Logo by Thomas Zimmerman Priority on Supporting Seniors
             Logo by Thomas Zimmerman                                          Priority on Supporting Seniors

Current News


January 9, 2021 The new WALKnTALK Club held their initial event yesterday starting from Maruyama Class with a round trip climb up and down the hill through Maruyama Park to Miyanomori.  There was fresh snow on the ground which made the climb more challenging and beautiful.  Ken Hartmann the Co-coordinator of the club and five other members were able to participate.  At the last minute three others who wanted to join in had to cancel, but regardless the club found its legs and marched on to get the club off on the right foot.  This is the first of many walks intended to connect HMSC members for improved mental and physical health when the pandemic is keeping too many people indoors.  There are already plans being made for other fun walks throughout the greater Sapporo area.  Please use the contact form if you are interested in being placed on the mailing list for this club.


Check out the Photo Gallery link at the top for some shots taken during the event.

December 3, 2020 The Executive Committee will hold a Zoom meeting to discuss details for putting on Zoom presentations beginning in February and on into 2021.  In addition, club activities via Zoom will continue and we will explore the possibility of starting new clubs.  The pandemic restrictions have resulted in a cautious approach in being able to conduct activities, however we will always look for ways to stay informed and support each other.  Do take care of yourselves and your family members as we look forward to 2021 being a much better year.

Due to the Coronavirus restrictions face-to-face presentations will not be possible for an extended period of time.  Therefore, we are currently planning the details for how to conduct online presentations using ZOOM.  At our recent Executive Committee Meeting, we decided to move forward and evaluate which of our presentations can be successfully put on using the ZOOM platform.  As decisions are made, members and guests of HMSC will be informed of the schedule via email.  Thank you for your patience.


Posted on November 3, 2020

August 3, 2020 Recently I read an interesting article from an American resource regarding the situation facing seniors in the years ahead due to the results of the pandemic.  I feel many of the points mentioned are applicable to those of us living in Japan, and therefore well worth reading.  Ken

Post Vaccine World for Seniors
The article highlights all of the areas which are predicted to change with regard to the lives of seniors are we continue to deal with the effects of the pandemic.
Adobe Acrobat document [75.9 KB]

June 30, 2020 The Executive Committee has been exploring the possibility of holding an outdoor picnic in order to have members get together for a social event.  However, the majority of members did not respond to the survey, which we feel is an indication that most feel it is too early to hold such a group event.  Those who answered the survey felt that we should wait until there are further signs that the pandemic is truly under control.  Most felt that the earliest to consider a picnic would be late August or in September. Therefore, we will not plan any such event prior to Obon.


February 3, 2020 Yesterday at the presentation on Forming New Clubs within HMSC several club ideas were discussed and the response appears to be favorable for a few of these ideas.  Club proposal forms need to be submitted to the Executive Committee for approval when the organizer of a club feels there is a sufficient number of members interested and ready to get together to pursue the objectives of the club.  One club idea is to form a discussion group of TED Talks, similar to the current Book Talk group, which would meet monthly.  Therefore, it was suggested to kick this club idea off with a presentation put on by HMSC for all members and guests using several TED Talks being presented by members of HMSC.  Ruth Suzuki has shown an interest in leading this club and organizing the presentation assisted by Teruo Ooi and Chihiro Shinomiya, who volunteered to present a talk at the proposed event.  More details will follow when they become known.  Other club ideas which show great promise are a Phtography club led by Jess King, a community support club perhaps called "HMSC Helping Hands" being established by T. J. Riggins, a Yoga Club outlined by Ken Hartmann and a Socialization Club to talk about anything and everything in either English or Japanese, perhaps while playing games at a predetermined location.  There were also suggestions for a walking club and a karaoke club. Stayed tuned for more details on the development of these potential clubs and the next presentation in the spring.

December 27, 2019 Beginning next year HMSC will develop CLUBS to promote regular interaction between members who wish to get together for a variety of activities of interest to them.  The first event to be held in 2020 will be on Sunday, February 2nd at the International Student Center, and the detailed plans can be read on the Events page. This will be a combination of our annual pot luck party, musical entertainment and potential club presentations.  Much thought is being given to how new clubs will form and the benefits to members and those wishing to join HMSC.


