Summertime Be Gone!

Ah yes. The cool Hokkaido summers. Where temperatures stay pleasant and mild. No need for air conditioning. No humidity. These lies still get pushed upon us. Those lies gave us an Olympic Marathon and the ridiculousness of the Run-Walk. (Come on. This is a sport?) These lies kill quite a few elderly people up here. […]

Heiwa Waterfall Snowshoe

This past year I explored the trails and waters around Heiwa Waterfall quite a lot. I took the trail up the backside of Mt. Teine in early summer and caught iwana (Arctic Char) above the waterfall on both bait (salmon eggs) and hand tied tenkara flies. I even did some low-level stream climbing (sawanobori) to […]

Nakamura General Store (Old Sapporo Buildings #3)

Every day on my morning walk I pass the Nakamura General Store (中村商店), or shouten as they say in the common parlance. It primarily sells Japanese sake and other alcohol. Somehow they are hanging in there, even with a massive Sapporo Drug Store right on its doorstep across the street. Less and less of these […]

Nopporo Forest Park

Some decent snowfall overnight brought levels up for some decent snowshoeing in and around the city. We took a drive out to Nopporo Forest Park, near Ebetsu, to explore its trails. Although most of the trails are groomed, there are a lot of open spaces for some great snowshoeing. We started at the visitor/nature center […]

Heiwa Waterfall White-Spotted Char

For the last several summers I have hiked the backside of Teine (手稲), Sapporo’s main ski mountain, starting from the Heiwa waterfall (平和の滝) and following the the Hassamu-Kotoni River (発寒琴似川) along the trail. It’s quite the hike. The small stream above the falls runs about a kilometer before a man-made dam blocks any fish moving […]

General Store (Old Sapporo Buildings #2)

Another morning walk encounter. This stalwart purple block unit hasn’t been open for at least a decade (we believe). The ground floor remains permanently shuttered.  Yet the electricity still pipes through to the two vending machines. Don’t know if they generate enough income to even pay the utility bill.

Fishmonger / Dry Cleaner (Old Sapporo Buildings #1)

Starting a series documenting some of the old buildings I come across in my walks around Sapporo. Today’s comes from my morning route up Asahiyama along Asahiyama-Dori. In the day time the right/yellow half is a fish shop. What is more interesting is the blue dry cleaner sign on the left side, which hasn’t been […]

Toyohira Rainbow Trout Wonderland

Last weekend we cycled down to the Toyohira River, amongst the urban sprawl, to try and catch some yamame. The few times we bait fished on this stretch last year saw moderate success: a few yamame, some ugui, some sunburn. This time our result was unlike anything I have experienced this close to the city. […]

COVID-19 and the Image of “Safe” Japan

For as long as I have lived here, Japan has always evoked this image as a “safe” country. “Safe” in the immediate physical harm sense, I could go on ad nauseam about the “unsafe” nature of the overall business/workplace culture to the human psyche. But in terms of my physical safety, I probably haven’t lived […]