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Hokkaido Shreds

    • October 12, 2022
    • November 20, 2022

    Giant Tree Hunt in Hokkaido #2

    As I mentioned I enjoy finding big trees on googlemap, I went to the following point when I had to go out to the east Hokkaido. Toyotomi elm stands alone at the roadside in Bihoro town, the northwestern part of Lake Kussharo. Toyotomi elm is 550 years old and greatly conspicuous surrounded by vast farmland. It is designated as a preserved tree by the town of Bihoro in 1977. Although a part of bark is peeling, the tree appears to have been well cared. 550 years ago, Japan was at the height of the samurai era. It is said that Kyoto was burnt to the ground during this time, by the Painting depicting a battle during the Ōnin War. Toyotomi elm is approximately same age with the painting below. Bihoro town was settled by Japanese around 1887. When the area was settled, trees growing in the area were completely deforested […]

    • October 6, 2022
    • October 6, 2022

    Civil engineering heritage in Hokkaido #1

    What’s the civil engineering heritage? Does your city or region have civil engineering heritage? They may be a big bridge, dam, bund, tunnel, and any construction or architecture that have a significant impact on the development of local industry and have supported people’s daily life. In Japan, JSCE (Japan Society of Civil Engineering) have conducted an award program for such important architectures. Several architectures are selected annually, through nomination and public solicitation. 51 Civil engineering heritages tell the history of Hokkaido Hokkaido has 51 heritages, of the approximately 400 in Japan. The breakdown is as follows: 21 inland waterways management facilities (dam and river bank protection), 10 bridge, 5 railwoads and roads, 4 landscapes, 10 seawalls, and 1 coal mine. All of these structures are recognized for their importance in Hokkaido’s pioneering history, and have supported or are still supporting the livelihood of 5.3 million people today. You can see […]

    • September 30, 2022
    • October 13, 2022

    Woodworking experience in Hokkaido

    Wood lathe craftsman in Hokkaido The other day, I attended a trila session of wood lathe. It was a rare opportunity to learn from a veteran craftsman, who has 60 years of experience in this field. Until a decade ago, all the legs of chairs and beds were handmade with a lathe. Asahikawa is known as a town of woodworkers, and there used to be dozens of craftsmen who handled such wood lathes and opened workshops. Mr. Abe, the instructor of this workshop, is one of them, and his Christmas trees are popular in online stores. Christmas trees crafted with lathe, designed by Abe Yasunori Asahikawa craft center The class was held at the Asahikawa Craft Center. Since woodworking is a major industry in the city, the municipality has established a product testing center for crafts. The Craft Center is located in a quiet ground on a hill, called Asahikawa […]

    • September 11, 2022
    • October 6, 2022

    What is the best kindling for a bonfire in Hokkaido?

    The charm of bonfires Do you like bonfires? What kinds of things have you burned in your childhood? I was a very serious child and never played with fire, but I completely got fascinated by bonfire when I grew up and started camping. When building a fire, you are immersed in a routine process. The process of growing a small fire into a large flame requires a kinds of concentration. At the beginning of the fire you would be busy to take care, but once a large flame is built up, it’s no more so much work, and then you can just spent time gazing at it on your favorite chair. Cedar leaves are good kindlings in Kyoto When I was living in Kyoto, I spent relatively longer time as bachelor and graduate student. I used to go camping wtih friends whenever I found free time. In Kyoto the most […]

    • August 30, 2022
    • September 7, 2022

    Giant Tree Hunt in Hokkaido #1

    Giant trees are symbolic of the nature Giant trees are nurtured over a long period of time to be symbolic of the nature or climate of the land. They have been the home of various creatures, the object of people’s faith, and the symbol of the region. Here in Japan we have the world’s oldest wooden building, Horyuji, and the world’s largest wooden buildings, Great Buddha Hall of Todaiji. For Todaiji, people seeked giant red pine trees that has more than 1 meter of diameter with height of 24 meters. It is said people decided to dig at the base of trees rather than cutting down to keep trees from spliting. Since the ascient times, trees have been used as resources like building materials, wood products, and fuel. Whether it is a huge public building or a individual house, trees are one of the most important resources for human life. […]

