Festival in Jozankei

The annual “Kappa Week” festival is coming up in early August here in Jozankei.  I just got the flyer for the event so will share with you all here.

The first flyer was made by the local tourist association, and it covers info about the whole week long program of events.  Certainly it is not the most stylish flyer, but it gets the job done.

Next up is the  flyer made by the Yamada Laboratory.  It is much more on the stylish side and this one covers the art related events taking place during the festival.

The On Cafe crew will be at “Gensen Park” cooking hot dogs and selling iced cucumbers, cookies, flowers and more.  The park will serve as an open cafe all week long, so as long as the weather holds, there should be good times had by all!


Sketch it up

Recently went through an old sketch book I had laying around the house and found a bunch  of stuff that I have forgotten about.  This is a sketch book I had since I was in elementary school back in the states.  Somehow it has stayed with me for the last 26 years.  I found a few pages filled with storyboarding from the very first snowboard film I made called “Introduction”.  This is one of the movies I am planning on reissuing on DVD this year.  I might use some of these scans in the package design or maybe for a menu on the dvd.

Now check out some of the classic sketches I did when I  was about 12.  I have never been much of an artist as you can see from the sketches, but after 26 years it is kind of fun to see what I was doing at the time.

Is this my Bin Laden sketch?  This was long before Al Qaida was a known word, maybe I had a premonition.


Yo MJ!  Actually looks like MJ crossed with Mr. T check out the thick neck!

Side note, I have now idea why I initialed these sketchs as N.J.  There is no J in my name…. must have been my sketch name.

Keep sketching everybody!


Sunday I had a job shooting photos for a North Face sponsored event at the Sapporo Factory. By the time that was all done it was time for me to drive directly to Furano. I had another hotel to shoot and I wanted to get there early in order to shoot with the sunrise.

Nice room with a view

Nice lavendar pots sitting on the table.

Lavender field!

Check it out I am in full nature photographer mode!  Butterfly in action!

Entrance way.

Interesting note.  This property was originally built by an insurance company.  So was the hotel I shot last week in Jozankei.  Both were what is known as “Hoyojo” in Japanese.  Not sure what the exact translation is, but basically it is a property owned by a company and used exclusively by the company employees.  Company retreats, seminars, maybe a place to bring important clients etc.,  Well now the insurance companies are all going down the drain and they are selling off their properties at bargain basement prices.  So a few smart hotel owners are buying them up.  A quick remodel and bingo you have a high end hotel open for business!

This is truly an incredible property, secluded, huge peice of land, lavender field, garden, 25 rooms, 5 minutes from Furano Ski area, French quisine etc., etc.,

Canoe at Lake Sapporo

Hoheikyo Onsen here in Jozankei is starting up a new canoe tour service.  I went out with the guides for a tour around the lake a few weeks ago.  Great spot although it can get a little rough if the wind picks up.  This is a lake created by the Sapporo Dam, hence the very creative name “Lake Sapporo”.  Wow, how do they think up these names?  The tour comes with Iced Chai tea and a hot spring bath after you get back to Hoheikyo!

You can find full details on the Hoheikyo web site here.

Breaking my D2x

About ten days ago in Tokyo I had my old Nikon D2x set up on a tripod capturing a time lapse of Tokyo at night.  I was working on the computer nearby when I heard the camera make a funny sound and then stop shooting.  Turns out the shutter mechanism had completely broken, and it had actually captured it in the last few frames of the time lapse I was shooting, so check it out below.  First time I have ever broken the shutter on a camera.  That is what happens when you shoot lots of time lapse action.  Sometimes I was shooting over 10,000 shots a day with that camera.  Otsukaresama deshita. By the way, it cost me 34,000 yen to get it repaired.  Ouch.