The information below provides summary reports with web links provided to files with supporting details about the topic and PowerPoint slides used by some speakers during their presentation.
In general, PowerPoint slides are in English and Japanese.
If you find any information or links that are out-of-date, please contact the webmaster so that it can be corrected. New information will be added from time to time, and members will be notified of such updates/links.
Events are listed in order starting with the most recent event for that year. If there is a topic you are looking for please search using Windows CTRL+F (find word).
July 22nd, Sunday 14:00 - 17:00
Nine people attended our second Book Exchange on July 22nd, with the theme of "The Future". Various books were recommended and there were many interesting discussions.
We decided to meet again on Sunday, August 19, from 3 pm. The theme will be "Sharing". See our events page for details.
Introductory Workshop on Buying Property and Building a Home
June 17th, Sunday 13:30 - 16:30
Presenter: Tomoo Sono; licensed realtor in Japan, bilingual (raised in New York)
Venue: Sapporo International Communication Plaza, MN Building, 3F
Tomoo's biodata can be found below, alongside a brief report about the event. A full report can be found underneath as a file download. The full report includes a link to a video from Neil Hartmann about the process of building his eco-home in Jozankei.
Mr. Sono covered the basics for expats looking to buy property and build a house in Japan in a well-rounded presentation. There was a good discussion with the audience members about the various difficulties that foreign residents might face.
The audience shared their own experiences, and Mr. Sono patiently answered queries from every aspect and every level, including those about rental property.
We believe that this workshop should have helped the participants feel more comfortable with the overall process of buying, renting or building, and to feel like they can move forward with their personal projects.
Through the workshop, we obtained a good idea of specfic issues that people are wanting help with. We discussed the possibility of planning a follow up workshop to deal with some of these specifics.
May 19th, Saturday 14:00 - 17:00
Seven people came for our first "Book Exchange" on May 19, including two new people.
Each person took about five minutes to introduce a favorite book, followed by questions and discussion. We spent the last hour getting to know each other a little better and chatting. A few people brought other books to swap.
It was decided to have our next Book Exchange on Sunday, July 22, 2 - 5 pm at Biidama Cafe, realizing that it is difficult for some people to come on a Saturday.
The theme will be "The Future." This is a broad theme including both fiction and nonfiction, as well as science fiction.
Emergency Medical Support System for International Residents & Tourists
April 21st, Saturday 14:00 - 16:00
Venue: Sapporo Public Health Center, WEST 19, 2F Conference Room
Main Speaker: Dr. Koichi Yano, Director General, Public Health Office, City of Sapporo
The purpose of this meeting was to introduce the #7119 system which has been implemented in Sapporo to support those who require medical consultation. This multilanguage system was started more than a year ago and includes support for several languages besides English. A major concern is when foreign residents and tourists require assistance at night or on weekends / holidays, but are unable to communicate well in Japanese.
The Sapporo Medical Association operates the Emergency Relief Center at WEST 19, a facility established to provide assistance to foreigners during those times. Emergency medical staff e.g. ambulance personnel can also communicate with non-Japanese speakers by utilizing a Multilanguage Voice Translation device, which helps them respond to those foreigners in need of emergency medical treatment.
Second Speaker: Ms. Saori Kitama, Sapporo English Medical Interpreter (SEMI)
Ms. Kitama introduced "SEMI", an organization comprised of volunteer interpreters willing to help foreigners who are unable to communicate in Japanese when medical attention is required.
Her short presentation was followed by representatives of the Fire Department, who demonstrated the use of the medical consultation and Voice Translation systems using volunteers from the audience.
Kyu-kyu (First-Aid) VoiceTra - in Japanese, with English subtitles
Multinational Support Community Potluck Party Celebration
January 27th, Saturday 12:30 - 16:00 (Committee set up is from 12:00 noon.)
