Cool! Shiribeshi

We have invited people who have immigrated from abroad and are now living in the Shiribeshi region of central Hokkaido to contribute columns from a variety of perspectives. The columns appear in Japanese in the morning edition of the Hokkaido Shimbun newspaper every other Monday. https://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/series/s_cool_otaru
In this section, the columns are posted in the author's original text.

Special feature

【Column】 All roads lead to Makkari

Makkari is where we call home.

Like many people living in Hokkaido, we emigrated from elsewhere.
And like many Hokkaido residents, we absolutely LOVE living here!

However, arriving in Makkari was by pure chance.
So how did we come to be here?

My wife and I both lived in Singapore for close to a decade. I had moved from Hong Kong, where I originally worked for Swire Properties before taking a leap of faith by joining the world of finance, resulting in 12yrs as a currency derivatives broker.

After an incredible decade of enjoying the ‘good life’ in Singapore, and after traveling the region as much as we possibly could, we both felt it was time for a new chapter in our lives.

We wanted a complete change!
A new country, a new climate, a new job, AND a new situation as a family as my wife was pregnant with our first child.

With my wife being Japanese, and myself having no immediate desire to return to England, our sights were set on Japan, and specifically Hokkaido.

We had visited Niseko many times before, always renting a car to explore the wider area and it was during these many drives that we fell in love with the wide-open spaces and stunning variety in seasons that Hokkaido is so famous for.

The decision was then made, and it was an easy one to make. Hokkaido was where we wanted to raise our family!
So, we hastily set about making our dream move become a reality.

We gave notice on our house, my wife quit her job, we got our beloved ‘street-dog’ Joey chipped, vaccinated and travel-ready, and we started to pack up everything to be shipped to Hokkaido.

Luckily enough, prior to our move I had managed to secure a job with one of Niseko’s real estate companies, and we had a small house in Lower Hirafu which I had bought a few years previously we planned to live in.

Everything was in place. And absolutely everything went perfectly to plan.

My new job in the world of real estate was enjoyable, challenging and interesting. Child ‘A’ was delivered in Fukuoka where my wife is from and both could rest with the support of her family. And Joey adjusted to a diet of sushi instead of sambal.

But it didn’t take me long to realise that Hirafu would not be the right place for us to live as a family. It was not what we had dreamt of, and thus it was time to explore options in the wider area.

Literally on my first exploration into the ‘hinterland’ I stumbled across what has since become one of my all-time favourite places in Hokkaido, ‘FUCCA’ Cafe. From its variety of adorable animals through to its charming exterior and interior decor, right through to the truly delightful couple that run the place. The place absolutely oozes character!

It was from here that I was introduced to a lovely young Englishman a mere minute’s drive, who was selling his house in Makkari. It was love at first sight (with the house – not the Englishman)
Surrounded by farmland on all sides with an incredible Mt. Yotei view, I knew instantly I had found the home to raise our family in!

We now have a Child ‘B’ to complete our family.

Both ‘A’ & ‘B’ ski on winter weekends and we spend much of the summer with our good friends at The Lake House at Toyako over on Lake Toya, which is just 25mins drive from Makkari. A similar 25mins drive in the other direction, we have all the luxuries Niseko has to offer, such as the phenomenal Park Hyatt Hanazono.

And now, we are blessed with the sensational ‘Le Mantaro’ restaurant a mere 10-15mins drive from our house, which is where we spend most our Sunday lunches and where I entertain my clients and have a sales area for our new real estate sales business ‘Habitat Hokkaido’.

Our goal with Habitat Hokkaido is to help like-minded people move to the area with their families, or to start their families, and help existing and long-term residents realise their asset values.
We are conscious of the issues changes to the local area cause, so we are committed to working closely with the local authority so that everything we do is communicated and sanctioned by them.

So, when I say “All roads lead to Makkari”.
I don’t mean Makkari is the centre of the universe.
What I mean is, all roads I drive lead to the centre of MY universe, which is Makkari!

Written by Henry Blake Turner;
Habitat Hokkaido, CEO

Born in Singapore, Henry Blake Turner is a British national who grow up in Chiswick, West London, England. With an Hons Degree in Politics & International Relations from the University of Bristol, Henry has worked in both HK and Singapore.
Now living in Makkari with his Japanese wife, 2 young children and Singapore ‘rescue’ dog.

http://www.HabitatHokkaido.com

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