Saturday, October 14, 2006

A Pioneer in Hokkaido, Japan

Sally Kobayashi Giving PresentationA friend, Sally Kobayashi, gave a talk as a representative of the American Consulate about American "pioneers" in Hokkaido. I was one of the seven people chosen!

One reason she chose me is that I've been the only non-Japanese in Sapporo Academy Chorus for nearly 14 years, and I recently passed the audition for the Sapporo Symphony Chorus, again being the only non-Japanese.

She also talked about my doing hypnotherapy. As far as I know, I'm the only practicing English-speaking hypnotist in all of Hokkaido. Interestingly enough, although I intended to provide a service for those from English-speaking countries, nearly half of my clients have been Japanese, mainly seeking relief from stress!

Sally may have mentioned my forming SOAR, Sapporo Organization for Addiction Recovery, the only English-speaking support group for those recovering from alcohol or drug abuse in Sapporo or Hokkaido. Although we don't meet weekly, the few people who have come to a meeting stay in touch. In fact, a couple of us see each other at work. I don't know any other alcoholics in Sapporo who have "come out" about their addiction. Since Sapporo has such a small non-Japanese community, it takes courage. The main thing is that hope to reach others who may be seeking support.

Other pioneers included some people I know, one who has been a foster mom for more children than I can count; another who published The Couch Potato's Guide to Japan, the first book in English about TV; and another who started Project Santa, a volunteer organization that raises donations for child welfare homes.

Sally herself is a pioneer, who's written a book entitled Creating the Sapporo Snow Festival Sculptures. You can see Sally in the photo where she's speaking at the Edwin Dun Memorial Museum in Makomanai. She's considering writing a book about American pioneers in Sapporo and Hokkaido, of which there are many more.

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