Venue: Clark Memorial Student Center, Hokkaido University - Kita 8, Nishi 8
HMSC 2017年 祝賀ポットラックパーティ
場所：北海道大学 クラーク会館 北8条西8丁目
Our annual celebration of a successful year was held and 35 members and guests showed up in support of the group. With lots of snow on the ground outside many people brought homemade dishes to share with others. The food was plentiful and delicious, the entertainment included the first comedy routine which illustrated intercultural miscommuniation. It was not really a "manzai" performance, but the audience seemed to thoroughly enjoy the humor provided by Ken and his wife Junko.
Managing your money for retirement
November 18th, Saturday 13:30 - 16:00 (free for everyone)
Theme: The presenter outlined the concept of his method of carefully evaluating and managing his assets in order to provide a secure retirement, which will satisfy the family needs until the end of life.
Format: Audience members were encouraged to participate actively asking each other and the presenter questions, and making comments from their own knowledge and experience.
Presenter's main points: (view more detailed PDF summary file below)
1. Create an Excel spreadsheet of all income and expenses to calculate how much cash you have to work with.
2. Save and invest as much as you can of your monthly cash available. Avoid unnecessary personal expenses.
3. Where to park assets? He prefers working through the U.S. stock market, but other countries are OK.
5. Allocate/diversify your investments by type in accordance with your risk level to protect assets.
6. Know your risk tolerance level and invest accordingly. Be ready to get out of a bad investment before it's too late, by seeting a loss threshhold level for action.
7. Many financial advisors are looking to make sales and do not have good analytical backgrounds. Therefore, trust yourself, but there are some good low cost services out there.
8. Manage taxes byconsidering the ramifications of any change in the tax code and adjust to protect profits.
9. Plan for the unexpected, as bad things out of your control can happen, which could have an affect on your savings.
10. Document all your assets for your legal partner (important legal stuff) - in case something happens to you.
The objective of his presentation was to have everyone be able to create a basic outline of their personal financial plan based upon the considerations he emphasized. Scroll down for some recommended publications and copies of handouts he provided.
Reported by Ken Hartmann
RetireJapan: A guide and blog about saving and investment for retirement in Japan:
Stansberry Research Review – Scam or Legit? - independent review of Stansfield Research Service
Volunteer Opportunites for Foreign Nationals
September 30th, Saturday 13:30 - 16:30
There were several speakers both Japanese and foreign nationals sharing their volunteer organizations, objectives and opportunities for expats to participate as a volunteer. This was a joint presentation with the Sapporo International Communication Plaza which has begun a project to act as a liaison with the international community to encourage foreign nationals to volunteer, especially senior citizens. They explained their project in detail and links to the handouts provided at the meeting will be posted as soon as possible. They will begin registering foreign volunteers and utilizing them in test projects as early as October 25th.
The Go!Fly!Wheelchairs NPO described how they utilize volunteers to deliver used wheelchairs to those in need around the world. One of the foreign volunteers explained what is involved on the part of someone who agrees to deliver a wheelchair as she has done. We also heard from Father Manfred about the history of his House Friendship in Sapporo, which assists young people by providing a place to live in a safe environment. Then one of our MSC committee members highlighted a number of organizations which utilize foreign residents as volunteers. There are many opportunities to help others in Sapporo and those will be added as soon as the details are finalized.
Please contact: ken.hartmann[at]hokkaidomsc.org, if you are interested in joining the mailing list being set up for those foreign nationals who are interested in volunteer opportunities.
The Sapporo International Communication Plaza Foundation has completed the bilingual information documents required in order to begin the processing of those wishing to volunteer for the International Volunteer Network Volunteer project. It is recommended that you print out a copy of the registration documents and bring them to the Communications Plaza when you come for your interview. All three documents can be found at the links below. The form can be completed in English.
If you have any questions or wish to make an appointment for an interview, please contact either Yukiko Sakai or Miyuki Baba at the Sapporo International Communication Plaza using the following address: <email@example.com>.
August 5th, Saturday 12:00 noon - 16:00
Nakajima Park, an area behind the Hokkaido Museum of Literature.
