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20 January 2011

Skiing with Australians on powder snow

Last week I went to Niseko Ski resort in Hokkaido, Northernmost island of Japan.

PIC_3105.JPGThe ski slopes there is famous for powder snow, which skiers can ski very smoothly even in deep new snow. I could ski like this.


The Niseko town also has good hot spring bath (Onsen). Very healthy hot bath water that warms you up after you become cold by skiing or snowboarding.

But the most notable thing for me was that the town was almost occupied by foreigners mainly by Australians. The town has recently become very famous among Australians where the season is opposite, which they want to get away from the heat. It is like Hawaii or Gold Coast for Japanese.

I felt like staying in foreign ski resort like Switzerland or Canada. Thanks! Great experience.

By the way, if you are Australian who plans to visit Niseko, please see the following video which shows my experience in the trip including the scenes from Tokyo and other cities in Hokkaido. You can enjoy great snow views.


04 May 2010

Film"Avatar" is like what's happening in Okinawa

James Cameron's world's biggest box hit film after "Titanic". An ex-US Marine man arrived on a planet and joined the native people by getting his brain signals into artificial figure of that native man. His mission was to blend in their community and negotiate with them in order to dig natural resources from their land.

Well, I did not really enjoy it because the story was cliche and animation scenes were not impressive maybe because I did not see 3D version. I watched it on DVD. After an hour, I just skipped chapters. I would rather like to see a full animated version of the film than mixture of real and animation.

The bottom line is that is the America's apology and remource to native Americans, Iraqi, Afghans, and global environmental destruction. But to me it is really hypocritical after years of deception and wrong doings. Isn't that what they talked about 30 years ago after Vietnam war?


Anyway, if they think they have been doing wrong, why not they rethink current destruction of great nature in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan?

It is taking place in the Henoko Sea right next to US marines' Camp Shwab. It was designated as the relocation site for Futenma base in Ginowan city on the same island. The coral sea is just beautiful. To me, it is better than Guam, Hawaii, Cancoon, and Kota Kinabalu.


Endangered marine mammal, dugongs habitat were recognized.

But construction of runway has been planned on that sea for the US marines by Japanese tax payers' money.

Is it for Japan's defense? No. US military deployed in Japan never functioned as Japan's defense. US marines use Japanese facilities for their training and missions. Well, this issue is very complicated. As you learn more about this issue, you can find Japan side has more to blame. In summary Japanese government can let most of US military leave Japan once they decide to do because there is no merit for Japan by the US military presence and the US military has no more strategic interest in Japan since the Cold War era ended.

However, if the US declares to withdraw troops from Japan without any relocation within Japan, this problem can be easily solved.

On May 4 2010, Japan's prime minister Hatoyama Yukio visited Okinawa governor and mayor of Nago city where Camp Shwab is located. Last month he said "destroying the sea by reclaiming is blaspheming the nature" but later he announced the plan to construct runway by QIP (placing sticks on the sea ground to support runway) format. He is crazy. It is just as destructive to the environment as reclaiming.

The Henoko has shrine on the coast. That god made him say that, I believe.


Or the charm I left in the wire on the beach. The wire divides the beach from restricted area. The charm is what I bought at the Admiral Togo Shrine in Tokyo.


However this construction plan will never be done because Okinawans and even the U.S. military oppose this newly fixed plan. Last September Japan experienced the change of governing party, then the relocation plan got on the review. After months of turmoil left distrust to the Japanese government and the U.S..

But I think this is great progress for Japanese to raise awareness that the U.S. military is nothing but trash and Japan has to defend its country all by themselves. Defending such beautiful sea like the below video from invaders.


But interesting history exists in Okinawa. Okinawa used to be an independent kingdom like Hawaii and Guam. But late 19th century Japanese government took over and annexed to the Empire of Japan. After the world war 2, the U.S. military grounded the island and had occupied until 1972. That is why tens of bases are located in Okinawa. The below photo is recreation of palace of what was called the Ryukyu Kingdom. This place is Okinawa's most famous tourist spot, called Shurijo.  


15 April 2010

Connie Francis's "I'm gonna be warm this winter"

The lyric starts with "We met at the Ski lodge, and we fell in love."

I like this song because this reminds me of my ski trip this year.

I've visited 6 ski resorts this year from January to March. I really enjoyed.

The last ski slope I visited was Shiga Highland in Nagano Prefecture. That is where my favorite ski film was shot.

In 1998, winter Olympic was held there.

I skied from one ski slope to another crossing mountains. It was a blizzard day. Very hard to ski but I enjoyed it.

See the below video clip or this site.

Next day was very clear day, so I just enjoyed skiing on the slope. See the below video or this site.

The song matches with the below video.

Not just skiing, I enjoyed bathing in hot spring bath. That is the way Japanese skiers enjoy skiing.

Getting cold on the ski slope and then taking a hot spring bath afterwards. It made me really warm.

Speaking of warming myself, I got warm by trip to Okinawa in late March.

Warming myself seeing emerald green sea. See this site or the below.


Yes, I was warm this year's winter.

Now after my long vacation period was over, working hard in concrete jungle.

That is totally different world. I don't know how to express my current situation.

21:50 Posted in Leisure, Music, Sports, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: ski, snow

14 March 2010

Film"The Last Emperor" Japan and China

I've seen this movie a few times in the past. But I watched it on TV last week during my ski trip to Naeba, Niigata Prefecture, Japan.

True story of the last emperor of Sino dynasty, Pu Yin, who was crowned at the age of 3. Since he became the emperor, he had been like imprisoned in the Forbidden City Palace until the revolution kicked him out from there. After that, he was used by Japanese imperial army to set up puppet state called Manchuria Empire. He was crowned as emperor again but again he could never actually rule the country, only used as puppet.

The film described how Japan exploited him for its greedy purpose. I know history about that. Pu Yin was accused of treason for his collaboration with Japanese but acquitted.

A few years ago, Japanese TV station produced a mini-series drama of Pu Yin's brother who joined the Japanese army and married Japanese peer's daughter. The story was from Japanese wife Soga Hiro's perspective. The brothers believed they could establish truely good state for Chinese but Japanese only used them to expand their territory and steel resources from Chinese.

Today not many Japanese know about this part of history, especially youngsters don't. Many Chinese visit Japan for tourism. Last week I saw many Chinese skiing in Naeba Ski Resort in Niigata. They seem to enjoy skiing and bathing in hot spring. Not just Naeba, I've seen Chinese skiers in other ski slopes such as Zao in Yamagata, and Shizukuishi in Iwate. These days skiing has become popular sport in China and skiing in Japanese ski slopes is greatest status for them.

I am so glad many Chinese come here and enjoyed although very sad things happened between the two nations.

I hope they enjoyed magnificient view of Naeba like this.


14:22 Posted in China, Film, Leisure, Sports, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: ski, history