The HMSC Committee has developed three tentative documents, which provide guidelines for the establishment and operation of such clubs, a Club Proposal Form and some criteria to be considered by the Committee for evaluation of club proposals. Please take a look at the files below if you are interested in the formation of clubs and possible submission of an idea for a specific type of club.  The Club Proposal Form is a Word File, which you can download and complete with the details that might apply to your club suggestion.  The completed form can be sent to the Executive Committee Club Liaison (ECL) as stated in the instructions at the top of the form.  The club proposals will be reviewed by the Executive Committee.  The presentation schedule will be sent out to all past and present members of HMSC as they become known.  Do not hesitate to share your ideas with friends who may be interested in joining our community.  The Guidelines and Criteria for Evaluating Clubs in PDF format can be accessed below.  If anyone reading this would like to join the event on Feb. 2nd, please use the Contact form link in the top menu to let us know.


HMSC Guidelines for Establishment and Operation of Clubs
This one page document provides guidelines for potential club leaders and members to consider in light of the overall goals of HMSC.
Guidelines for Establishment and Operati[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [32.1 KB]
Club Proposal Form
This is a template to be used by those wishing to submit a Club Development idea for consideration by the HMSC Committee. The template tries to consider a variety of types of clubs by providing captions for specific areas that may pertain to a specific idea. Some fields can be skipped or filled in later. An explanation of each field in the form is provided on the second page. Feel free to fill in as much information as possible and then work with the Club Liaison and other Committee members to add details that become known later on. This form is intended to get the ball rolling on putting an idea into action.
Club Proposal Form - Rev.12.22.2019.docx
Microsoft Word document [14.6 KB]
Criteria for HMSC Club Evaluation
The items in this document provide insight into the evaluation process being considered by the HMSC Committee in order to establish club activities which will truly be of benefit to the members of our organization, thereby reflecting positively upon HMSC in the community.
Criteria for Club Evaluation - Rev.12.22[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [40.5 KB]

September 10, 2019 The Foreign Resident Survey Data - Results and Analysis is now available for review.  This is a biiingual document for which a variety of correlations have been calculated.  The survey and responses have been translated.  Comments recorded are not available in this document as those are still be translated into Japanese.  When available that PDF file will be posted to the website.  The Results and Correlations can be downloaded from the link that appears below.

Foreign Resident Response Analysis-Correlations of Results
There were 106 foreign residents throughout Hokkaido (primarily within the Sapporo area) who participated in the 27 question survey. Everything had to be translated into Japanese and we apologize for the delay in providing this important document. Individual comments posted in response to various questions in the survey are still being translated. We are sure there may be other correlations you would like to see, so do not hesitate to request such data to be analyzed by contacting HMSC.
Adobe Acrobat document [855.1 KB]

September 4, 2019 The Executive Committee met to discuss a full agenda of items relative to the continued effort to restructure and move HMSC in a direction to get all members participating in activities which will improve their lives and the lives of those they are helping. If you would like to join the effort to help HMSC play an important role in our community,  please contact <ken.hartmann@hokkaidomsc.org>.  More news will be posted shortly as to specific things we are trying to do to improve the lives of many, especially those most in need.

July 3, 2019 HMSC has decided to conduct a survey of Japanese Residents in Hokkaido in order to determine their interest in supporting foreign residents, especially those having difficulty communicating in Japanese.  The online survey link will be made available to as many Japanese residents as possible throughout Hokkaido.  The survey will stay open at least through the end of July.  The summary results will be analyzed and shared with those who complete the survey and the City of Sapporo through the Sapporo International Communication Plaza.  It is an online survey with questions displayed in both Japanese and English. Comments can be typed in either language.  Please click on the link below to access the survey. If you have any trouble accessing or completing the survey please use the contact form through HMSC. Your responses are only viewable by the head of HMSC, Ken Hartmann.  Your name and email address will not be shared with anyone. Thank you for your support.

Adobe Acrobat document [509.1 KB]

June 8, 2019 I am pleased to announce that HMSC is officially registered with L-Plaza and planning to register with the City of Sapporo through MEIKAN.  In addition, on June 5th the officers of HMSC met with Keiko Takeda who was voted in to join the Executive Committee in the position of Treasurer.  This allowed us to proceed immediately to the post office located at Odori Nishi 2 to open up a bank account for our non-profit group.  We were then able to implement the new HMSC Membership Policy, along with our Mission and Vision Statements below.


