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Viewing the Disputed Kuril Islands from the Shiretoko Peninsula

Hokkaido’s remote Shiretoko Peninsula in the far northeastern corner of Japan was a place I’d wanted to go ever since I spent a ski season in Sapporo. At the time I’d made a trip out that way to Abashiri (famous for its once-notorious prison) and taken an ice-breaker cruise out on the frozen Sea of Okhotsk,

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A Suggested Hokkaido Ski Tour Route

Rusutsu ski resort, Hokkaido

Hokkaido’s powder is legendary, and the larger resorts like Niseko and Furano have been popular for years now with international powder hounds, especially those from Australia and New Zealand (what with the opposite hemisphere seasons and the lack of jet lag involved between there and Japan).

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My 0.5 Seconds of Fame: The Time I Appeared in a Japanese TV Commercial!

I was in Sapporo for the ski season, filling my boots with Hokkaido’s legendary powder snow. The snow was so good I rather fancied another season, and was looking for a job as an English teacher to stay for the summer and the following winter. I didn’t land one as it turned out (due to visa issues) and left town at the end of the season,

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Sapporo to Kyoto by local train; a bizarre encounter in Tomakomai, the dog-eat-dog-politely world of busy Japanese trains, and a heroic last stand in Hiraizumi

Part One: A Bizarre Encounter at Tomakomai Station

“Hey. Fuck you!”

…what the? I heard this woman before I ever saw her; she’d sneaked up behind me while I was on the phone and suddenly started screaming in my free ear…

“Fuck you! Hey, fuck you!”

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