a special way in order to reduce foam buildup, and also to make sure the keg is filled completely.


The next area of the factory showed the way cans are built, filled, boxed, and put into shipment crates. This was all done in a huge room full of machinery, including some robot arms. The mechanisms which built and filled the cans were really mesmerizing to watch as the cans flew down the line. The tour guide told us that these machines fill 1500 cans per minute!




After seeing the boxing and crating process, we proceeded into a cafeteria-like area.
Here, we were given three free beers each, with a choice of regular Asahi beer, “Extra-Cold” Asahi beer, and Asahi Black beer. We were also given some free snacks, and we all sat together sampling the beer.
Overall, this was a great experience! I would recommend a visit to Asahi Beer Factory for anyone who enjoys beer or has an interest in brewing or factory machinery.

Asahi Beer Hokkaido Factory

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Sapporo Universities International Festival (SUIF)




Brittany Houtz wrote this on Jan 23

Last weekend, I went to the Sapporo Universities International Festival (SUIF) at Hokkaido University. The International Student Center building on campus was the main place where various booths were organized and run by international students, representing various countries from around the world, including Finland, England, China, Japan, Russia, Korea, Nepal, Brazil, and many others. Each classroom in the building contained one or more different booths.





Since the students organized the booths themselves, each one had different things to offer. For example, there were games, contests, quizzes, lots of different foods, drinks and sweets, photos, music, special cultural artifacts and traditional clothing, workshops to learn how to write your name in different languages, and at the England booth, there was even a photo booth where you could dress up as a wizard and have your photo taken! And, of course, there was the opportunity to have a conversation and have your questions answered by representatives from each country. It was a lot of fun to explore the different rooms and try different things. Some booths had items for sale as well.




At other buildings on campus, there were additional festival events. There was a cooking workshop, children’s’ culture education workshops, and an International Café where drinks and sweets from different countries were served. There were also some music and dancing events, as well as an international fashion show. The fashion show was intended to showcase traditional clothing from all over the world. The participants were all students wearing clothing from their own home countries. It was really amazing to see these elaborate ensembles in-person. There were informative announcements from other volunteers regarding the countries and clothing, and music from each country played while the clothing was exhibited.





Overall, this was a very interesting experience! Most of my international student friends were involved in the festival, but as there was no American booth, I was able to visit it as a guest. I really enjoyed learning more about everyone’s countries of origin.

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Munich Christmas Market and Sapporo TV Tower




Brittany Houtz wrote this on Dec 23

Last weekend, I went to the Munich Christmas Market in Odori Park.This event features many stalls with vendors serving a variety of Japanese and German food, drinks, and sweets, as well as Christmas decorations, toys, gifts, crafts, and more. My friend from Germany explained many of the traditional items as our group explored the market with cups of hot wine in hand.




We tried a traditional toasted almond candy, and some members of our group also had German sausages and beer. There is a lot to see at this market, as the area is also surrounded by beautiful holiday lights and decorations. As this event will continue until December 24th, there is still plenty of time to see it. There are lots of interesting and beautiful goods available here that would make great holiday gifts.



After we had seen the market, we headed up to the Sapporo TV Tower. December is a great time to visit the tower, as all of the holiday lights in Odori Park can be seen from the observation deck, besides the already stunning nighttime cityscape.

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I felt right at home in the Columbia and North Face shops.




Brittany Houtz wrote this on Nov 28

Last weekend, I went to Sapporo Factory for the first time in search of winter clothing. As it turns out, Sapporo Factory is a very modern-looking mall which boasts several outdoors and sportswear shops. As a former resident of Portland, OR, USA, I felt right at home in the Columbia and North Face shops.





For quality winter wear, there are probably few places with a better selection. This mall also features many dining options, which we explored before leaving. The central atrium area was absolutely beautiful as it was being decorated for the winter holidays.



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