CATEGORY

Hokkaido culture

    • December 6, 2022
    • December 7, 2022

    Japanese Culture and Traditions: Factory Tours for School Educational Trips

    Our general impression on the sea of trees in the foot of Mt. Fuji Even if you have not been to Japan before, I believe many of you have heard the name of the highest and most beautiful mountain in Japan. Yes, it’s Mt. Fuji, or Fujiyama, but do you know that the sea of trees around Mt. Fuji is very famous as a suicide spot. As I studied the reason, I found it was because of a TV drama that was very popular in 1960s. What a big influence! Even now, when we hear the name of the sea of trees, what comes up first in our mind is suicide. Now that you’ve known that the sea of trees is a famous suicide spot, the above image may look very creepy, but it was well-known as a beautiful scenic site before the TV drama was aired. Recently, I just […]

    • November 30, 2022
    • December 5, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: Japan is the Kingdom of Planetarium

    When did you last go to the planetarium? If you haven’t been there for a long time, like since you were a kid, you should go. It would be much more fun than you think. When a show starts in pitch darkness, I always get overwhelmed by a huge number of stars that look to reach to my eyes, and feel like being hurled off into space. Planetarium shows remind me that I rarely look up at the night sky. In fact, we can’t see such a sky full of stars in real life because of the city lights, though. I went to the planetarium two times this month. The first time, I fell asleep as soon as the show started. I know. It’s so embarrassing even for me to confess this after talking passionately about the attractiveness of the planetarium, but I’m the type of the person who will […]

    • November 16, 2022
    • November 17, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: Snow and Ice Igloo Hotels in Hokkaido

    Do you know a Japanese elementary school bag? It’s common in color, design, size, and everything, a symbol of Japanese elementary school students. The bag is called “Randoseru” in Japanese which originates from the Dutch word “Ransel” meaning a bag in English. Let’s call it Ransel here in this article for your pronunciation convenience. Can you believe it? All the elementary school students use it across Japan. In my childhood like more than 30 years ago, only two colors were available: black for boys; red for girls, though any color seems to be available now as shown in the above image. A Ransel was very expensive. As I remember, it was about 500 USD at that time. However, elementary students are supposed to use it for the whole elementary school period of six years. Considering the promised quality to survive long-term super-rough usage by kids, I’m sure the price was […]

    • November 9, 2022
    • November 9, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: A Hokkaido Restaurant (Curry Rice)

    Do you think you can tell good rice from not-so-good one? If you think “Rice is just a foil to the main dish. There is not much of a difference,” that’s completely wrong. Today, I’m going to introduce a restaurant famous for good rice in Hokkaido. More than 30 years ago, when I was a kid, rice made in Hokkaido (our home prefecture) was not so good, but most of the Hokkaido people ate it because it was much cheaper. The times have changed, and proudly enough, Hokkaido rice has become a brand in Japan. Now, due to the breed improvements made repeatedly over time, I think it’s almost impossible to judge good or bad rice, but there’s only one way: Try it after rice gets cold. Really good rice is delicious even after it has cooled down. Some of you may think “What’s the point for the difference? A […]

    • October 4, 2022
    • October 13, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: Don’t Underestimate Budget Hotels in Japan

    Japan will lift restrictions to foreign tourists On 11th October, the entry restrictions to Japan will be lifted. It’s the dawn of Japan! Are you ready to come to Japan? Of course, we are ready to receive you. Let me know if you’re interested in our factory tour. Today, for those who have longed to visit Japan, let me share special information about accommodation. Before getting to the main point, can I brag a bit about the Japanese hospitality? Japanese budget hotels are good in cost performance I’ve been traveling around the world and staying in many hotels, though most of them were cheap ones. In my experience, Japanese budget hotels are best in cost performance. Even in such budget hotels, I ensure you wouldn’t feel frustrated with their services, basically. They are trained by picky Japanese guests and survive the harsh market in the super-long deflation that has lasted […]

    • September 28, 2022
    • October 13, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: Magnificent View We’ll Want to See before We Die

