Hi, I’m Karolina from Sweden, but everyone calls me キャロー(Kyaro).

Right now I’m sitting on the third floor in the building next to Nishi-Ogikubo station, where Melting Pot is located, and looking out over snow covered roofs and power lines. I’m feeling very grateful for the heater, the hot coffee, and the warm company of the café’s manager.

 It’s times like these that I think about the endless times people react with the ‘Oh your country must be so cold!!’ every time I say that I’m from Sweden.

 By the way, we had around 9 degrees when I went back during Christmas. Sure, Sweden is generally colder than Tokyo, but Japan is a lot more than just Tokyo.

 I also come from the southern parts of Sweden, so I don’t have as much snow or as low temperatures as the northern parts. But at least when I get home in the evening after a long day at work or school I’m not met by a room at 11 degrees and a bed that feels like has been touched by Elsa from Frozen. Which is my everyday life in Japan. At least I am currently living in a dorm where the electricity bill is included so I can blast the heater from the moment I get home, but I dread the day I have to move out and will continue my life as an icicle… Although, I have to say that I’m actually not that big of a fan of heaters either. Why not? You might think. Well, the air gets so stuffy and it easily gets too hot. Whenever I forget to turn on my humidifier during the night I always wake up with a sore throat. I guess these are all thing I will get used to over time. As well as I learn how all the differences in the climate affects the actions one need to implement in one’s everyday life.

Especially in Japan I have noticed that I need to remember how the humidity affects different things around the house, such as it is easier for things to get moldy. (I always thought that the reason people put away their futon everyday was to utilize the space better, it didn’t even cross my mind that if you don’t put it away it might get moldy…). But to get back to the topic about winter in Tokyo, I do love a snow-covered Tokyo. Sure, everything gets temporarily shut down and it the trains are packed, if you’re lucky enough that they are still moving. But it is just so incredibly pretty. When it snows, it usually snows enough for it to stay on the ground for a few days. Then it melts away after a few days, just before you have the time to get tired of it and the inconvenience it brings with slippery roads, and not to mention the cold…

Another thing I appreciate about the Japanese winter is how bright it is. Not only that the sun is up for a few hours longer every day compared to Sweden, most days are actually very sunny and bright. Which is not the case back the city where I grew up. The never-ending grey and gloomy days makes you almost think that the world has turned monochrome. Or at least that someone turned down the saturation more than ever would be necessary. So in the end, I guess you can’t have it all, and by living in different countries you learn to appreciate thing that you previously might have taken for granted. But you will also start question the things you used to think of as ‘the norm’. So even if it might seem as trivial things, they are all a part of understanding the people around you, how they think, and maybe why they think and act the way they do. I know that I have started to understand both myself, as a born and raised Swede, as well as my friends in Japan more since moving here. Getting the opportunity to experience the everyday life, with all it’s ups and downs, has taught me so much, and cannot recommend it enough.  So if you ever get a chance to live in a country different from where you grew up- take the chance! You can always (usually) go back home if you really don’t feel like it was anything for you. Because regretting not giving it a try, is for me one of the worst types of regrets!

  See you!

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Pets In Japan 

Pets In Japan   


イギリス人留学生 IZZIEから。 

2017 SEP    IZZIE from UK


It seems to me that Japan has misplaced priorities when it comes to finding a pet a home. Pets are a significant part of a family and deserve love and attention in a happy home. Instead, animals are used as a huge business and profit is the main concern.

It breaks my heart to watch just weeks-old kittens and puppies in tiny glass cages shouting and desperately trying to get the attention of someone who can save them. Many of these animals are separated from their mothers at a too-young age, which may leave them with emotional/psychological issues as well as a lifetime of illness or diseases. The fact that some cats and dogs are placed in strollers with various fancy clothing instead of allowing them to get essential exercises just further illustrates that the pets may be viewed as an accessory rather than breathing, living creatures.


It is known that in Japan, many animals are gassed each year. Approx 82% off the animals that end up in public shelters.

In the UK, approximately 6% were killed.

So what could be the reason for this significant contrast?


