May 29, 2016
When most hikers in Hokkaido hear ‘Sounkyo’, most think of Kuro-dake (黒岳, 1984 m), the jagged peak over the back of which the huge playground of the Daisetsuzan sprawls. The southern face of the Sounyko gorge is steep, but aided by a gondola ropeway and a chairlift, the trek to Kuro-dake’s summit isn’t particularly difficult. The north face of the gorge, however, has no such convenience.
Panorama-dai (パノラマ台, 1010 m) is an outcrop overlooking the Sounkyo Onsen village on the north side of the gorge. I’d seen it on maps but I hadn’t heard much about it other than that, so I decided to go check it out with some friends when we had a free afternoon.
Continue reading “Panorama-dai (Sounkyo) パノラマ台（層雲峡）”
May 5, 2016
I had the family in Hokkaido a couple of weeks ago so I decided to tackle a smaller hill nearer to home: Horoiwa-yama (幌岩山, 376 m). It’s not a particularly high mountain, nor is it well-known outside of the area, but the easy climb and its vantage over Lake Saroma make it pretty popular with anyone wanting to get outside in the Okhotsk at basically any time of year.
Continue reading “Horoiwa-yama 幌岩山”
He says, “Charles-sensei, I want you to spin me.”
He’s hanging on the side of one of those spinning contraptions you see in playgrounds. In Japan, they’re called chikyuugi, and are large, spherical. His face is very, very serious. For a seven-year-old.
“I want you to spin me. I want you to spin, spin like you want to send me flying.”
Continue reading “Chikyuugi”
Author’s note: Look, I’m an English major, and the way that we did things when I studied how to write (and the way that we still do things (I think)) is to get a little poncy with English, bandy around terms like ‘meta-irony’ and ‘normative’ and ‘austrocentrism’. The ostensible explanation for this being that we need extra-specific words for what we’re talking about; and being able to drop words like these arguably increases a writer’s, like, intellectual trust. I know it might seem like posturing, but I promise I have something important to say.
Continue reading “On meta-irony”
Japow has been bigger than ever this year, and I’m here to give you a master class on coming to the Land of the Rising Sun and getting the most out of your time here. Are you writing a piece on your trip to Hokkaido? Read on–I’ve got the tips and tricks that will have the pageviews rolling in–and you rolling in the revenue! Continue reading “Shredding Gnar Japow in Niseko, Hokkaido, Epic Pow Slaying Shreddage”
April 2, 2016
Well, this is the big one. Literally. At 2291 meters above sea level, Asahi-dake is the highest mountain in Hokkaido, and an item near the top of every Hokkaido backcountry skier’s to-do list. At least, it was for me.
Continue reading “Asahi-dake 旭岳”
Hey so has anyone ever noticed that Japanese snacks, especially the candies and drinks in convenience stores, follow a bit of a flavor pattern? Like one month, the different brands all release a bunch of x-flavored candies, and the next, almost in sync, you start seeing y-flavored candies and drinks?
Continue reading “Flavor of the Now: Orange”