Click on membership policy to view the details that were approved unanimously on June 5, 2019.

Hokkaido Multinational Support Community

(a non-profit organization)


Mission Statement


HMSC is dedicated to improving the lives of Hokkaido residents, by providing support through informative bilingual presentations and promoting social interaction, especially for seniors and those who are foreign nationals.


Vision Statement


HMSC is dedicated to supporting both foreign and Japanese residents of Hokkaido with a primary focus on seniors. Often lacking sufficient language skills and having an inadequate understanding of Japanese culture, foreign senior residents require a constant flow of relevant information in English related to aging in Japan. In addition, because all seniors are vulnerable to isolation, they need regular opportunities for different types of social interaction with like-minded residents.


Short-term to long-term objectives include establishing a central meeting place in Sapporo where multinational residents can meet for a variety of purposes from formal presentations to informal social activities. Our mid-term goal would be to encourage the City of Sapporo to make similar facilities available in each ward, in order to support as many multinational residents as possible, as well as, work with local governments throughout Hokkaido in a joint effort to support all multinational residents in Hokkaido. The long-term objective is to develop a multinational residential care facility where English is a primary means of communication.


May 31, 2019 The months of April and May has seen significant changes in our Executive Committee as several key members had stepped down from office after serving for four years.  Due to personal reasons, turnover has been much greater than usual.  In fact, the original leader of the group, Michiyo Yoshida, resigned due to her primary work with GoFly Wheelchairs, which will move and expand this year.  We were fortunate to find a couple of new volunteers but still need several more to fill a variety of positions on the leadership team.  We are especially hoping to find Japanese volunteers in order to maintain an intercultural balance of ideas.  If you are interested in knowing what the leaders are doing, please contact Ken Hartmann who was elected to be the Chairperson of the new Executive Committee (EC).


The first order of business was to register HMSC with L-Plaza and the City of Sapporo through MEIKAN.  This will recognize HMSC as an independent multinational group serving all foreign residents, as well as Japanese residents, interested in helping foreign residents and each other, especially seniors.  Our group has many plans for reaching out to more people in need of assistance and seeks the help of those who truly wish to help others.  The EC is currently conducting interviews with those who are interested in joining the EC as a voting member or serving in an Ad hoc capacity.

March 31, 2018 -  The MSC Core committee met at the International Student Center in Toyohira to close out the fiscal year business and make plans for the new fiscal year.  Due to the fact that 6 of the 10 committee members were stepping down there was much discussion as to finding replacements.  Several members attended the meeting to observe and participate in the discussion.  Michiyo Yoshida, Stuart Walker, Ken Hartmann and Megumi Karasawa for the nucleus of the 2018 committee who will participate in 2019.  It was recognizd that we really need more Japanese participants on the committee and will make an effort to find some men to join the team as well.


HMSC plans to become independently registered with L-Plaza and the City of Sapporo.  This should take place in May.  Therefore, we hope to fill out the committee or what may become known as the Board of Directors, as soon as possible.


The other primary order of business was about the plans for the Survey of Foreign Residents and their desire for more support from Japanese residents and the City of Sapporo through the Sapporo International Communication Plaza.  The online survey link will be made available to as many foreign resients as possible throughout Hokkaido.  It will stay open through the end of May.  The results will be analyzed, translated and shared with the City of Sapporo in June.


We encourage all foreign residents of Hokkaido to participate and if you click on the following link you will be able to do so through the PDF poster with explanation.


The survey of foreign residents has been closed as of June 30, 2019.


December 23, 2018 - The Core Committee met at the Catholic Community Center to discuss plans for the Annual "Pot Luck Party" to be held on January 26 from 12:00 to 4:00pm to celebrate a successful 2018.  Details were discussed and when these are confirmed it will be announced.


Next we discussed the topic for the next presenation which is being scheduled for Sunday, March 3rd.  We need to confirm the availability of the most desirable facility. The theme will encompass a presentation on the visit to the Hana Group Home and Rehabilitation Care Facility run by the Kobe Friendship Center, the Kaigo Hoken system which everyone imust be enrolled in and a discussion of the types of facilities that seniors and the elderly would like to see made available for foreign residents in Sapporo.  More details will be coming out on this theme as they develop.