In my experience in my country (UK), most pet shops do not sell cats and dogs and the rate of people buying  from breeders has significantly dropped. People usually find animals from shelters to adopt.


 With a good system of adopting pets in need (although the shelters may be very packed),it removes the need to just kill unwanted pets and make it easier to rehome them instead.


Maybe if this became a movement in Japan, we could start to see less caged unhappy kittens in pet shops and more animals being kept alive.



武蔵野市 猫の譲渡会に参加したIZZIE

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LET’S GO Polling Station  June 20th 2017 By TUCKER


After the U.S. presidential elections in 2016, many people around the world
were shocked that someone like Donald Trump could become the “leader of the
free world”. How could a man like him, without any political experience and
no real qualifications, become President in a country where many of his
views are unpopular? And if so many people are protesting in the United
States, how did he become President in the first place?


The answer is actually very simple. The actual percentage of people that
voted was relatively low, with only 57% of voters participating.
Additionally, in many states Americans voted only for Senators (local
elections) and left their vote for President blank. This is because so many
people felt that both available candidates were too bad to vote for, one way
or the other.


For the American situation, there is additionally the question of what we
call the Electoral College, or other things like “gerrymandering” and biased
media. Every country probably has problems like these. However, the main
issue is more basic:
When the voting rate is low, only the people who decide to vote get to
influence the type of government a country has. People arrested at
anti-Trump protests often confess that they themselves hadn’t voted in the
general election. If you didn’t even vote in the first place, why are you
suddenly protesting now? This problem appears to be global: the World Bank
reported that average global voter turnout rate has dropped by more than 10%
over the last 25 years. When voting rates drop, those people who are
extremely politically active tend to become more powerful as centrist or
moderate voters stop coming out for elections. And when that happens, we
start to see extremist leaders of all kinds taking power.

Some scholars believe that a low voting rate indicates that people are
happy with the way that the government is going, so they have no need to see
any serious change. But it seems equally likely that other reasons are
keeping people away from the polls. In many places, people cannot take time
off of work in order to vote, so only people with leisure time or enough
money can afford to participate in politics. In other places, voting
stations are made harder to access and restrictive in their operating hours
so as to limit the types of people that can go vote. These are very serious
limitations on people’s right to participate, and it is extremely important
that these types of obstacles are reduced so as to ensure a healthy

However, the worst reason for people to fail to vote is apathy, or lack of
caring about politics. Many people think that politics is boring and
unrelated to their life. The economy, the tax rate, and security are all
things that can directly affect your life. Sometimes it may be stressful or
annoying to worry about these kinds of big problems. But if we don’t
participate in voting, we lose any kind of control over the sorts of
governments our country has. At best, this is irresponsible, and at worst,
it can be dangerous.

Democracy is relatively new in world history, existing in its modern form
for at most 200 years. Indeed, in many countries democracy might have only
come about one or two generations ago. Around the world, many people still
fight and die for the right to participate in politics, and the right to
vote is something that our ancestors may have struggled for whether in
protests, revolutions, or wars.

For this reason, it is the responsibility of all voters to learn as much as
they can and participate in voting, even when it seems boring or tiresome.
This is true even if we don’t like any candidates or parties that are
running for office. Otherwise, we could find our countries being led by a
minority of voters in a way that few of us actually agree with.

What will you do on Election Day?

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My name is Kallista, and I’m from Hawaiian Island of Oahu. Coming from a Japanese background (I’m not a Japanese national, but I have Japanese ancestry), coming to Japan for college wasn’t too big of a culture shock for me. Aside from speaking Japanese, my house is almost like a typical Japanese home. We take our shoes off before we enter the house, we eat Osechi during New Years time, I even receive otoshidama! Perhaps the biggest shock coming to Japan was realizing how beautiful the changing seasons are. In Hawaii, we basically have two seasons: rainy season and not rainy season. My first winter here was full of so many different experiences! I got to go skiing, which made me sore the next day, but it was so much fun! I also got to experience the onsen during winter. As far as atmosphere goes, Hawaii and Japan are not too different. Many people from Hawaii are of Japanese descent, so many Japanese traditions and feelings have remained. Perhaps the biggest difference between Japanese people and Hawaii people is that Japanese people always seem very busy, it’s not that people aren’t helpful or friendly, but it just seems like everyone is in a rush. In Hawaii, it feels a lot more casual; we sit in long traffic jams for hours every day! Fun Fact: Hawaii has the second worst traffic in the United States. Hawaii people tend to embrace this feeling of “aloha spirit”, which means we try to have happiness in daily life and trying to extend that happiness to others. Of course, not all Hawaii people are like this, but I like to believe that most Hawaii people are like this. !
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Swedish lesson!

