Claire Froelich

クレア フレリク(アメリカ)

Claire Froelich (America)
Hometown: Corvallis, Oregon. Claire participated in a summer homestay in Yame-shi, Fukuoka-ken in 2007, then completed a year abroad at Sophia University in Tokyo in 2012. She then moved to Sapporo in 2013. Her hobbies include hiking, rollerblading, cooking, walking around town, and old-man jokes. Her favorite foods and drinks are oden, eringi mushrooms, Mexican food, her mother's home cooking, and Sapporo Beer.

Maruyama Zoo thriving through winter




Claire Froelich wrote this on Apr 10

Its wintertime, but we humans have no need to hibernate. With that in mind, I decided to go check in on how the animals were faring the winter at Sapporo’s famous Maruyama Zoo.

In spite of the cloudless blue skies, the piles and piles of snow reminded me we’re still in the dead of winter. That being said, the geese didn’t seem even a bit bothered by the cold as they went about their free stroll through the snow. They were tough enough to chase around a little boy about twice their size.



Unfortunately my friend and I weren’t as tough as the geese and spent the day jumping from one indoor exhibit to the next. I usually get the heebie-jeebies in the reptile room, but this time, to avoid stepping back out into the cold, we basked in the borrowed warmth of the snakes’ heat lamps and took our time getting to know our scaled buddies.


While of course there were a handful of animals in hibernation, wintertime Maruyama Zoo was surprisingly active. Making a visit is also a great chance to take in the surrounding beauty of the snow blanketed mountains, so why not check it out yourself?


Maruyama Zoo

Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Summer:February 1 – October 31), 9:00-16:00 (Winter: November 1 – January 31) *Closed December 29, 30, and 31
Location: Miyagaoka 3-1, Chuo-ku, Sapporo
TEL: 011-621-1426

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There’s something for everyone at the Sapporo Factory




Claire Froelich wrote this on Mar 7

Though I’d already be living in Sapporo for nearly half a year, I was embarrassed to admit that I still hadn’t made my way out to this city’s famous Sapporo Factory. So when a friend invited me to go to a goldfish themed event held there under the title “Art Aquarium,” I gave out an enthusiastic, “let’s go!” Thus began my maiden voyage the Sapporo Factory.


If you take a look inside you might think to yourself that “factory” is a bit of a misnomer. But standing there in the spacious and open building you really get a sense of the place’s factory past. My friend and I had a difficult time picking a restaurant with so many Japanese and ethnic cuisine to choose from, but we finally decided on Chinese. After filling up it was on to the goldfish.


Having no information beforehand, the term “goldfish event” brought to mind one giant tank packed with those cheap goldfish you’ll find at the pet store. But upon arriving at entrance I realized that the real deal was quite a bit more artistic than I had imagined. Stepping inside everything went pitch black, save for the black lights radiating from the tanks embedded in the wall, and took on the shape of a corn maze.


Walking along, I saw goldfish after goldfish of varieties I’ve never before seen in my life. There were bug-eyed goldfish, and goldfish appearing to sport a poofy poodle haircut. The kaleidoscope tank, traditional Japanese paper screen shaped tank and the giant fish bowl housing 1000 goldfish sent the exhibit way beyond my expectations.

I later learned that this “Art Aquarium” is a traveling exhibit in Japan. Naturally, Northern Metropolis Sapporo was selected as a host city.


The Sapporo Factory’s homepage reveals that these types of interesting events are always going on there. My trip to see the goldfish only opened my eyes to a small portion of this large facility, so I feel like I need to go back for other events and exhibits in order to see it all. Colorado sweets company Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is specially selling their candied apples and other American treats at the Factory until March 31, so I think I’ve found my excuse to go back!

(Note: the Art Aquarium Exhibit in Sapporo ended January 19, 2014)



Sapporo Factory

Hours: Shopping 10:00–20:00, Restaurants 11:00–22:00
Location: Kita 2-jo Higashi 4-chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo
TEL: 011-207-5000

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Sapporo’s Unique Comfort




Claire Froelich wrote this on Jan 15

This year I decided to hail in the New Year by running away from snow laden Hokkaido and escape to the far off warm beaches of Kume-jima Island in Okinawa. I spent a luxurious three days on the pure white sand beach sipping at delicious Okinawan Orion Beer while basking in the sun in my swimsuit and gazing out over the sparkling waves. That being said, when it came time to pack my bags and board my flight to New Chitose Airport I was still excitedly looking forward to returning to Sapporo. Obviously if you try sunbathing in a swimsuit during the Sapporo winter you’re more likely to get frostbite than a nice tan, but there’s still a type of comfort found in Sapporo that Okinawa will never have. That comfort is the untoppable sensation of escaping the freezing cold and ducking into a warm place no matter where you are. The sudden temperature change is a type of immediate satisfaction you won’t feel on the eight hour journey to Kume-jima Island.

