Hokkaido sightseeing

    • January 14, 2022

    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. The world’s largest whisky collection If […]

    • January 6, 2022

    Do You Know How to Turn Around a Business?

    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

    Do You Know How to Make Snow Scupltures?

    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. It’s really difficult or almost impossible to gain back lost systems or know-how. 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 without support from the public sector, […]

    • November 26, 2021

    The Reason Hokkaido Is the Best Place to Ski

    One area in Hokkaido sees super rise in land price Ginza is the area in Tokyo well known as a luxury area. The above 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. It’s Niseko, developed by one Australian guy More than 20 years ago, Niseko was just a small town, where local poor college students like […]

    • October 5, 2021

    This Is 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. He 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 Last week, the chairman came to my desk and talked to me delightedly. This is the […]

    • July 22, 2021

    Do You Know Where Japanese Mecca of Wooden Furniture Is?

    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 […]