    The winter in Hokkaido is beautiful but too long and harsh A hometown is a place to long for from a distance, not to actually live in. This is the English translation of a Japanese famous proverb that often crosses my mind especially around this season. After graduation from college, I had been outside my hometown (Asahikawa, Hokkaido) for about 15 years. Indeed, for a while after coming back, I was just glad to escape from the crazy summer heat and humid climate of the main island of Japan, but now I have been fed up with the long, cold, and snowy winter in my hometown. I know this is man’s foolish nature, like crying for the moon, but the winter in Hokkaido is so long and harsh. The autumn in Hokkaido is short but beautiful Due to the long winter, the autumn in Hokkaido is relatively short but very […]

    • September 21, 2022
    • October 25, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: What You Need to Know before Eating Salmon Roe in Hokkaido

    Hokkaido is the home of salmon fishing in Japan I’ve been wanting to do fly fishing since I watched the movie “A River Runs Through It.” Unfortunately, I hardly remember any of the content, but the fishing scenes left a strong impression on me. A fishing rod whipping to and fro smoothly, a line describing an arc in the air, etc. It’s beautiful and completely different from what I always do. It’s ordinary bait fishing: just wandering along rivers and casting bait. Why don’t I do fly fishing? That’s because bait fishing is easier and can catch more fish. In the past article, I knowingly quoted Hemingway “When you can’t catch fish, think it gave you time to think about life.” To tell the truth, I hate to get skunked (go home empty-handed). Today, I’m introducing the charm of Hokkaido through the story of fish. Among river fish in Japan, […]

    • May 18, 2022
    • October 13, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: Kengo Kuma Opened a New Office in Hokkaido

    Why does public work become bureaucratic in Japan? Mistakes are not allowed, and so, we do things the same way as everyone else. This is a pattern of behavior that widely dominates Japanese society. You can see the behavioral patterns a lot especially in Japanese government offices. I can say that for sure from my experience of working as a public servant for more than 10 years. One mistake can shut the door on your career. Naturally, public servants are highly likely to make a low-risk option with precedent. A small town office made innovation There are exceptions to it, of course. One of the famous exceptions is the local government of our next town, Higashikawa town. It’s really a small town with a population of about 8000 only. Japan is facing a declining population, which is most obvious in rural areas. In addition, there are more disadvantages for the […]

    • February 15, 2022
    • October 7, 2022

    Wood Rather than Stone, Bronze, and Iron: Why Do We Love Wood?

    We Hokkaido people reach enlightenment by clearing snow Nothing can stay the same. This is very famous Buddhist terminology, meaning “Life is fleeting and empty.” Even on weekend, I always wake up very early and leave home before six to go to a gym. On the way to the gym, I very often see many elderly people. They are active outside and clear snow even in the very cold and dark winter morning. Every time I see such people, the above words come up to my mind. Our life is very short, but we have to spend much of our time to clearing snow here in Hokkaido in winter, even though it melts away in spring anyway. Once even snow-clearing tools were made of wood The above image is of the International Snow Clearing Championship held in Hokkaido since 2013. It may sound funny to you, but it’s natural for […]

    • February 10, 2022
    • October 4, 2022

    Hokkaido Acorn Trees (Mizunara Oak) Make Japanese Whisky and Furniture

    How the green flash appears? Let secrets be secrets Do you know the green flash? Fairly infrequently, at the moment of sunrise or sunset, the upper rim of the Sun looks to flash in green. You might have learned it from the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean.” On a similar note, I know another strange natural phenomenon. I believed it was, to be more precise. When it heavily snows at night, the sky looks tinged with orange here in Hokkaido. It was my special secret. One day, with an air of great importance, I shared the secret with my wife. Surprisingly, against my expectations, she said quite casually “Snow in the sky just reflects the street light.” At the moment, I’ve decided in my heart not to tell her any more secrets. Orange-tinted street lamps unique to Hokkaido are gone High-pressure sodium lamps are used for the street light in […]