Knowing you can escape the cold at any moment allows a lot of freedom to explore the city, even in the winter season. I’m the kind of person who enjoys exploring town on my own and as such it’s my never ending mission to find new places to cozy up with a book and thaw my toes out. Most often times these places end up being cafes. While I manage to keep finding new cozy cafes every week, there’s one I return to again and again: the stylish World Book Cafe next to the TV Tower in the center of town. At the entrance to the cafe you’ll find a mini-library of travel magazines and unique novels (mostly in Japanese, but the hip magazines have stunning photographs), from which you pick and choose to your delight. While I would be beyond satisfied just having these books to look through, the cafe also boasts a pretty fancy menu. In the adorable handmade menu booklets you will find many pasta dishes, rice dishes, seasonal desserts, a plethora of cocktails and much more, setting it apart from the average coffee house. Particularly unique is the nuts and fruits mini bar. These go great with the hot wine, so be sure to warm yourself up! This cafe is open late, so if it isn’t too crowded you can stay a long time and soak up the cozy atmosphere.

Seasonal dessert with a side of free book at World Book Cafe


If not by word of mouth through my friends, I discover these kinds of cafes on the “Tabelog” website. You can tailor your search by region or restaurant type making it an extremely convenient tool. I recommend you do a search yourself and find your own winter refuge!

For those who prefer walking around, I recommend instead Sapporo’s many underground walkways. With many of entrances around town, you’re never far from escaping the frigid outdoors and warming up while cruising the underground stores and restaurants.

While the snow may be piled up past your head outside, it’s exactly this state that makes Sapporo’s many convenient refuges so precious. While sipping at hot wine in a cafe and gazing out the window at shivering pedestrians you will come to understand the true comfort of Sapporo in the winter. If that doesn’t do it for you, grab an Orion beer down in the Okinawa shops that dot the warm underground walkways. Be fearless in the face of Sapporo winter!

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If you think curling’s a piece of cake, step up to the ice!

カーリング 簡単と思えば体験しましょう!



Claire Froelich wrote this on Dec 20

Every morning while I’m brushing my teeth I hear the Winter Sochi Olympic theme “Ima, saki hokoru hana-tachi yo” blaring from NHK News, reminding me that the Olympic season will soon be upon us. Watching the daily countdown gets me more and more excited.


I remember the 2012 Summer Olympics in London well – I was also in Japan at the time, watching the judo games from the flat-screen TV of a small Jamaican restaurant in Harajuku with some Russian, Korean, Bulgarian, and Japanese friends while we cheered on various countries. I surveyed the scene above the rim of my exotic rum drink and thought to myself, “Could it get any more international than this?”


Indeed, there’s nothing better than watching the Olympics abroad. And I think this year will be even more interesting because coming to Sapporo has meant coming face to face with winter sports for the first time.


Snow is so rare back home that schools shut down with just two centimeters of snowfall. It doesn’t get all that cold, either. So it goes without saying that my experience with winter sports was mostly limited to televised events. Sapporo, known for the Snow Festival and runny noses, held the 1972 Winter Olympics for which many sports facilities were built and are still in use today. Visiting these facilities inspires a strong yearning to try out winter sports. I’m not sure whether that yearning is a contagious bug caught off of other athletes, or simply the result of desperately searching for ways to battle the glum of a long and harsh winter, but since coming to Sapporo I’ve already had the chance to try out both ice hockey and curling for the first time. While I played street hockey back in the US, I instantly realized you need a whole different skill set on ice while clumsily slipping to-and-fro at Tsukisamu Gymnasium.




But what most surprised me was the sport I least understood the point of until recently: curling. “When you see it on TV you think to yourself, ‘What’s the big deal, I could join the Olympic team after 10 minutes of practice,’” my curling instructor at the Hokkaido Bank Curling Stadium in Tsukisamu pointed out what I was secretly thinking to myself. But upon my first step onto the ice in the specialty curling-use shoe, I immediately slid out of control. It was a strange sensation sliding around in a slippery shoe, completely different from ice skating. After mustering up some balance and giving the stone my best throw I watched it slide a mere three meters in front of me – nowhere close the fifty or so meter target. I thought to myself, “It’s harder than it looks!” Plus, curling is beyond a physical game –one needs the mental strategy of a chess player to play the game well. From my curling experience I’ve gained a lot of respect for curling athletes and their sport.




How about giving it a go? While trying out some sports like ski jumping on a whim are likely to leave you hospitalized, you can conveniently try curling at the Hokkaido Bank Curling Stadium where all of the equipment is cheaply available for rent. In my experience what you see on television is completely different from the actual thing, so why not give it a try before watching the Sochi Olympics this upcoming February?



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