Date/Time: May 13, 2017 (Saturday) Time: 1:00-4:00pm (FREE)
Speaker: Rie Toyama, international lawyer practicing in Sapporo
Introduction of Rie Toyama (Google Translation of Web Page into English)
HMSC ミーティング 遺言書について
場所： 札幌国際プラザ 中央区北1条西３丁目 MNビル3階
This meeting was attended by 25 people with a little more than half being expats who have been living in Hokkaido for quite a while. The presentation began with a one hour explanation of the Japanese law regarding wills and the right to inheritance by heirs of the deceased. There were six basic conditions for the Law of Succession which were diagrammed and described by the presenter. Everyone received a printed handout of the diagrams and an outline of the points that would be covered, so that notes could be taken. Several participants in the audience contributed their notes and the details based upon these notes can be viewed in the Excel and PDF files by clicking on the respective links below.
The second half of the presentation had the presenter answering specific questions of interest from the audience. Those questions and answers have been transcribed and will also be made available through a link here once they are reviewed for accuracy by the presenter. The most important point for the long-term expats present was to learn that they must research the inheritance laws of their home country/state as those take precedence over Japanese statues unless there are specific Conflict of Law and Remission Clauses established between the two countries. In that case, it is possible that Japanese law will be followed with regard to the inheritance and taxes.
"The Expat’s Guide to Growing Old in Japan"
At this event, we also learned that one of our members in the audience had just released a new book. Please read the details posted on our "Links" page.
Date: January 21st, Saturday 13:00 ~ (Committee set up from 12:30pm)
Venue: Clark Memorial Student Center, Hokkaido University - Kita 8, Nishi 8
(South end of the Campus)
Once again we were fortunate to be able to use the International party room with kitchen at the Clark Center. Many delicious food dishes were shared as members and guests ate to their hearts' content. Conversation was plentiful and it only quieted down when the new quartet of Ayako Masuzawa on violin, Rob McGuire on guitar, Kaoru Nakamura on keyboard and Junko Kawabata Hartmann the vocalist were performing. I hope to be able to add a video of their performance. In addition, we closed out the party with a variety of folk dances performed by those present who were willing to give it a try under the leadership and training of Katherine Fujii. The only business mixed in was to ask those present to write down their ideas for future topics that they would like the group to consider, and we received a number of excellent ideas, which will be discussed at the next Committee meeting.
Hokkaido Multinational Senior Community (HMSC)
癌と共に生きる （バイリンガル パネルディスカッション）
土曜日 13:30-16:00 （開場1時 入場無料）
Reports on the 'Living with Cancer' Meeting
On November 19, MSC sponsored a panel and discussion event entitled Living with Cancer. Two participants, recent cancer surgery patients, described their ordeal. The spouse of one speaker added details from his perspective, while the final participant supported her sister as she slowly succumbed to cancer. It was a moving, inspiring event full of examples of courage and heroic efforts to cope with this deadly foe. Audience members were able to join each of the speakers at separate tables to discuss questions they had after listening to all the presentations. They came away with not only admiration and respect for the participants but also a renewed determination to live life to the fullest on a day-by-day basis.
Here are some of the comments that were submitted on the evaluation questionnaire.
Small group discussion allow us to talk more.
Very educational & inspiring.
Group discussion with dividing the group was very good & interesting.
It was better & more valuable than I expected.
Let's have more such personal topics in the future.
Reported by Stuart Walker
What would any professor/lecturer do if they were to lose their voice after having their vocal cords removed? Would they withdraw from their teaching profession as a disabled person? Never has Dr. Osamu Joh, an emeritus professor of architecture of Hokkaido University, thought so. Instead, he has been developing a special IT system which combines Power Point slides and vocalized narration using PC software that converts the text fed to the computer to create a vocal narration. When he talks, he uses an electric talking device as shown in the photo, but this isn't sufficient as the voice is not clear enough. Above all, using the machine over an extended period of time is very tiring. He has been improving this technology and next year he is scheduled to give his lectures once again, on structural mechanism at JICA and Hokkaido University. He served and taught in Thailand for two years as a senior JICA volunteer. He was also one of the first TEDx Sapporo guest speakers in 2011. There are many such teachers and lecturers who have lost their voices due to cancer and other causes. When his methodology is adopted those people will not have to leave their teaching profession. It makes one wonder what it means to be disabled. This is quite promising and encouraging for such cancer survivors.
