We have invited people who have immigrated from abroad and are now living in the Shiribeshi region of central Hokkaido to contribute columns from a variety of perspectives. The columns appear in Japanese in the morning edition of the Hokkaido Shimbun newspaper every other Monday. https://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/series/s_cool_otaru
In this section, the columns are posted in the author's original text.
【Column】The Magnetic Power of Mt Yotei
I can see Mt Yotei from my bedroom. The first thing I do after I wake up each morning is look towards it, and remember a quote: “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
When I see Mt Yotei first thing in the morning I think how lucky I am to be alive and living in Shiribeshi.
My phone is full of photos of this one mountain. Several times a week a particular view of Mt Yotei will stop me in my tracks. It might be clouds forming a cap over its peak, or sunlight casting a pink or orange glow over it. Sometimes it will just be its perfect silhouette against a brilliant blue or purple evening sky.
It is either covered in snow, cloaked in green, or somewhere in between. Every season, every day, and often every hour offers a new scene that I constantly find myself trying to capture for eternity.
Many people from all over Japan have been attracted to live in this area over the past 50 years, and I think Mt Yotei has something to do with that. I believe Mt Yotei has a magnetic power that draws people to it. I understand it was also a sacred mountain for the Ainu.
Until the international ski boom in Niseko, very few foreigners had heard of Mt Yotei. Now it is an international icon of Niseko and Japanese skiing. People coming here for holidays in winter are told they will be lucky if they see the peak without clouds on it. If they are lucky and the clouds do part, phones and cameras start snapping away to try to capture this rare moment that can only be experienced here.
Often people ask me why Niseko is the one ski resort in Japan that has become so popular. Of course the powder snow, food and friendliness of the people. But there is also an x-factor here – an x-factor is something that can’t necessarily be explained, but that makes something extra special. I think the power of Mt Yotei might be the x-factor that has made Niseko so popular with people around the world. It really is a special mountain and a natural treasure of the Shiribeshi region.