    • August 30, 2022
    • September 12, 2022

    First Road Racing Experience in Niseko, Hokkaido

    What’s the Niseko HANAZONO hill climb? The 11th running of the Niseko HANAZONO hill climb was held on August 7th. This is a road race time trial to Niseko Annupuri Goshiki Onsen (Niseko Town boundary, elevation 796m). The total length is 13.9km; the average gradient approximately 4.6 %. It’s one of the most popular hill climbing event in Hokkaido. In 2022 it was held for the first time after the covid restriction, with more than 400 people taking part the event as runners or spectators. Time table of the race Saturday, August 6, 2022 Registration: 12:00~16:00 at the headquartersPlace: Yukinkokan venue at the Asahigaoka ski resort in Kutchan town The access from my place Asahikawa to Kutchan took 4 hours (231 km) by car. After the long drive, I did not train in order to rest my body. I stayed B&B called Tabitsumugi in front of the event venue, in […]

    • August 3, 2022
    • September 1, 2022

    All About Beginner Cyclist’s Preparation for His/Her First Rode Race

    Hokkaido is blessed with mountains, and there are so many ways to enjoy them. Climbing, jogging, driving, rafting, bird watching, sightseeing, photograph, skiing and snowboarding, and cycling. Which do you want to do here? The other day, I went cycling to Mt. Tokachi with one of my colleague. Mt. Tokachi is an active volcano accessible from Asahikawa and a popular sightseeing spot where you can enjoy climbing and hot springs. Now, in our case, the cycling meaned a practice-run in preparation for Niseko Hanazono Hill Climb in a week’s time! Below is a cross-section of the course in Mt. Tokachi. As you can see, it’s a killer hill! Good for practicing. As I said before, I was never a very enthusiastic cyclist actually. How did I change my mind even to participate in the hill climbing race… It’s all a mischievous idea by my boss. As soon as he found […]

    • July 27, 2022
    • September 8, 2022

    Stubborn Craftsmen in the Disaster-Less City

    The highest compensation on disaster-related court dicisions Last month, two important disaster-related court decisions were handed down in Japan. The first was a lawsuit by shareholders against the former management of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which caused the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in the wake of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. The amount of compensation was an unprecedented 13 trillion JPY. This was the highest amount of compensation ever charged for causing a particular type of environmental pollution. It was namely radioactive pollution which resulted in the extensive and long-term damage to many people. Photo Credit: https://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXZQOUE05BUY0V00C22A7000000/ The other was lawsuit by bereaved families of the victims at the 2014 Mount Ontake eruption, suing the government and the prefecture. They claimed it was illegal for the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) to leave the eruption-warning level lower without sufficient consideration. In conclusion the plaintiffs’ claim […]

    • July 8, 2022
    • September 22, 2022

    What Kind of Fun in the Playground of the Gods?

    A virtual hotel built on the bedrock of Daisetsuzan Recently our company launched a virtual hotel, Hokkaido Rock House designed by Sou Fujimoto. It is built on the bedrock of Daisetsuzan in Hokkaido. I am sure that anyone who was born and raised in Hokkaido can feel sympathy for its concept. The landscape on that virtual world is said to be modeled after Daisetsu National Park. Daisetsuzan, meaning “geat snowy mountains”, is the largest national park in Japan. There are 16 peaks over 2,000 meters, offering the most rugged scenery from the foot of mountain. It is also known as the nickname of “the playground of the gods” in native Ainu. Ainu is  the indigenous people of Hokkaido. Asahidake is popular spot for outdoor activities Asahidake (2,290 meters), located in the north of Daisetsuzan Natonal Park, is the highest peak in Hokkaido. The mountain is familiar to Asahikawa citizens because it’s close and […]

    • June 17, 2022
    • June 19, 2022

    A Little Curious About the Guardian of the River

    Asahikawa is a paradise of rivers The bike path along the river is one of the most comfortable road to run in Asahikawa. Most of pedestrian and bike paths laid out on the top of embankments. You can pedal along the river to your heart’s content without worries about cars. Asahikawa ctiy has 130 rivers and more than 750 bridges, and “Kawa” means “river,” so as the name of city suggests it is a paradise of rivers and accompanying small paths. Objects of curiosity and their various designs Do you notice anything that catches your attention, when you are running along the river? Yes, they are small structures scattered along the embankment. They are called “樋門” (Himon) in Japanese which means sluice gates in English. I found there are amazingly different designs in the city. Unfortunately, I have no other place to show off my collection of photos of these […]