The following are questions some have asked us. We thought you might be interested and this would help you learn more about us and Japan.
1. What kind of house do you have in Japan? We rent a two-story house in Asahikawa (ah-sah-hee-kah-wah), Japan. Asahikawa means "Morning River." Several rivers flow through the city of 340,000 people. Our yard is very small. We live several blocks from a park. We used to have a Japanese-style when we lived in Karuizawa, Japan. Our house is more Western style in Asahikawa, but still has some definite Japanese features, like two rice-straw-mat-floor rooms, the bathing area, front entry, etc. We always take our shoes off in the entry area at home and church.
2. What is Christmas like? Christmas is not a holiday in Japan. Therefore, most people are working. Japan's big holiday is New Year's; there is a lot of worship at the Buddhist temples or Shinto shrines. Christmas is getting more popular but the focus not on the true meaning of Christmas.
3. What kind of food do you eat in Japan? We enjoy Japanese dishes like ramen, katsu (breaded pork cutlet), sushi, soba, and more. We eat Japanese food with chopsticks. Curry rice (a Japanese version) is also popular here and we enjoy that as well. We also eat American-style foods.
4. What sorts of animals are in Japan? There are about 188 types of wild animals on Japan. Because the climate in the north is quite different from that in the south, the wildlife found in each region is also different. Our island of Hokkaido has the Hokkaido Brown Bear, Red Fox (Kitsune), Raccoon Dog (Tanuki), Heron (Aosagi), Japanese Crane (Tancho), Hokkaido Squirrel, Ezo Sable, and the domesticated Ainu Dog. Animals in Japan
5. Are you happy when you're in Japan? Yes!
6. What is your weather like in Asahikawa, Japan? The seasons here are the same as yours (winter is from December-March, etc.). In the winter, Asahikawa gets a lot of snow, about 20 feet a year. Asahikawa is in a valley, surrounded by mountains. There are ski slopes, but we haven't gone skiing. The temperatures are anywhere from the teens to 30s during the day down to teens to 0 or below at night during the winter. The fall and spring are like Wisconsin's and Michigan's. Summer can be hot. Asahikawa is very far north in Japan. Tokyo is about 600 miles south of Asahikawa. Therefore, the weather in Japan (because it is a long country) varies greatly.
7. What sort of games do kids play? What are the traditional Japanese sports? What are popular names in Japan? What do Japanese eat? Tell me about Japanese schools.
8. What is Japan like? Japan has four main islands and many little islands. Most of the little islands do not have people living on them. We live on Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido (ho-kah-ee-doh). We used to live on the island of Honshu (hohn-shoo), which is the same island that Tokyo is on. We used to live about three hours from Tokyo; now we live 600 miles by plane from Tokyo. Japan is about the size of California. 80% of the land is mountainous. That means that 127 million people live in a land area about half the size of Wisconsin. (The number of people living in the United States is about 319 million.) Some areas are very crowded. In Japan, we drive on the left side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right side of the vehicle.
Dean and Sue Zemke