Wordwise 126 A2854

The Tasmania-Hokkaido Connection

  • 2015.06.05

Not a day goes by without someone asking me where I’m from. This usually leads to an in-depth conversation about Tasmanian Devils (which, for the record, don’t really look anything like the Warner Brothers character ‘Taz’ and are actually more kowai than kawaii!) It seems that Tasmania is often viewed as a magical faraway place, entirely different from Hokkaido, but actually, I’ve found that there are a lot of similarities between the two. Although they couldn’t be much more opposite on the map (Hokkaido is 420 North; Tasmania is 420 South!) there are some connections that make them not so distant.

Firstly, Hokkaido and Tasmania are both small islands off the mainland of their respective countries, and are roughly the same size - although Hokkaido has more pointy bits and resembles a stingray while Tasmania is more compact and heart-shaped! Both have strong agricultural industries. Tasmania is known as the Apple Isle, while Hokkaido is famed for its Yubari melons. Also, both grow lavender in two of the world’s leading lavender farms: Tasmania’s Bridestowe Estate and Hokkaido’s Tomita Farm, who actually exchange their unique varieties of lavender for flower lovers to enjoy. The people of Tasmania and Hokkaido also share a fondness for handmade crafts, which are sold in makers’ markets. Perhaps such creations and events arise from the ‘waste not, want not’ (mottainai) attitude of country folk.

Another interesting link between Tasmania and Japan (though not specifically Hokkaido) is the famous animated film by Hayao Miyazaki. A small, unassuming bakery in the rural town of Ross, in central Tasmania, is rumored to have been the inspiration for the setting of Kiki’s Delivery Service (Majo no Takyuubin), though strangely there is no evidence Miyazaki ever visited Tasmania! Around 50 tourists daily venture to the small bakery to witness the uncanny resemblance to the one in the movie, and the bakery owners admit that they have redecorated the loft upstairs to look more like Kiki’s room in response to the ever-growing interest. Over the last decade, this phenomenon has grown so much that someone even wrote their PhD thesis on it! Here’s a link to an article in a Tasmanian newspaper if you’re interested in reading more:


So, although I’ve only been living in Sapporo for a short time, I feel grateful for having found such similarities, making it an ideal ‘home away from home’.


** Editor’s note: Hokkaido and Tasmania also make the best beer in their respective countries (see James Boag’s Premium)! -Adrian






**編集ノート:北海道とタスマニアは共にそれぞれの国で、最高のビールを作っています!(James Boag’s Premiumをご覧ください!)エイドリアン