As mentioned in earlier blog posts I live in regional Japanese town Kutchan. Although I work and play in Hirafu most of the time, it is nice to explore my local community as it feels more authentically Japanese.
Kutchan has a small ski field near the station called Asahigaoka ski field. It is a mere JPY1,500 for a day pass or JPY1,000 for night riding pass.
The weekend passed Asahigaoka ski field was holding an event called Yukitopia (yuki meaning snow) and it was so much more than what I was expecting.
The air was electric with community spirit, adorable kids were running around in puffy onesies, food stalls upon food stalls filled the air with sweet smells, it felt like a local fare at home… yet Japanese.
One of the highlights was the sliding water trial! I kinda wish I knew about this prior to the event so I could enter… having said that one of my mates and competitors said that was no excuse, why not enter now? Good point.
There was a treasure hunt for kids, snow slide, snow tube and snow mobile rides and performances. The freestyle snowmobiling show was a thrill, the commentary was almost as entertaining as the show. Calls like “one hando” and “big straighto air” mixed with Aerosmiths don’t want to miss a thing blaring on the speaker was an odd choice… but so Japanese, you can’t question this country.
That evening Yoko and I took the train to Niseko Village, one of the four resort areas of Niseko. The village is small and has a regional Japanese mountain town feel to it.
One thing Japanese people know how to do is throw a party. Their festivals are amazing, everyone is so bubbly and fun and the food is always delicious!
Niseko Village was hosting a yakiniku night (like outdoor barbecue night). There were snow sculptures decorated by candles, a snow slide which was a blast and of course food and drink!!
For JPY1,500 you get an assortment of meat and veg and then you get a barbecue. Niseko weather is variable to say the least. When we got there it was a clear night, soon enough however the wind picked up and we were barbecuing in a blizzard. Needless to say the guys who kept the wood burning had their work cut out for them.
The price of your ticket also included access to the onsen which you can redeem later or during the night. Smart people sat in the onsen after their meal until the fireworks. We got carried away with the whole thing and completely forgot about the fireworks, leaving before they went off.
Not that we cared, our stomachs were full, our ears were satisfied by, funnily enough, an ABBA soundtrack and we got air on the slide!
This is Japan.