Finally, the Committee Members present decided to delay the implementation of the next Bus Tour being planned to tour several medical facilities for Day Care and extended periods of stay by those in need of such medical care support.


Oct 9, 2018 - Hokkaido Eastern Iburi earthquake Survey Results

In order to evaluate the effect of the September 6th earthquake upon the residents of Hokkaido, HMSC put together an online survey to collect data about details of the difficulties that residents faced, how they coped with the lack of resources, and 

what might be done to better prepare for a similar disaster in the future.

We would like to extend our thanks to the 75 people (including Japanese and non-Japanese) who responded. 

The survey was created by the HMSC and supported by "
Neighbors" along with the Hokkaido Insider and NHK News organization, in an effort to improve the government response to such disasters, and to have all residents (Japanese and non-Japanese) become aware of their responsibilities and the preparation required to minimize loss of life and property. Results of the survey are due to be broadcasted by NHK.

The PDF below summarizes the key results of the survey.


We have also received notice from the Sapporo International Communication Plaza Foundation that a new webpage has been created to provide English information about readiness and prevention strategies for disasters including earthquakes, floods, etc.




Hokkaido Eastern Iburi Earthquake Survey - Summary of Responses
Details of the responses to the survey produced by the HMSC, with support from Neighbors, Hokkaido Insider and NHK News organization, regarding the September 6th earthquake in Hokkaido.
Adobe Acrobat document [257.3 KB]

July 31, 2018 - Real Estate workshop full report and video link added

A detailed report about this workshop, including a link to a video from Neil Hartmann about the building of his eco-home in Jozankei, information about several key rules, regulations and procedures regarding real estate, and comments from participants, has been uploaded to our archives page.

July 21, 2018 - Emergency Medical Support Translation System video added

A video with English subtitles about the Kyu-Kyu Tra medical support translation system was embedded on our Archives page

(see "Emergency Medical Support System for International Residents & Tourists")

June 30, 2018 - MSC committee meeting

A meeting was held to review our key objectives, target audience, language use policy, and to discuss upcoming events.

June 2018 - Important link - List of medical institutions with foreign language support in Hokkaido

The following link takes you to a PDF file with a comprehensive list of ALL medical institutions throughout Hokkaido that can deal with foreign languages: 



The "Emergency Medical Support System for International Residents & Tourists" 

event on our Archives page, provides more information.

May 2018 - Topical news - Scientists discover how breast cancer hibernates

Stuart shared a link to an article about a recent major development in breast cancer research: https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng_afp?k=20180523037173a (Japanese translation available).

Also see our Archives page regarding a 2016 event we held about "living with cancer", where the same link has been added.

April 7, 2018 - Inheritance law document

Recent revisions to Inheritance law likely to protect spouses’ lives, interests were brought to our attention by Stuart's wife Keiko-san recently. The following is a Yomiuri Shinbun account:

Inheritance law revisions - account by the Yomiuri Shinbun
An account by the Yomiuri Shinbun regarding inheritance law revisions, published Feb 2018
Adobe Acrobat document [260.7 KB]

March 14, 2018 - MSC Core committee meeting

A meeting was held to wrap up the fiscal year, and discuss upcoming events and a tentative plan for the year ahead. Kathleen produced the following report about the meeting:

Report on items discussed at the Core Committee Meeting
Summary of the annual treasurer's report, plans for the fiscal year beginning April 2018, and ongoing projects.
Adobe Acrobat document [118.8 KB]

February 2018 - Website Update

I have updated the website to add a variety of links received from other senior help organizations in the States.  These are all well-written articles providing a wealth of informaton for seniors and how to care for them.  Please visit the Resources page to view these and bookmark those of particular interest to you.

November 19, 2017 - Slight name change for our HMSC Group

At the Core Committee meeting held immediately after the presentation on November 18th the committee members decided to change the name of the group from Hokkaido Multinational Senior Community to Hokkaido Multinational Support Community.  This change was made in order to focus on supporting all foreign residents regardless of age, even though we will still give priority to supporting seniors who need the support the most.  We welcome younger people to enter our group and to share in the decisions that affect the lives of foreign residents now and in the future.  Our banner has also been modified to reflect the new name. 

Report on the items discussed at the Core Committee Meeting
Summary of future program topics being considered for presentation during 2018.
Adobe Acrobat document [111.1 KB]
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