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From Value One, Spring 2008 No. 20
Metal One America, Inc.
Metal One America headquarters building
View of the office
Chicago Winters Are Bitter Cold!
Chicago is located on the southwest side of Lake Michigan and is the third biggest city in the United States in terms of population, following New York and Los Angeles. It is nicknamed the Windy City and "the boonies." Winter here is from November to April, and subzero temperatures are normal even during the day. Low temperatures fall below -20ºC on some days, but in combination with a strong wind the actual temperature you feel (called windchill here) ends up at approximately -30ºC. However, thanks to central heating in homes (which even warms up the bathroom) and the car as a means of transportation, I have the feeling that the amount of time your skin is exposed to the frigid air is much less than it would be in Tokyo. I should note that you need to be careful when walking outside for long periods, such as while shopping downtown. I once went window-shopping without dressing warmly enough and had to go inside every three stores to warm up because it was too cold to continue walking otherwise.
Chicago in bitterly cold winter

Ghost Town during the Super Bowl?!
Professional sports that are popular in the United States include American football, baseball, basketball, and ice hockey. Summer is baseball season. Last year, Chicago had no Japanese players after the White Sox traded away Tadahito Iguchi, but there are hopes for Kosuke Fukudome's success with the Chicago Cubs, which he joined this year. Meanwhile, winter is football, basketball, and ice hockey season. From the end of the year through the start of the next, Americans go into a football frenzy. On game weekends, everyone eats pizza while glued to the TV. Because everyone watches the Super Bowl championship game in particular, parking lots are deserted, traffic declines dramatically, and the town has none of its usual bustle on that day-it is as lifeless as a ghost town.
Chicago is still in the running to host the 2016 Olympics. The venue will be chosen in 2009, and all the employees are eagerly awaiting the announcement.
Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball team
Finding Food from All over the World
Chicago was historically a base for the warehousing and shipping of food products from the Midwest and is relatively blessed in terms of food. There are large supermarkets that carry Japanese food, and if you avert your eyes from the fairly high prices that are triple those in Japan, depending on the item, there is nearly always a selection of ingredients needed to prepare Japanese dishes. Another big attraction is that people of various Asian and European extraction live in Chicago, so you can find a wide variety of food from all over the world-all sorts of meat and cheese, unfamiliar fruit and vegetables, and spices. Because these ingredients are comparatively cheap, one of the attractions of Chicago's ethnic melting pot might be the ease with which one can experience various flavors. If only because of that, I believe that my cooking has improved since being posted to Chicago.
A comparison of the retail price of Japanese ginger: Chicago- US$4.99 (approx. ¥530); Japan-approx. ¥200
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