Reported by Yoko Otake
Essential Hanna-Somatics Exercises
What is Somatics?
Dr. Hirasawa invites inquiries and comments about Somatics, and her contact details appear on the Association for Hanna Somatic Education link below.
Summer Picnic for MSC Members and Guests
August 6th, Saturday 12:00 noon - 16:00
(Come and go as your schedule permits.)
Nakajima Park, an area behind the Hokkaido Museum of Literature. http://www.h-bungaku.or.jp/
About 25-30 members and guests came to picnic, socialize and do some physical exercise. People brought plenty of food to share along with their preferred drink. Some adults and children played Frisbee and with some hula hoops, but most enjoyed chatting and eating.
View photos from this event in the Photo Gallery.
日時：5月28日(土) 13:30-16:30 (途中休憩、茶菓あり) 演題:認知症,特にアルツハイマー病を学びませんか 演者:相馬 仁(札幌医科大学,医療人育成センター） 英語講演+途中に日本語で要約を入れる予定 場所:札幌市中央区南1西17,札幌医科大学東棟１階, 南１講義室(添付図, #9のビルディング,１階南側) 入場無料
May 28th, Sat. 13:30-16:30 (includes break)
"Understanding Alzheimer's and Dementia"
Dr. Hitoshi Sohma, Professor and Director
(Sapporo Medical Univ. Center for Medical Educ.)
Sapporo Medical University (S1W17) East Bldg. 1F
Entrance is free for everyone.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD), everybody knows this disease name, which is the most prevalent of dementia types. The main symptoms involve developing cognitive decline due to neuronal (brain) cell death, which is an irreversible event. Worldwide, the number of dementia patients increases with aging, and currently more than 30% of elderly over 85 years old are reported to be diagnosed with dementia. In 2014, the average life expectancy for Japanese men reached 80.5 years of age, while for women it is 86.8. These values are the highest reported in the world and accordingly the number of dementia patients is growing faster in Japan. Trials of treatment for dementia have not been successful so far. Under the current situation, preventive action for avoiding dementia and early diagnosis are particularly emphasized. Through this meeting, the participants’ deeper understanding of dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease, and awareness of preventive action are to be addressed. This meeting consists of three parts: 1) watching a DVD video clip on dementia by a distinguished US psychiatrist Dr. Gary Small; 2) bilingual PowerPoint presentation on dementia research, including the speaker’s diagnostic testing AD research of plasma biomarkers; 3) bilingual question and answer, and discussion of important issues.
アルツハイマー病、誰でも知っているこの病気は認知症の中で最も多い認知症のタイプです。主な症状は、非可逆的に起こる神経細胞死によるところの進行性の認知機能低下です。認知症患者数は年齢とともに増え、現在85歳以上の30％を超える高齢者が認知症と診断されていることが世界的にわかっています。2014年の日本人の平均寿命は、男性が80.5歳、女性が86.8歳で、この数字は世界一です。したがって、日本では認知症患者が急速に増えていきます。認知症の治療の試みはあるものの、上手くいっているといえるものはありません。この状況において、認知症の予防と早期発見が殊に強調されています。今回のMSCの会では、認知症、特にアルツハイマー病のより深い理解と予防活動の認識を、参加される方が持っていただくことを考えています。この会は次の3部構成にしています：1) アメリカの著名な精神科医の講演から抜粋したDVDビデオを皆さんで観た後、2) アルツハイマー病診断研究を行っている演者による、パワーポイントスライドを用いた認知症に関する短い講演、そして3) 質疑応答と全体討論を行います。日本語と英語と両方を入れる予定です。
Dr. Sohma began the presentation by sharing an edited version of a speech delivered by Dr. Gary Small which is accessible on YouTube. I recommend that you watch the full version of his speech because you can select the "Close Captioned" option and read the English for those who might feel the spoken English is too fast. However, do keep in mind that the captions are not perfect as they are machine generated. In his talk, Dr. Sohma basically shared abut half of this speech at the meeting. There is a PowerPoint file which corresponds to the slides that Dr. Sohma chose from the video clip by Dr. Small. These were prepared bilingually to help the Japanese audience to be able to follow the rapid spoken English.
