Hokkaido culture

    • February 4, 2022
    • November 3, 2022

    Fight Lookism! No Two Wood Pieces Are Alike; Diversity Makes It Beautiful

    Can you judge apples by appearances? Apples are the most popular seasonal fruit in Japan in winter. You can see a lot of them piling up everywhere. My wife always goes straight to an apple stand in any supermarkets, though I don’t know whether it’s because my wife really likes them or just because they are cheap in this season. Anyway, I eat many apples in winter, apart from whether I like it or not. Her way of selecting apples looks like some magic ritual. With a serious look on her face, checking them from every angle, mumbling something, she carefully picks out the ones she thinks best. I don’t want to deny her efforts, but I can’t see any big difference in taste between what she and I chose, to be honest. Even careful selection is no guarantee It is said that about 30% of agricultural output is thrown […]

    • January 25, 2022
    • October 12, 2022

    Hokkaido Nature: Have You Seen How Lumberjacks Cut Trees Now?

    Snowy mountains are really harsh Last week a logging company invited us to a mountain tour to see the cutting of trees. While we were going up the mountain plowing through snow, a staff member talked a lot about the troubles they have faced in the mountains. The stories reminded me of a huge hostage crisis lasting for 10 days in the deep mountains in the winter of 1972, though I hadn’t been born yet. The police riot squad laid siege outside but soon became dysfunctional. Food and water were frozen. There was no bathroom, of course. In order to continue the operation, the military was dispatched for logistic support. The remote mountains are such a harsh environment especially in winter. Winter is the season to cut trees You might say “Why don’t you cut trees in other than winter?” but that’s not going to happen. In summer, for example, […]

    • January 18, 2022
    • October 14, 2022

    Snow as an Energy Source: The Renewable Energy in Hokkaido, Japan

    This is the reality of the frozen world The snow glows white on the mountain tonight, not a footprint to be seen. When you hear this song, you may picture in your mind some beautiful scenes, like Elsa and Anna playing in the snow and ice. Me? It’s more realistic and boring. Snow fields seamlessly spreading to the surrounding mountains (even to the gloomy sky when it snows), a heavy snowfall immediately covering even human figures let alone footprints, fingers numb with cold, etc. Our hometown is the heavy-snow and coldest place in Japan, of which lowest recorded temperature is -41°C. On the other hand, our summers are very hot. The maximum temperature often exceeds 35°C. On a hot summer day, I always wish I could get back the snow treated as a nuisance in winter. How to use snow as a renewable energy source As a matter of fact, […]

    • September 21, 2021
    • October 1, 2022

    More Bear Attacks in Hokkaido: The Original Japanese Landscape Is Being Lost

    Bears start to live in deserted villages in Hokkaido This year, riverbeds and big parks with forests were often closed in our hometown. It was not because of the COVID but because of bears. There are two kinds of bears in Japan: brown bears and black bears. Brown bears are a related species of grizzly bears. They are much bigger than black bears, and inhabit only here Hokkaido in Japan. Making matters worse, our hometown (Asahikawa, Hokkaido) is surrounded by mountains, and many rivers are stretching inside the town. Bears come out of the mountains and move freely along the rivers. It’s not so unusual, but I think this year is abnormal. You may guess it is because of a food shortage due to the destruction of nature, but it is not. To the contrary, some experts say it is because of increasing deserted villages, the recovery of nature. Villages […]

    • August 31, 2021
    • November 16, 2022

    Where to Visit in Hokkaido: Why Is Sapporo the Most Harsh Market in Japan?

    Hokkaido is more popular than Tokyo and Kyoto in Japan Conde Nast Traveler, one of the world’s most prestigious travel magazine announces every year the ranking of things related to travel. The ranking is based on the vote of the readers, more than 6 million. It was Tokyo that had won the first place in the ranking of the Best Cities in the World (10 Best Big Cities) for three years straight from 2017 to 2019. In 2020, Tokyo lost the first position to Kyoto, though. I guess the result would not be so surprising especially for people who have been to Japan. They saw the two cities were always packed with tourists from overseas. This fact, however, may be a little surprising to us because Hokkaido (where we’re headquartered) is more popular with the Japanese people. We love Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido Let me introduce another interesting ranking. […]

    • November 27, 2020
    • October 26, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: The Sound of Silence in Hokkaido in Winter

    Funny Japanglish by the Prime Minister In 2000, the then Japanese Prime Minister wanted to make greetings in English at the first summit meeting with President Clinton. He tried to cram the following exchange of basic phrases: “How are you, Mr. President?” “I’m fine, thank you, and you?” “Me, too.” Finally and unfortunately, the time had come. The PM made a big mistake right at the beginning and said with a big smile “Who are you, Mr. President?” When the whole world went pale, President Clinton tactfully replied “I’m Hillary’s husband.” The PM, exactly as he had learned it, proudly said “Me, too.” I’m not self-depreciating the poor English skills of Japanese people, but just want to get your attention to today’s subject: wordplay. Geniuses, Simon and Garfunkel I will never forget the strong impression I got when I heard the song, or the title of the song, to be […]