Back home after a three day Car Danchi shoot in Tomamu Alpha Resort! Felt good to be in the mountains shooting and trying to avoid watching the non-stop coverage of the disaster here in Japan. Impossible to avoid the news completely, in fact it is a necessity as we watch the events unfold at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. A true nightmare that has deeply affected everyone here in Japan. My Non Japanese friends seem to be taking it the hardest, many have already left the country on extended holidays, and some are debating it by the minute as we wait to see if they can get the situation under control.
As for the snowboard/ski industry it has been a very hard blow. Every single event that was scheduled for the rest of this season has been canceled across the country. From what I am hearing resorts in Nagano and Niigata will be closing as early as March 25th and most by the end of this month. I am assuming that the main reason for the early closures is the difficulty in obtaining gasoline. It must take a huge amount of gasoline to run a ski resort (groomers etc.,) and right now the shortages are very real. People are lining up for hours just to get a ration of 10 liters for their car, so you can imagine that it must be tough to get hundreds of liters. Electricity is another concern I am sure, with continuing rolling blackouts in the greater Tokyo area there is a lot of pressure to cut down on usage and I think the ski areas are feeling the pressure.
So it looks like the season will be cut short on the main island. This will in turn be a huge hit for the local community’s that need those resorts to survive. Hotels, shops, resturants etc., are already hurting now that the customers have stopped coming…. The filter down effect from this will be felt for a long time I am sure. Everybody is doing what they can to support the people hit hardest on the coastal areas hit by the Tsunami. Donations, food, cash etc is pouring in. It is great to see the kindness love from around the world. Lets keep that flow going where ever you are, remember to get out there and support all kind of business, because in the end this will be good for everyone around the country. This is not the time to lock yourself away in your house, unless your are living within the 30kl radious of the Fukushima Power Plant, then by all means please stay indoors.
Here in Hokkaido I am not hearing about any early closures at the resorts, hopefully they will be able to keep things running through the end of Golden week as always.
I have become quite addicted to watching Youtube clips of the tsunami, as I am sure many others are. Here is a clip I found yesterday. Shot by someone who just escaped by running into a nearby building it captures the rawness of the moment. It then shows how other people around the building survived the massive wave.
Now here is a site that shows before and after pictures of the many towns and villages hit by the Tsunami. It is interactive and kind of shocking to look at. Thanks to my Mom for the link to this one.
On a brighter note, had a fun trip with the Car Danchi boys in Tomamu. We were there to try and ride the heli and live the celebrity life as best we could considering the mood of the nation. The weather was good, but we had to deal with some serious wind. Wind that kept the heli on the ground for most of the time we were there…. It was the same wind that was blowing the radiation out to sea at the Fukushima power plant, so we couldn’t real complain. We did get one ride in the helicopter so I am sure that will make it into the movie. The resort life for a blast and we eat some good food at the new resurant they have there called Hal! Thanks to Tomamu for the great hospitality and hope we can make it back again next year!