Hello everyone my name is Oscar and I come from the Scandinavian country Sweden. As most of you have probably never been to Sweden I thought I would give you a quick lesson in Swedish culture, but first some boring facts!


Sweden is located in the northern part of Europe on the Scandinavian peninsula next to our arch enemy Norway (we’re actually good friends). The population of Sweden is around 9.5 million, approximately 26% of the population are first or second generation “new Swedish” (immigrants). Meaning that Sweden has developed in to a multicultural society.

Enough about that. A lot of people ask me about the Swedish food culture, and I normally just answer: we don’t have a food culture. And there is a good reason for that. Sweden is like I said earlier located in the northern part of Sweden and we have a fairly cold climate, that means that before the more modernized agricultural systems were invented we relied heavily on potatoes as a source of food. So I guess typical Swedish food would be potatoes and some kind of boring stew. But who likes that?? After avoiding the second world war Sweden had a bit of an economic boom while the rest of Europe was recovering from the devastation. This lead to a greatly improved standard of living, as a result people stopped eating the boring stews and potatoes, and instead they opted for the more luxurious and tasty foods found all over Europe. Right now I believe the most eaten food in Sweden might be kebab or pizza. It’s delicious (compared to Norwegian pizza!).


I would also like to introduce you maybe one of the most frustrating parts of Swedish business culture. It’s a thing we call “Möten”. A möte in English means meeting, and it involves doing the same things as a normal business meeting in any other part of the world. But, Swedish people loves möten. We normally have a möte to plan for a möte that is intended to decide the real möte. After the real möte it is not uncommon to have a möte in order to try and improve our other möten. Deciding the brand of coffee in the coffee machine is also a very common reason to have a möte.

All of these meetings are held because we feel it is important to let everyone at the company have a say in what is being decided. Which is very good for the business environment but it truly brings down the efficiency and the speed on decision making.

And a good suggestion, if you ever happen to take part in a Swedish möte, be sure to bring some cinnamon buns or cookies and when you enter the meeting just say: Let’s have a FIKA! (let’s drink coffee and eat sweets). And you will have no problems getting along with everyone.


Anyway, that’s all from me for this time. If you ever want to talk or study some English or Swedish please come to The Meltingpot on Fridays!


See you soon!

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There are many situations in which different cultures come in contact with each other. At the Melting Pot we are able to talk openly about a variety of topics. 
Coming from Hawaii, I am used to having laid back discussions about contemporary issues with my peers. With it's diverse and friendly population, a light conversation is always fun to take part in on the islands. This same kind of atmosphere can be experienced at The Melting Pot, and is something all learnertry.   
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This is Aliyah

Hey everyone!

This is Aliyah. I am a relatively new staff here at Melting Pot.

This is my first blog here so I hope everyone likes it!


よろしくお願いします ^^


Lately, all my friends have been asking me how in the midst of school and working  jobs, do I find time to relax?!


I can relax during my work to talking with nice people!


This hidden-away third-floor walk up haven is comfortable and homey. The perfect place to catch up with a friend over a cup of coffee.  


So it you’re feeling stressed and want to get away from it all or if you simply just want a great place to have a simple  conversation,

Please come  toMelting Pot!



See you next time

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Hi everybody! This is James

Hi everybody! This is James, how are you? I hoe that you are all doing
well! Last week I went on a volunteering trip to Ishinomaki, Miyagi
prefecture. It was a very good experience for me, & I would like very much
to share it with you all! The people that I met were very warm and kind,
and I was so happy to be there together with them. The situation is one
where there is still allot of work to be done! Many buildings need
clearing, and many areas need cleaning up. Here are some picture that show

some of the work that we did! I hope you like them. And I hope that I can 
inspire some people too! Goodbye! - James

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Hi Everybody!

