A byte of life from the Land of Sumos and Sushi

Friday, February 10, 2006

A Walk on the White Side

Snow shoeing over snow covered rice paddies, Ono, Fukui, Japan.

Living in the winter wonderland of Ono, where over a meter of snow blankets the ground for 3 months a year, I have been diversifying my outdoor activities. Enter – the snow shoes.

One of the things I miss most from jolly old England, is being able to roam the rolling hills and meadows of the green and pleasant land. Although Ono has large areas of greenery in summer, (Ono literally translates as “Big Field”) it is misleading to think that you can get out and enjoy it. The rice paddies are strictly of the ‘look but don’t touch’ variety, as they are completely out of bounds. The rice farmers would not take lightly to people trampling their crop, and the paddies are waterlogged and muddy anyway.

But heavy snowfall has a dual effect on the town. With the one hand, it blocks off roads, cuts off railways, and prevents pavement access, but with the other, it opens up the huge expanse of rice paddies, creating one massive footpath on previously inaccessible terrain.

I’ve been taking advantage of the white freeways by strapping on snow shoes, grabbing a pair of poles, and roaming the paddies far and wide. On a cold crisp day, crunching over the snow, through beautiful snowy bamboo thickets, makes for an invigorating walk on the white side.

Bamboo and snow some how just doesn't seem right - but it makes unique scenery.

The red Tori (gate) on the way to the Kuzuryu river.

Sam walks under the bending boughs of bamboo, near the Kuzuryu river.

Walking on white water - Sam strolls across the snow.

Knarled branches, blue skies.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Snow Sphere Magazine Launches

After months of organising, emailing, nagging and general heartache – I am proud to present the launch of the first ever snow travel magazine - www.snowsphere.com

The theme of this online magazine is to blend a snow sports mag with a travel mag, and publish skiing and snowboarding stories from the less well ridden pistes of the planet. It will also feature a range of “slope culture” related articles from environmental issues, to your best ever powder day.

In the launch issue we have for your reading pleasure:

Kung Fu Kids - The terrain parks of China
Isle of Fire and Iceland- Snowboarding on Snowy Moonscapes
Road Trippin’ Chile – PART 1 of an Epic Andes Adventure
Of Lochs and Lines – Skiing the Scottish Highlands
Snowboarders V Skiers – The Dying Feud

New articles will be added every week, so keep checking back for more snow stories.

The site is in it's infancy, and over the coming weeks and months, more and more features will be added, and the design refined.

We’re always looking for new writers, so if you’ve got a good snow story for us, check out the writers guidelines on the site, and drop us an email.

Check it out