Dr. Small's speech can be viewed by clicking on the link below. You can expand it to full screen view.
A new study finds that a key protein implicated in Alzheimer’s may normally protect the brain from infection
© 2016 Scientific American, a division of Nature America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Early Warning Signs of Dementia & Alzheimer's
Preparing Your Home for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s: A Caregiver’s Guide
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2013;1307:82–88.
Rosenkranz M, Davidson RJ, MacCoon D, et al.
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 2013;27(1):174–184.
日時：３月５日（土）１０：００ - １２：３０
Date & Time: March 5th, Saturday 10:00-12:30 (free)
Presentation: Minimalism: "How to organize belongings for a comfortable senior life"
Speaker: Mr. Kenji Kawajiri (Chair, 'Kataduke Jozu')
Japanese with English translation
Place: Sapporo International Communication Plaza 3F
Many seniors have been living in the same place for a long time and collected lots of things over the years. Rooms, closets, shelves have become stuffed with items that are no longer being used. Sometimes the clutter gets in the way, making it difficult to find what one is looking for. The speaker shared his ideas on how to simplify one's life by following an organized minimalistic approach to changing your lifestyle.
The MSC group began the year with a pot luck social event to celebrate the success of their first calendar year of operation during 2015. The purpose was to get to know each other better on a personal level and share perspectives on our future.
It was a huge success with fantastic food dishes from a variety of countries, entertainment special special guest artist Koichi Murai who dazzled us with his sumie brushes) and live musical performances by some of the members. We were very fortunate to secure a great facility at the Clark Center on the Hokudai campus.
I hope to add some photos and/or a video clip of some highlights of this fantastic event which served to bond the group membership as now we start to organize more events of interest to everyone in the year ahead.
Please check out the "Photo Gallery" link at the top of the page to view some of the activities and people who enjoyed the New Year Party.
ファシリテーター: 西原桂子氏（シニアアドバイザー 高齢者住宅情報センター）
Date & Time: November 21, 2015, Saturday 10:00-17:00
Presentation: Senior Housing/Care Facility Bus Tour
Facilitator: Ms. Keiko Nishihara, Senior Advisor of Senior Housing Information Center
22 members visited 3 Senior Housing/Care facilities in order to evaluate the variety of facilities and the services they offer, including their ability to provide care for English speaking residents. Please read the three page report which can be accessed at the link below.
Date & Time: October 24th, Saturday 10:00-12:30 (free)
Presentation: Housing for Seniors and Long-term Care Insurance Benefits
Speaker: Ms. Keiko Nishihara, Senior Advisor of Senior Housing Information Center
Place: Conference room, Sapporo International Communication Plaza 3F
On October 24th the Multinational Senior Community held a presentation on Senior Housing Facilities and Long-term Care Insurance benefits. The meeting was very informative, especially for the non-Japanese members present. A summary of key points presented with important links to the PowerPoint Presentation file and detailed information on the government insurance system known as Kaigo Hoken can be downloaded using the links below.
Elder Action a senior community support group in the United States recommends the following article.
Assisted Living Facilities: Tips for Choosing a Facility and Making the Transition
Date & Time: August 29th, Saturday 10:00-12:00 (free)
Presentation: World Café (Exchange of Ideas)
Facilitator: Kaori Okuda, Hokkaido Iryo Daigaku
Place: L Plaza (The room is 工芸室 (Kougeishitsu) 2F
Speakers: All participants organized into multinational groups of six for an exchange of ideas regarding the following questions.
What are some good things you are doing for yourself now?
(How has your life improved?)
What is your biggest concern regarding the future?
