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Hokkaido sightseeing

    • September 28, 2022
    • September 28, 2022

    What to Do in Hokkaido: 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 […]

    • July 21, 2022
    • September 17, 2022

    The Economics of Superstar: Billionaire Architects Will Emerge

    The e-sports industry grows to make million-dollar players Do you like video games? Me? I have no interest at all. When I was a kid, almost all the classmates had Nintendo Entertainment System, but I didn’t. No matter how hard I wished for it, my parents didn’t give the nod. Alternatively, I sometimes went to my friends’ houses to play video games, but it was not so fun because the friends were much better. When I was a college student, Biohazard was released. I bought PlayStation myself to play it. The time came when my dream came true, but probably it was too late. I didn’t get into it. Due to the background like this, I had no idea why e-sports are so trendy and how they can make sense as a business, until I learned the popularity of gameplay videos. It was unbelievable for me that there are many […]

    • July 4, 2022
    • September 21, 2022

    What If You Were the Last Person on Earth?

    What would I do if I were Will Smith? I like sci-fi stories (and movies). They are excellent thought experiments to create a completely different world, which always stimulate my interest. For example, “1984” by George Orwell is the story of what if the world is completely ruled by totalitarianism. “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” (the movie was titled “Blade Runner,” and I really like it) elaborates an imaginary world where androids evolve their intelligence to become more human than humans. The starter of this article is “I Am Legend” starring Will Smith. As most of you know, it’s the movie portraying the last man on earth. If you watched the movie, I believe you’ve imagined “What would I do if I were Will Smith?” In fact, I did many times and was shocked every time to find the simple fact that I can’t live long by myself. Mind […]

    • May 24, 2022
    • September 28, 2022

    What to Do in Japan: What Is Good about Travel by Train?

    Trains are still the king of transportation for tourism Which transportation do you think is best for your trip? By air, sea, or road? According to a report by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the share of travel by train is highest in the domestic market in Japan. The number-based share of travel by train was about 70% in 2020, and has been increasing year by year, along with a trend that young people turn away from driving. It’s not only about the Japanese people. Almost the same thing can be said about tourists from overseas. The share of rail transportation for such tourists to move around Japan is about 55%. For your information, the second is public bus service with a share of about 30%. The advantages of train transportation over other means I don’t know if it’s the same in your countries, but there are […]

    • January 14, 2022
    • September 15, 2022

    Where to Visit in Hokkaido: Do You Know the World’s Largest Chair Collection?

    Most of the kids are collectomania As I think I’ve learned the figure somewhere, 70% of kids under 6 years old are collectomania. At the age of around 10, I was devoted to collecting stickers that came with chocolate cookies. The stickers were very popular among boys at that time. One day, I found a girl in a car running next to my mother’s car, and showed her the best one from my sticker collection through the car windows. My mother, seeing me, said “Stop it. It’s embarrassing.” I still don’t know why my mother felt embarrassed, but I clearly remember that was the moment I quitted collecting the stickers. Soon after that, I made big money for a kid by selling all the rare stickers to my classmates, by the way. Sorry, the introduction has become a quite long. Today’s topic is collection. Valentino Zagatti Collection: The world’s largest […]

    • January 6, 2022
    • September 21, 2022

    The Best Places to Visit in Hokkaido: Asahiyama Zoo and CondeHouse

    The rebirth of the small zoo on the edge of bankruptcy Do you know the best zoo in the world? It’s San Diego Zoo. In Asia? It’s Singapore Zoo. In Japan? It’s Asahiyama Zoo in our hometown, according to the world zoo ranking of TripAdvisor. Asahiyama Zoo is not biggest in size and the number of visitors in Japan, and doesn’t have any rare animals like pandas, but it’s very popular. In the early 90’s when I was a kid, the zoo was so boring and a little creepy. It was like a horror movie scene of Stephen King: there were few people; animals were deathly still; old and rusty attractions made a squeak (in the amusement area in the zoo). In 1995, the zoo took the first step to the great comeback by the inauguration of a new director. Back to the basics of entertainment The director said “All […]

    • December 6, 2021
    • September 28, 2022

    Where to Visit in Hokkaido: Sapporo Snow Festival and Asahikawa Winter Festival

    We can never gain back lost systems or know-how More than 30 years ago, Japanese main railway operations were run by the government. Since the full privatization, many rail lines have been abandoned especially in rural areas like here in Hokkaido. If we only pursue efficiency, we probably should gather and live only in city areas. I’m going to hate to lose diverse regional cultures, though. Neoliberalism still tries to accelerate the shift from the public to the private sector. Such people seem to believe we can be back to a previous state if we fail, but things are not that simple. We should be aware it’s really difficult or almost impossible to gain back systems or know-how once they’re gone. JSDF is an artisan group of snow sculptures Sapporo Snow Festival (SSF) and Asahikawa Winter Festival (AWF) are the two main festivals in Hokkaido in winter. They are unfeasible […]

    • November 26, 2021
    • October 1, 2022

    Japan Travel Tips: Powder Snow in Asahikawa, the Best Place to Ski

    Real estate bubble in Niseko Ginza is the area in Tokyo well known as a luxury area. The above image (the thumbnail image) is Ginza 4th block’s intersection. The area holds the highest land price record in Japan: about 500,000 USD/sqm. On the other hand, the average land price is less than 200 USD/sqm around here in Asahikawa, Hokkaido. However, if it’s about the appreciation rate of land price, the No.1 area is in Hokkaido. It’s Niseko. The land price increased at about 50% last year, staying on top in the appreciation rate of land price for these six years. Even during the COVID crisis, foreign companies have continued to buy land, and the boom of construction of luxury resort hotels has never stopped. Niseko, developed by one Australian guy, Ross Findlay More than 20 years ago, Niseko was just a small town, where local poor college students like me […]

    • October 5, 2021
    • September 21, 2022

    Where to Visit in Hokkaido: A New Sustainable Hotel in Sapporo

    We went all over the world, staying at cheap hotels I went all over the world (for business, though) together with my boss (current chairman) before the COVID. It was common for us to visit multiple countries at a time. This may sound gorgeous, but it was tough. Making matters worse, I always chose cheap hotels to contain costs. In some hotels, we felt like we might as well sleep in a tent outside. My boss (then president) often complained “Please sell more furniture, make more money, and let me stay at better hotels.” This year, he resigned from the president position, and we will never go on overseas business trips together. I feel sorry I couldn’t fulfill his wish in the end, though I always enjoyed the penniless trips with him. New eco-friendly hotel in Sapporo, Royal Park Canvas Last week, the chairman came to my desk and talked […]

    • July 22, 2021
    • September 15, 2022

    Where to Visit in Hokkaido: Japanese Mecca of Wooden Furniture

    Did you know Haagen-Dazs was originated in the US? I thought it came from somewhere in North Europe, which, I assume, would be exactly what the brand founder intended. Let me tell you another example. In Japan, canned coffee is one of the profitable items in the canned-drink market. A Japanese beverage company launched a canned coffee named with “WEST” about 20 years ago, but it didn’t sell at all. They just changed the name to “BOSS,” and it became a big hit and still sells very well. The lesson we can learn here is names are important, sometimes more important than the contents. In that sense, the name of our hometown (ASAHIKAWA) is at a disadvantage outside Japan because it’s not easy for non-Japanese people to pronounce. In fact, even most of our overseas business partners may not remember the name correctly, I guess. Today, I’d like to show […]