Cool! Shiribeshi

  • Written by Mitchel Lange, a Niseko transplant from Seattle, USA. He currently works as a Coordinator for International Relations in the Niseko Town Hall.

    I’ve been in Japan since 2014 and if there’s anything I’ve learned since coming here it’s to stay open minded. After graduating from university with a degree in Japanese, I didn’t want to be limi...

  • In March I flew home to Australia to see family and friends for the first time in two years. Australia had some of the world's strictest travel restrictions through the pandemic, so I was expecting an arduous immigration process. To my surprise it turned out to be a breeze. After showing my vaccination certificates and negative PCR test results along with my passport, I was free to enter the country.

  • The most important thing in sports for me is for it to be fun. Sure I have been frustrated or even cried after losing. But overall, I was having fun and would be back training and in the next competition fighting for the win.

  • Makkari is where we call home. Like many people living in Hokkaido, we emigrated from elsewhere. And like many Hokkaido residents, we absolutely LOVE living here! However, arriving in Makkari was by pure chance. So how did we come to be here?

  • At my workplace we have a long tradition of the so-called seminar, or abbreviated zemi. The term refers to a class at a university in which a small group of students gather to conduct their own research under the guidance of a teacher, and then present and discuss their findings. This is also referred to as active learning as opposed to passive learning, which is the traditional way of learning featuring one-way lecturing in large classrooms. Although active learning has become a recent buzzword in Japanese education, the seminar has a long history in Japan and goes back to the Meiji era (1868-1912) when Japan borrowed the seminar concept (and the name) from the German educational system. In fact, the seminar was a notable feature of Kyoto Imperial University, established in 1897.

  • Otaru: population 110,410, households 61,914. This is what it read at the entrance of Otaru’s City Council a few days ago. A sign of many single-person households, a declining and ageing population, and young people abandoning the city for greener pastures.

  • Empty lines at Kiroro and Hirafu for ski lifts that are normally bustling with international tourists. Socially distanced crowds in multipurpose rooms and town centers throughout Shiribeshi, everyone waiting at government sponsored vaccination drives. Crossed-out dates on calendars for travel plans booked before the string of emergencies in Hokkaido. Mental images like these may come to mind when thinking back on life in Shiribeshi throughout 2021.

  • Sometimes Niseko residents ask me why their little potato farming towns have become so popular among foreigners, and why people are paying so much money to buy land and build homes here. The underlying reason is simple – this is paradise. The very best of Japanese nature, culture and lifestyle is available in abundance in Niseko.

  • When I first visited Hokkaido years ago as a college student, I was surprised. I knew that the prefecture was far from places like Tokyo, but I didn’t expect it to feel so different. In my mind, Japan was Japan. Sure, different places have their own local customs, but I assumed that everywhere would more or less follow the same template. Having lived in Niseko for multiple years now, I can say with certainty that Hokkaido’s, particularly Niseko’s, culture has a couple of surprising similarities with my home country of the United States.

  • Today is the official Shiribeshi Hug your Husband day. It is very important that all wives in the Shiribeshi area give their husbands a big hug today.