The items mentioned were recorded for each group after lively discussion and the responses shared with all participants in the room leading to further comments and discussion. Groups were reorganized and the second question was dealt with in a similar manner. One purpose of this activity was to establish some themes for future meetings that would address concerns of the members. I also led to a real bonding of the membership as everyone opened their hearts when sharing their feelings about serious topics of concern. This meeting led to a stronger group.
For a detailed report on the meeting, which includes a list of the items mentioned by the participants, please access the PDF file through the following link.
講演: 清水直美（元JICA ボランティア看護師）
Date & Time: June 27th, Saturday 10:00-12:00 (free)
Presentation: Hospital Procedures and Experiences (bilingual)
Speaker: Naomi Shimizu a nurse and Former JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) Volunteer, explained the procedures related to hospitalization and non-Japanese members shared their hospital experiences.
Place: Conference room, Sapporo International Communication Plaza 3F
Ms. Shimizu’s comprehensive PowerPoint slides, which covered all aspects of interaction with Japanese Hospitalization Procedures, can be viewed by visiting the PDF link below
The presentation and discussion covered a vast number of topics which have been written up in significant detail with excellent links provided that lead to more detailed information on the web. The summary report on the Japanese Healthcare System - Hospitalization Procedures in PDF format can be found at the following link.
We were also fortunate to have a representative of the Hokkaido Extended Association introduce the Elderly Healthcare System for those who have reached 75 years of age. He later provided an excellent report on all the features of the system. Access link below.
The Kaigo hoken – Long-term Care Insurance System was briefly explained and an excellent file contains an outline of the key aspects of that system which supports independence of the elderly.
題目: 日本の年金制度 (英語)
講演: 奥田かおり氏 (北海道医療大学)
Date & Time: April 18, Saturday 14:00-16:30 (free)
Presentation: The Pension System in Japan (in English)
Speaker: Ms. Kaori Okuda (Health & Sciences University of Hokkaido)
Place: Conference room, Sapporo International Plaza 3F
We were fortunate to have Ms. Kaori Okuda share her knowledge of the pension system with us in English. She presented on the legal requirements, upcoming changes, along with the pros and cons of joining various systems. Ms. Okuda recommends that everyone refer to the Japan Pension Service (http://www.nenkin.go.jp/international/index.html) and the Private School Pension well organized English websites (http://www.shigakukyosai.jp/en/about/about02.html) for more detailed information in English. Answers to some questions asked can differ from country to country, according to International Agreements, and they are explained on the website. Agreements with other countries are also being worked out all the time.
Pension offices in Sapporo, in general, cannot cope adequately with non-Japanese speaking inquirers, therefore foreigners are encouraged to come with a native Japanese speaker. There are four offices in Sapporo. Locations of all offices are indicated on the website.
There was some discussion on Lump-sum Withdrawal Payments (exclusively for non-Japanese citizens) who pay into the Pension System while living and working in Japan, and then decide to leave the country. You have two years to file for the payment. Details are available in a variety of languages here:
題目： 税金についての概要 (英語)
講演: 滝谷和隆氏 (公認会計士)
Date & Time: February 7, Saturday 14:00-16:30 (free)
Presentation: Taxation in General (in English)
Speaker: Mr. Kazutaka Takiya (Certified and Registered Public Tax Accountant)
Place: Sapporo L-Plaza 2F meeting room
There are a large variety of situations with respect to business taxation, so Mr. Takiya spoke about the Japanese tax system in general and fielded a variety of questions for about one hour. There was much discussion among the foreign attendees regarding personal experiences in dealing with the tax system. There were about 25 participants present divided evenly between Japanese and non-Japanese. A handout was provided for those wishing to take part in individual consultations at the International Communication Plaza being held on January 20th and 21st.
This was the very first presentation held by the group so unfortunately there was minimal recording of the discussion or collecting of handouts. Therefore, it might be useful to do a Google search on "Filing a Tax Return in Japan". One site that seems to be fairly good at explaining the income tax system and other forms of taxation in Japan is here: