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2006 the World

2006 Exploring the World

Dylan Christmas tree
Santa Tylin Tylin

Yamabushi

December 25, 2006, Gilbert Plains, Canada. I hope everybody had a Merry Christmas! Here at our house it was a very busy event with the whole family in attendance. We had to have the gift opening a couple days earlier because of work schedules but that didn't take away from the atmosphere at all. The kids running around make the coming of Santa so much more exciting. We were able to do a day skiing at the local ski area, it is small but perfect for first timers as well as play outside in the snow. I also brought a conch shell from Japan home for everyone to try. The girls did surprisingly well. It sure is great to be here for Christmas!

GP chainsaw snowshoe
snowshoe winter Canadian
window whitetail

December 20, 2006, Gilbert Plains, Canada. Merry Christmas!
It is so nice to be home for Christmas! I've taken some time off to spend the holidays here with family. I've been out snowshoeing close to home as well as at Singush. The northern lights last night were beautiful! At our cabin we cut down some dead trees and only a few hours later the local deer were munching away at the lichen that was previously unreachable. The winter snowscape here in Manitoba is fantastic! We have been wrapping presents and getting food ready for the rest of the family who will be home soon. I can hardly wait!!

Bonenkai1 Bonenkai2

Bonenkai3 Bonenkai4 Bonenkai5

Bonenkai7 Bonenkai6

December 8, 2006, Tanabe. At the end of the year in Japan almost all offices and work places have a party called Bonenkai which literally means 'Forget the year party'!! Our office did our best to forget the year; we started with seafood hotpot at a beautiful restaurant and then moved onto a Karaoke bar. I always seem to get in trouble because I steal the microphone and make up my own songs all the time. I think I'm on Japan's Karaoke black list. Then to finish off the celebration we ate ramen noodles at a quaint little restaurant tucked into a tiny alley. The bike rides between venues was also quite the adventure. Thank you Bureau for a fun and exciting Bonenkai!!

Kaiten Osaka

Osaka Osaka

November 25-26, 2006, Osaka. I haven't had a chance to visit the bustling industrial city of Osaka since I arrived, so I took full advantage of my first days off and headed north to the concrete jungle. It was really fun to meet old friends and do some shopping for Christmas presents. I found some cute stickers for my nieces that I'm sure they will love; I'm not sure about my sister-in-law though as she will find them stuck on everything in the house! I also made my rounds to the book store, conveyor belt sushi restaurant and the gigantic electronics stores. They are furiously busy and crowded at the best of times but are especially chaotic now with the cell phone companies battling it out, their young staff dressed in provocative plastic clothes screaming into megaphones, trying to outdo each other as they jostle for customers in the throngs of humanity spewing through the doors. Usually I can spend hours perusing the aisles of every make and model of gadgets on the planet, but this time I just couldn't handle the pressure cooker atmosphere. But I'm sure my wallet was happy though!!!

Kodo Kodo

Kumano mochi

Monkey Otani

nachi Obako-toge wooden Yunomine

November 17-21, 2006, Nachi to Koyasan Pilgrimage. For the last five days two friends and I traversed through the sacred cultural landscape of the Kii peninsula from Kumano Nachi Taisha on the south coast to the temple filled Koyasan plateau in the north. In total we walked 70 kms along the World Heritage pilgrimage routes including the sections of the Nakahechi route between Nachi and Hongu (2 days) and the Kohechi route from Totsugawa to Koyasan (2 days). The higher elevations of the Kohechi route were covered in the beautiful colors of autumn leaves. I was especially moved by a small Shinto shrine close to Koyasan. The Torii shrine gate was dwarfed by massive Japanese momiji maple trees in full color. Truly awe-inspiring! The weather was great except for our day in Hongu when it rained, filling the valleys with magical mist. Instead of hiking we decided to take a rest day and catch a little bit of the local festival. The mochi scramble is a common finale to events. Mochi is a round rice cake smaller than an ice hockey puck but similar in shape. It is made from glutinous rice that has been steamed, pounded into a paste, shaped and dried. People gather, usually in front of some sort of stage and furiously collect them as they fall from the sky. It is always a highlight of these gatherings, especially in the countryside. I went to one festival earlier this year and one of the participants told me that they always have the mochi scramble at the end, because if they did it at the beginning everyone would go home early. He told me that - It is all about the mochi Brad, it's all about the mochi!!!

Kankou

November 12, 2006 Tanabe, Japan. Tanabe has recently taken a serious plunge into promoting sustainable tourism to help revitalize the surrounding countryside. Subsequently we have been busy having workshops and talks to communicate our ideas and educate the general public about our goals for the future. Tanabe is not a big city but they have decided to go international as one of their marketing strategies. As I am the international tourism promotion guy I am the focus of quite a bit of attention. I was an assistant at one workshop last week and a panellist today. It is hectic but I'm getting a little more used to all of this media stuff, although I still get a kick out of seeing my face 1000 times its size on a massive screen during presentations!

Kohechi Kohechi Kohechi

Kohechi Kohechi

November 5th, 2006 Hongu, Japan. Sunday we walked the last section towards Hongu called the Hatenashi-toge pass. It is a steep climb that passed through a quaint mountain village before reaching the pass. The descent on the ridge was covered with freshly fallen leaves turning the trail into a patchwork of gold. Along this section of the trail 33 Kannon Bosatsu are enshrined in small statues. Some of them are covered in moss and add a spiritual atmosphere to the trail. As we broke though the clouds sunlight was scattered into rays by the braches of the trees lining the trail. The steams of light reflected brilliantly off of the morning mist. The mountains of Kumano are filled with beautiful surprises. I wonder what is around the next corner.

Kohechi Kohechi

mehari Kohechi-Group-Pix

November 4th, 2006 Totsugawa, Japan. After dropping Everett off at the airport I raced back into the mountains to walk the last 2 days of the Kumano Kodo Kohechi route. On Saturday morning as I climbed higher towards Miura-toge pass, once again a sea of clouds lapped against the tree lined mountains that stretched out below me. Well worth the early start! I met the other members of our group that had started in Koyasan the day before just after the pass. Yamabushi (mountain monks) use a conch shell during their ascetic practices in the mountains. I brought one along and it was such a great feeling to hear the deep vibration bellow across the valley and echo off into the distance. Saturday night we stayed in Totsugawa and enjoyed the hospitality, good food and hot onsen waters of Minshuku Yebisu.

Shishimai-Lion-Dance Tsuboyu-soak

Hongu-Taisha-Omairi Young-Samurai Nanakoshi-Photo-Shoot

November 3, 2006 Tanabe, Japan. Our day started very early and by 6:00am we were on the top of Nanakoshi, high on a ridge on the opposite side of the Kumano-gawa river from the Hongu town site. Mist floated in the valleys made the peaks of the surrounding mountains stand out like sacred islands in a billowing ocean of clouds. This time of year is a great time to see this phenomenon because the evening temperatures are finally starting to drop. After the sunrise we had breakfast at the ryokan and then headed to Takahara Jinja, another site on the Kumano Kodo closer to the coast. There were a couple of festivals that we attended. One was a re-enactment of a Heian period pilgrimage procession and one was an enchanting and entertaining lion dance. Before Everett flew back to Tokyo we had an onsen by the ocean at Shirahama and some sushi. A fantastic 2 days in Wakayama. Here are some websites where Everett?fs pictures were published.

-Australia Do a search for 'Kumano Kodo'
-England
-Argentina, another Argentina
-Korea
-Germany
-Venezuela
-Romania

There was also a full page spread in the South China Morning Post, the largest English language newspaper in Hong Kong.

Kyakkengura shoji-silhouette
Azumaya-Ryokan Irori

November 2, 2006 Hongu, Japan. Everett Brown, a photographer from the European Pressphoto Agency based out of Tokyo, came down for a 2 day photo shoot. He was a member of our press tour that we sponsored a few weeks ago and he wanted to come back to take more pictures. Kashimoto, my coworker partner in crime, was the model and dressed in Heian era (794-1185) clothes for the bulk of the time. We spent a lot of time on the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage trail at Toganoki-jaya, a beautiful old thatched roofed cabin with a traditional sunken Japanese irori fire place in the middle of the floor. We raced to Hakkengura, a great site on the ancient pilgrimage trail that connects Hongu with Nachi, to watch the sunset behind the layers of holy mountains, so peaceful and calm. On our way back down the mountain it was like a safari. We saw an owl, a deer and two tanoki ( Japanese raccoon dogs) within minutes of each other. We stopped at the Okukumano taiko clubhouse for 5 minutes to check out the massive drums before heading to the traditional Ryokan Azumaya in the Yunomine area for a well deserved nights rest..and some drinks!!!

Chainsaw Aikido

Ryujin Dinner
Brad Fushiogami-oji

Tanabe, Japan. On October 17-18, 2006 the recently created Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau held our first press tour. Eight people joined the tour including journalists, photographers, and TV related professionals. We watched the performance of Keiji Kidokoro-san turn a 100kg log into a beautiful sculpture of a bear in less than 45 minutes with roaring chainsaws in the mountainside village of Ryujin. Music blared as the sawdust flew throughout this powerful and exciting show. We stayed at a very old, traditional Japanese style inn. By the river there was a private outdoor hot spring bath to soak and relax. That night we had a delicious dinner. The second day we walked the ancient Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route in Hongu before heading into the city to try our hand at Aikido. The founder of this self defence based martial art, Ueshiba Morihei, is from Tanabe. Thanks to everyone that helped make our first Press Tour a huge success. One article written by a journalist from New Zealand based in Tokyo who writes and translates for the Mainichi Daily News is already online.

Buddha koya Shojin

fire Koya

Koya rock

October 12-13, 2006 Koya-san, Japan. Koya-san is a mountain top temple complex in northern Wakayama prefecture. It has a long and rich history of over 1200 years which you can still feel while strolling the temple lined streets. There are over 120 active temples and you can stay overnight in most of them. It is a fantastic way to experience the life of a monk, including waking up early for the morning rituals and eating Buddhist vegetarian cuisine. The head temple of the Shingon esoteric school of Buddhism is located here along with the founder Kukai 's (also known as Kobo Daishi 774-835) mausoleum. Kukai is still believed to be meditating in Okunoin, an expansive grave yard located at the east end of the village. It is a very popular place for tourists especially non-japanese so my co-worker and I went to see how they adapted to becoming a major tourist destination. It is one of my most favorite places in Japan.

Taiko after Taiko

aiyu river

October 7, 2006 Hongu, Japan. It's been 15 years since the taiko group Okukumanodaiko was created. It takes alot of hard work and dedication for a small rural community to maintain such a high level of performance group of any kind. To celebrate we had a 2 hour show in the old shrine grounds called Ooyunohara in Hongu. I haven't played with the group since 2002 so I was a bit nervous but it was so much fun, especially the party afterwards. I love fresh homemade japanese food. Congratulations Okukumanodaiko on your 15th anniversary!!!!

Nonaka-no-mizu Hana.jpeg Funatama

Hongu AkagiFrog

October 1, 2006 Tanabe, Japan. This last weekend I walked another section of the famous Kumano Kodo. This time it was from Takijiri-oji to Hongu with a japanese guide book writer. The weather was good on Saturday but rained all day Sunday. We stayed in a quaint little minshuku (guesthouse) in the small village of Nakahechi a short walk from the local onsen. I haven't walked this section in a long time. The last time was about 5 years ago. My knowledge of Japanese and of Japan has increased so much since then that it felt like my first time. I am so excited that I have the chance to learn more about this fantastic area of Japan.

Kumano Kumano Yama

Kumano Stone

September 28, 2006 Tanabe, Japan. The Kumano Kodo is an ancient pilgrimage trail in the mountians of the Kii-penisula of Japan. It is a network of routes connecting sacred sites. Starting from the Heian era people of all classes of society had the arduous journey into the lands of gods on these purifying trails. Today I walked the route from Hongu to Nachi falls. The Kumano Hongu Taisha and Kumano Nachi Taisha both World Heritage sites and part of the Kumano Sanzan on are either end. Usually it is a two day trip but I am a bit of a maniac and did it in one. The last pass before nachi had an amazing view across the holy mountainous landscape. I can see why people made pilgrimages here. The view was absolutely brilliant. The evening lighting turned the horizon into a sublime layered paradise of slightly different twilight shades of heaven. Breathtaking.

The Tanabe

Tanabe Kawayu Tsuboyu

September 10, 2006 Tanabe, Japan. The city where I'm living is crammed between rugged mountains and the ocean. The coastline is very diverse with lots of little bays separated by rocky capes. The green of the forest runs right to the edge of the water. Here and there between these rocky outcroppings are beaches. If fact one of Japan's biggest beach resorts, Shirahama, in located only a couple of kilometers away. The houses are really cramped together and it takes very skilled maneuvering to work your way through the labyrinthine corridors. There used to be a castle here but it has long since been destroyed. The medieval rulers purposely build the surrounding village disjointedly so that approaching armies would not be able to advance directly on them. This area escaped the devastation of WWII so the confusing streets remain. I've taken many early morning walks the enjoy this maze of houses. I've also had a chance to enjoy some ocean recreation, snorkeling and fishing, with some of my new friends.

Tokyo Fuji-san

Tokyo

Tokyo Tokyo

September 2, 2006 Tokyo, Japan. My first week on the job and I've already had my first business trip to the mega-city, Tokyo. I never imagined that I too would someday be walking around the streets of Tokyo in a suit, drunk, after a full day of exchanging business cards. Yes, like so many people before me, I too, joined the ranks of the famous society of the Drunk Japanese Salary Man. But it was a business trip with a twist, I had to dress up as a Yamabushi monk and walk around Nipponbashi, a major region in downtown Tokyo. The best reaction I got was from an old lady with a round face and huge toothless smile. The view of Mt. Fuji from the airplane was also fantastic.

NHK Yata

Bureau

August 28, 2006 Tanabe, Japan. I'm back in Japan again! and I have a job! I'm working in the area where I lived when I was teaching English here on the JET Program. My employer is the Kumano Tourism Bureau. I'll be responsible for promoting the area to non-japanese visitors. My goal will be to make more information available for independent travelers to work their way safely and efficiently through this unique cultural landscape. The World Heritage Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage trail is close by and I will be focusing on that. Upon arrival, I attended a local fire festival, caught up with old friends, soaked in an onsen and became a Yamabushi monk!! I'm very excited about my new life here. The invitation is out for everyone to come and visit!

Waterskiing windsurfing

sunset Horsetails

August 21, 2006 Singush Lake, Manitoba. This last weekend was another memorable one at the cabin. My cousin Wyatt came to visit and we were able to share this wonderful place with him and his dad. I took him windsurfing. (or rather wind dragging!! He hung on off the back of the board) He was also successful on his 4th attempt at kneeboarding!! Watersports seemed to be the theme as I was able to do some waterskiing as well. I wish I could live up there someday. Life is so easy and simple, surrounded by nature's beauty.

volleyball Cam

Canoeing volleyball

August 13, 2006 Singush Lake, Manitoba. Congratulations again, Cam and Shawna!! It has been two weeks and already they are renewing their vows, this time at our family cabin in the Duck Mountains. About 30 people were there to help us celebrate. The fun and relaxed ceremony took place on Saturday afternoon about 4 pm. Friends and family stood in a circle on the shore of Singush lake, the waves lapping around everyone's ankles. Instead of making up their own vows they asked everyone attending to make up vows for them. Some of them were pretty funny!! After we ate supper, (an incredible pig roast) we drank, play volleyball and frisbee, danced and laughed the night away under the stars.

Summer GP

GP GP

Combine

August 9, 2006 Gilbert Plains, Manitoba. It has been years since I have been able to spend some time at home in the middle of summer. I forgot how wonderful it is. The garden is overflowing and we are stuffing ourselves everyday with fresh fruit and vegetables: corn, tomatoes, peas, beans, cucumbers, radishes, zucchini, lettuce, onions, peppers, potatoes, raspberries, apples. The surrounding farmers are also working around the clock harvesting their crops. Everyday large farm machinery rumbles by in front of our house on their way to their golden fields. And the sunsets......oh my, are they amazing!!!

Little

Cam Cam

July 29, 2006 Winnipeg. Congratulations Cam and Shawna!!! You're married!!!! They had a small reception in their backyard. About 40 people were there to share in the moment. They had large tents set up and lawn chairs. One of Shawna's friends said that he would go to more weddings if it he could sit in his lawnchair and drink beer during the service like this one!! After the ceremony we had a BBQ and then a hot tub. I was one of the first ones in and the last one out. I think I was in there for 6 and a half hours!!! So much fun and congratulations again!!

Berg Emperor Emperor

July 25, 2006 Canmore, AB. My summer in the Rockies is over. It was a great season: lots of interesting people, fantastic views, great weather and lots of animal sightings. My last trip was to the back side of Mt. Robson. We helicoptered in and then hiked back out to the trailhead. Berg Lake is an amazing sight with a severly crevassed glacier flowing right into it. Thank you so much Yamnuska, fellow guides and of course all you lovely people from Japan that I had a chance to hike with this summer.

Talus Talus

Talus Talus

July 17, 2006 Canmore, AB. I just finished a trip to a back country lodge in BC called Talus Lodge. It's located in an alpine meadow below a steep towering ridge of rock. There are small crystal blue lakes dotting the area. We saw dozens of species of wildflowers and lots of wildlife, including the very rare white moss campion and a wolverine. I've never seen either before so I was excited, especially about the wolverine sighting. They are constantly on the move and the male has a range of 1000 km2!!! Indeed a once in a life time experience!!! We had to helicopter in because there are no trails to the area. The scenery was also awe inspiring with Mt. Assiniboine in the distance to the north and Talon peak soaring above us to the west. We had 2 days of heavenly hiking before we had to leave. Truely one of those very special places on the planet.

calgary

July 9, 2006 Calgary, Alberta. To make the most of my days off I decided to head into Calgary to visit the greatest outdoor show on earth, the Calgary Stampede. We wandered around the grounds checking out the booths, food court, shops, and amusement area before heading into watch the cowboys show us their stuff at the rodeo. It rained heavily the day before so it was really muddy. Great for a clothes detergent commercial!!! The action was wild and sometimes dangerous, but always exciting. If you haven't had a chance to see a rodeo live I recommend strongly seeing one! Thanks Grady for letting me join you for your first Stampede!!!

Castle Picnic

July 8, 2006 Canmore, Alberta. After hiking for over a month I finally got a couple of days off. I love the water so whenever I get the chance I try and do some canoeing on the beautiful, although cold, Bow river. This time I hooked up with a fellow guide and we paddled our way from Castle mountain towards Banff. It was a gorgeous day with lots of sunshine and blue skies. The views of the mountains are very different from the seat of a canoe compared to the seat of a car or bus. We stopped for a picnic lunch on a small island where we streached our legs and enjoyed the wildflowers. After reaching our takeout we then had to ride our bikes, that we stashed in the forest, 28km back to my van. Absolutely fantastic day!!!

hiking wild

June 17, 2006 Canmore, Alberta. The last week has been very intense, challenging and rewarding. I just completed and passed the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, Hiking Guide course. The subject matter was very relevant and exciting but I really enjoyed the interaction with the instructors. They have years of experience in the mountains and were very willing to share their knowledge with us. A fantastic week and the skills and ideas that I learned will really help me out professionally as well as personally as I head into the backcountry to explore.

american

smithonian washington smithonian

war washington

rolling White

May 28, 2006 Washington, DC. When I was a Rotary exchange student in Sweden way back in 1993-94 I met a wonderful group of friends. We have kept in contact over all these years and the youngest of the gang Jennifer, was married yesterday to Jamie. Congratulations!!! The ceremony and reception was held in the O'Byrne Gallery in the Daughters of the American Revolution Continental Hall. It was built in 1929 and is a famous landmark of Washington. It has glorious white marble pillars and is a stones throw away from the White House, although I wouldn't want to be throwing stones around with all of the security there. It was like a dream!! It was also memorial day and the rolling thunder was in town: a parade of over 600,000 motorcycles!!! I even got to sit on one with my friend Barbi from the good old JET days. And I also had an expo connection too, meeting up with my friend Lou. Thank you to all of you, it was so great seeing each other again!!!!

montreal oldmontreal

May 23, 2006 Montreal, Quebec. From the mountains of Japan to the streets of Montreal. I love Montreal, but the best thing about this trip is that I met up with some friends from Expo!!! and Manitoba!!!! Thank you so much for the quick visit and I am definately planning another trip there in the near future. Merci beaucoup!!!

Okugake

Okugake Tamaki Okugake

Okugake Yamabushi1 Brad

May 20, 2006 Yoshino, Japan. I didn't really expect to be in Japan again this soon but because of a job interview I made a quick trip back to the land of the rising sun. While I'm here I decided to hike the famous Okugake trail that connects Yoshino and Hongu. I completed the trek 4 years ago, from Yoshino to Hongu, so this time I walked from Hongu to Yoshino. This route is an ancient trail used by yamabushi, members of the Shugen sect of ascetic Buddhism, for spiritual training and communing with the gods. There are various religious sites along the route including the Omine temple and Tamaki shrine. It took me 6 days and it rained 5 of them! I also had a chance to be hung over a cliff, a training ritual for mountain monks. Very exciting stuff!!!

Tracey Wedding

May 6, 2006 Winnipeg, Canada. My sister is married! Today she had a wedding social and surprised everyone when the wedding march started. The next thing you know is that Tracey is walking into the hall wearing a wedding vale with Dean by her side. I don`t think that I have ever seen my sister look so happy in her life before. It was so great, everyone had a super time at your wedding `social` and I`m so glad that I was able to be a part of it. Congratulations Tracey and Dean Williams!!

Taylor Dylan Dylan

April 16, 2006 Winnipeg, Canada. Happy Easter! Today was another gorgeous spring day. We enjoyed the sunshine all day. The warmth of the sun on my face is one of my favorite spring delights. The long winters are full of sunshine here on the prairies but it's the first sign of heat soaking into the skin that heightens excitement for the summer days to come.

Tylin sleeping Tylin

April 13, 2006 Winnipeg, Canada. I'm an Uncle!!! My brother Cameron and Shawna just had a baby boy yesterday at 5:25 am. Congratulations!!! His name is Tylin Bradley. Yes, they named him after his crazy adventarian uncle! I heard the news while in Regina on my long drive home across the prairies. I broke down crying with happiness. I don't even know the words to express how I feel. I am sure that you will all have happy lives together filled with adventures!

Wilderness wagon

mountain canmore

April 9, 2006 Canmore, Canada. I'm just at the end of a quick trip out to the Rocky Mountains. There is still snow higher up on the peaks so the views are great this time of year. I just completed recertifying my Wilderness First Responders course. It's intimidating learning about all the possible problems you can have when you are in the back country. I just hope that I will never have to use the techniques I learned! I can't wait for summer to be able to go stomping around the Rockies again.

first vacuum

March 30, 2006 Gilbert Plains, Manitoba, Canada. Spring is almost here! A perfect day for a BBQ in the melting snow. We heard Canada geese honking in the fields close to our house for the first time this spring. They are flying to their northern nesting grounds. In the spring and fall thousands of them pass by. We have been cleaning up around the house and found an old vacuum cleaner from the late 1960s. My mom and I tried on the attachments you can use to dry your hair......yes with a vacuum cleaner!! Ah yes inventions of yesterday. I wonder what things that I have now that my kids will be laughing at a few decades!?

Singush Singush

March 25, 2006 Singush Lake, Manitoba, Canada. Homecoming. Sometimes the best thing about going away is coming home. It is always so nice to see the smiling faces and hear the laughter of family and friends. And a trip home just isn't a trip home without spending some time at our family's cabin in the Duck Mountain Provicial Park. There is lots of snow this year which is great for snowshoeing. After having a small bonfire and hotdog roast my dad and I went for a short snowshoe to enjoy the winter beauty of the area. I really do love it there and I think that it is my most favorite place on the planet!

expo expo

March 20, 2006 Nagoya, Japan. It's almost one year since the start of the World Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan. Last year at this time I was very nervous and excited about how the next six months would be. Looking back, they turned out to be some of the best times in my life! So what a better time than now to return to Nagoya and meet up with some of the great friends that I met there. To everyone that I met at Expo thank you again so much for making my Expo what it was!!

Osaka Afro

Osaka nice Death

March 16, 2006 Osaka, Japan. The big city. It is always an adjustment for me when I visit big urban centres of the world. I'm very curious of my surroundings where ever I am that my senses are overloaded with the fast passed life that pervades the Japanese urban sprawl. My quick trip through Osaka was no different this time. I had some great visits with old friends, but most of the time I wandered around in a daze, letting myself get swept up into the waves of humanity that washed over and into everthing around me. But when I do visit any major center in Japan I always make a long stop at the electronics store. They have everything imaginable, and unimaginable!! My high-tech wishlist gets longer and longer with every visit!!

Ise Ise

Ise Ise

Ise Ise

March 11, 2006 Ise, Japan. What better place to go after 2 months of great skiing than to the holy shrines of Ise. The weather here is much warmer than in Hokkaido and the cherry blossoms are on the verge of blooming. We also watched the sunrise over the Husband and Wife rocks. They are joined by a sacred rope. So beautiful and serene in the early morning blue. And you can't go to Ise without going to the sushi restaurant Kibun. In the picture you can see Oden. So delicious!!

Kato-san

Rusutsu Mt.Yotei

||A2Left||

March 9, 2006. Rusutsu, Japan. Well, another season has come to an end. It is so hard to leave a ski area when there is still snow falling! I had so much fun this year and met so many great people. I hope that I can return to Rusutsu next year but who knows where I will be next. Thank you so much everyone at Rusutsu for the memories!

Ski Rusutsu

Chair Nobu

Feb 24, 2006. Rusutsu, Japan. Another day at the office: skiing!! Life is so simple here in Rusutsu. Ski, eat, hotspring, sleep, ski........! Everymorning I wake up to see how much fresh snow has fallen. I've got a great view of Isola and the sunrise from my 4th floor residence room. Then it's off to breakfast at the staff cafeteria, morning greetings to my friends and colleagues, slip on my ski boots and I'm off to enjoy another day on the mountain! Once lessons are done I'll have a bit to eat and then ski under the lights for a couple of hours and then try and find someone to hitch a ride with to the local hotspring to soak. Back to my dorm room to sleep and dream of fresh snow and let my body prepare for the next days adventures!

Snow Snow

Snow Snow

Feb 10&11, 2006. Sapporo, Japan. Yuki Matsuri (snow Festival) takes place every February in the northern city of Sapporo. There are a few different areas of the city that have some events but the main venue is Oodori. The boulevard in the middle of the street has over a kilometer of ice and snow sculptures as well as other booths for food and drink. At night these amazing works of art are lite up. There are thousands of people from all over Japan and the world that visit every year. If fact so many people that you can only walk one way in a counter clock wise direction!!

Mt Friends

February 4, 2006. Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan. The snow is still great here in Hokkaido! I just spent the day telemarking around Niseko, one of the many great ski areas in Hokkaido. It was my first day off in a long time and it was very refreshing to be free skiing with friends! Of course we finished the day off with a trip to the local hotspring to soak are weary muscles. I have also been practicing snowboarding a bit in my spare time, so I can keep up with my brother when we have a chance to ride together someday!!

Strawberry Tetsuya

January 26, 2006. Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan. After working skiing all day since I arrived I decided to take a holiday, and go skiing!! A few other instructors from the ski school and myself drove 30 minutes to Niseko ski area for a day of sliding fun. We skied all over the mountain including Strawberry Field, an out-of-bounds area with some good snow. It's avalanche prone and we had to navigate through some deep cracks. We retired rather early. And to finish off the day we ate lamb, drank beer and soaked in a hotspring. We also had a little snow ball fight between the men's and women's baths!!!Great times!!

January 11, 2006. Rusutsu, Hokkaido, Japan. After spending a great holiday with my family in Canada I`m back in Japan. I`m working at Rusutsu Resort as a ski instructor. There is lots of snow this year so the conditions are really good. I`ve been guiding and instructing people from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Hong Kong and Malaysia so far. Today was also my birthday and we celebrated with all you can eat lamb and all you can drink at a local restaurant! It`s lots of fun to be back!

Brad Towle

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