• An app that judges snowboarding moves is shown on a smartphone next to a sensor that attaches to the snowboard.

    A research group at Future University Hakodate is developing a smartphone app that judges snowboarding tricks like jumps and turns, utilizing artificial intelligence to help amateur board riders im...

  • From January 28 to 30, Lake Shuparo in Yubari will feature an "ice carousel" ride made from cutting a circle shape in the frozen lake surface and spinning it. This fun idea originated in Northern Europe. At night, bon fires will blaze, creating a magical atmosphere. A person involved with the event expressed hope that, "this will grow to be a new winter Yubari event tradition."

  • "Ice wine" is popular for its condensed sweetness, and ice wine grape harvesting began early in the morning on December 20 at an Ikeda Grape and Wine Research Institute field in the Tokachi region. Amidst the harsh coldness of 13 degrees below zero, 16 workers carefully picked grapes of the original Ikeda "Yamasachi" grape variety.

  • The Gunma Symphony Orchestra (Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture), known as a pioneer among regional orchestras, held a free, impromptu concert in the town of Rishiri on the island of Rishiri in northern Hokkaido. After performing for students from three elementary and junior high schools, the ferry that the orchestra was due to take back to Wakkanai was cancelled because of a storm. However, a nice touch in taking advantage of the available schedule meant that the warm, beautiful tones resonated in the hearts of the townspeople.

  • Messages of congratulations flooded in from locals on December 18, the day after Loco Solare, the women’s curling team from the city of Kitami, beat Korea in the first play-off match of the pre-Olympic qualification event for the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, to qualify for their second consecutive Olympics.

  • Professor Dong Mianxiong (40) and his wife, Associate Professor Ota Kaoru (37), both of Muroran Institute of Technology – have been selected as two of the 2021 highly-cited researchers published by Clarivate Analytics, a U.S. information company. This is the second time since 2019 that the couple has been included in the list, which evaluates the frequency of which papers by the world’s researchers are cited by others. The couple are two of only four people in Japan to have been listed in the field of computer science, including information and communication technology.

  • In the Central Hokkaido town of Atsuma, relocation and renovation work is currently progressing on the "Former Yamaguchi House", an old folk house in the town, after initially being held back due to the impact of the Hokkaido Eastern Iburi Earthquake. Completion is slated for the spring of 2022. A general incorporated association in Atsuma plans to open a restaurant and residential inn in the building and feature local foods in its menu.

  • Japan secured a spot in the Beijing Olympics' women's curling tournament, when Loco Solare beat South Korea's team 8-5 in Friday's playoffs at the Olympic qualification event. The win by Japan's Pyeongchang Olympic bronze medalists over the silver medal-winning South Korean team earned Japan a berth at the seventh straight Winter Olympics since the first women's tournament took place at the 1998 Nagano Games.

  • Baby red panda twins, which were born in July, have gone on display at Kushiro Zoo in eastern Hokkaido. On November 24, the baby red pandas and their mother, Asunaro (5 years old female) were displayed in the outdoor enclosure, where the twins could be seen playing vigorously with each other and running after their mother. When the babies tried desperately to climb up the wooden playground equipment, visitors to the zoo cheered and urged them to “hang-in there”.

  • Sapporo Okadama Airport Bldg. Co., Ltd. held a propeller-plane sightseeing flight over the Shakotan Peninsula and Lake Shikotsu in the city of Chitose on November 28, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the airport building's opening, which will occur in February 2022. During the flight, 40 participants enjoyed magnificent views of Hokkaido from the sky.