Kurt Photo (edited)

Prof. Kurt Ackermann

Hokusei Gakuen Junior College

Welcoming Speech

Dear Conference Delegates,

“Yokoso, Sapporoe,” or as Hokkaido's first people the Ainu would say, “Irankarapte!”

Please accept a very warm welcome to cool Hokkaido from me, Kurt Ackermann, and Higher Education Forum (HEF), the organizers of the 2019 Sapporo conferences.

In addition to being the transportation and financial hub of Japan's northernmost island Hokkaido, Sapporo has also become a center for tourism. Its transportation infrastructure is both well-established and adapted to its unique winter situation. It has a history of hosting large winter sports events, in particular the 1972 Winter Olympics and the 8th Asian Winter Games in 2017. While Sapporo's winters may feel cold to those from warmer climes, they are actually quite mild by the standards of many cities that also receive large amounts of snow. 

The core of Sapporo's transportation system is the subway, developed to coincide with its hosting of the 1972 Winter Olympics and which facilitates the movement of people during the snowy winters. In addition, the streetcar line continues to be an important component of the city's transit network. If you are lucky you may see the 'sasara densha' - a specially modified streetcar that sweeps new-fallen snow from the tram rails with its rotating bamboo brushes, starting at 4 a.m. every winter morning and then whenever it starts to snow.

The combination of plentiful snow, modern infrastructure, and comparatively mild temperatures makes the city and its environs a true winter playground. For those delegates wishing to try their hand at some of these, there are free or reasonably-priced opportunities to try cross-country skiing (Nakajima Park), art appreciation while snowshoeing (Sapporo Art Park) and ice-skating. More ambitious visitors may even wish to try downhill skiing or snowboarding. In Sapporo, the possibilities for winter sports are almost limitless. 

Although the image of northern winters is bitterly cold windy and snowy days, there are actually many days when the crisp cold air is crowned with a brilliant clear blue sky and if you are at the observation deck of Sapporo's Mt. Moiwa you may experience beautiful vistas of the snow-blanketed city and its suburbs, with snow-covered mountains just to the south and also further to the north beyond the steel blue waters of Ishikari Bay. Just don't forget your gloves and a hat! 

As Hokkaido is famous throughout Japan for the quality of its seafood and wide variety of food in general, you can restore the energy you use on a chilly winter day with a hearty Hokkaido meal.

Sapporo is a city developed with the input of people from all across Japan, who came to Hokkaido for various reasons. One of the things I like so much about conferences organized by Higher Education Forum is the diversity, both of the fields represented in the presentations and of the participants themselves. Attending a presentation from another field can be a very refreshing way of allowing us to reconsider our perspectives and have the opportunity to be exposed to different ideas and ways of thinking. I strongly encourage all participants to attend at least one presentation unrelated to your field - you might be surprised at what you learn and the new contacts that you make.

Enjoy this opportunity to both share your research and to experience Sapporo and Hokkaido.

Short Bio

Kurt Ackermann is an associate professor in the English department of Hokusei Gakuen Junior College in Sapporo, Hokkaido. His background in environmental management and geography, though he has been teaching English in Japan for many years. Currently, he primarily teaches extensive reading and geography (in English) to second-year students. His research interests include extensive reading, learning disorders, and ecotourism, amongst others. His interests include tourism and environmental issues. 

Member Center

Online Submission

Important Dates

Submission Deadline

March 05, 2020

Notification of Acceptance
From March 20, 2020
paper reviewing takes 20 days

Early Bird Registration Deadline
April 30, 2020
Final Registration Deadline
May 15, 2020
Conference Date
July 07-09, 2020

Contact & Inquiry

GCEAS Secretariat
Email: gceas@gceas-conf.org