Hi Everybody! This is James.
How are you? I hope that you're all doing good!
 Last night we had the September Talk Party, and it was really fun!
It was great to see so many different people come! Our new staff members
'Matt' and 'Aliyah' also joined in on the party, and they had a really
good time too!
It was a very enjoyable party for everyone! Have you met Matt and Aliyah?
If not then please come to Mltpot for a visit sometime soon!
They are wonderful people and a great joy to talk with! We're also having a party on the 24th for those who are interested.
If you would like to come then please make a reservation.
I hope to see many of you there! 
Please take care everybody, & I hope that the rest of this summer will be
wonderful for you all!
May you do many wonderful things and have many many wonderful experiences! Goodbye & take care! James
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まるで お人形みたいな顔立ちでびっくりした。JACKSON FIVE時代のMJそっくりだった。

若いのに堂々としていて なんでも吸収しようとしていた。





そして 堂々としていなさい。


公立の小学校のイベントには 必ず彼女を紹介した。
子供たちと遊ぶのが上手で 彼女も心から
楽しんでいるのがわかったので安心して 任せられた。

NGOの活動に協力的で 南アフリカに飛んだ常連の理恵さんといつも

一方ゴスペルの歌い手でもあったので 冬休み春休みには 全国を飛び回ってコンサートをしていた。

今日聞いた話だと子供のころは 教会が嫌で お母さんに連れて行かれるのが苦痛だったという。でも今は来日したお母さんと一緒に 飛び回っている。


入国1年未満のVISAで TAXの関係や労働規定があり 留学生のアルバイトは厳しく制限されているので あまりお仕事はあげられなかった。

が 彼女は よく遊びに来た。ふらっと来ては 漢字のお勉強をしたり 翻訳の仕事は自分の日本語のお勉強になるから、と楽しそうにやってくれた。

彼女のお母さんは ボストンの精神科医である。
彼女は 小さいころから 笑う事の大切さを教わってきた。

今日60歳前後の 一人暮らしの 笑う事が苦手だというお客様が見えた時 彼女は突然 ケタケタと笑い出した。つられて私が噴出すと そのお客様も 笑い出した。

いくら私が カウンターの中から“Slowly・・Slowly!"のサインを出しても
まくし立てて 嬉しそうにしゃべる。

地震のとき 泣きながら 電話してきた。

“Sorry,We have to leave・・You must go out Japan! I'm sorry,I'm sorry" 今でもあの時の彼女の声が 耳に残っている。
娘の身を案じてお母さんは いてもたってもいられなかっただろう。

が 半月したら またニコニコと戻ってきた。
うちにいるときもお母さんから 帰ってくるように国際電話がかかってきていた。

毎日お母さんと連絡をとることを条件に また 来てもらう事にした。

仕事が終わった後 必ずにっこり笑って 今日はママに今日会ったお客様の事話すんだと あれやこれやと話してくれた。

話す時間のないときには帰りの電車からメールをくれ もっとこんな風に話したらよかったとか 今日の自分は暗くなかったか、とか反省文を書いてくれていた。



今日2人で 水羊羹を食べながら 思い出話をした。

はじめは 私が 怖かったと 笑っていた。

そして 大学と寮の生活の中で うちが 一番日本人を知る場所だったと。


「でしょ!? でしょ!?I'm proud of that・・」

でも それスタッフの人柄なんだよね。心のそこから感謝で一杯。

さ 泣かないように 来週 お別れしよう。

また一人 アメリカに大事に思える娘ができた。

彼女は これからも ずっと ケタケタ笑いながら 周りの人を暖かくしていくんだろうなぁ・・

JAMESや JENNIFERが ボランティアで走り回ってる中

帰国したら ボストンで学生達が立ち上げた東北支援の団体に入ると約束をしてくれた。

彼女の事 しっかり動いてくれると信じてやまない。
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