Snow Monsters of Zao

Snow Monsters of Zao; Tohoku Japan

By some measures, Japan is the snowiest place on earth, and winter in areas such as the Tohoku region north of Tokyo add to that rep. The Zaosan (蔵王山) mountains, on the border between Miyagi and Yamagata prefectures, for example, gets around 12 metres dumped on its forested slopes each season. That’s a far cry from the 40-metre (120-plus feet) epic blanket that smothers the Japanese Alps around Nagano each year (there’s a reason houses in the countryside traditionally have a second front door, upstairs), but still more than enough to transform this range of stratovolcanoes, crater lakes, and subalpine fir trees into a magical fantastical winter wonderland each year…

Read the rest of the story and see more pictures at https://medium.com/the-big-sushi/snow-monsters-of-zao-japan-9f6853a2523

“Suggested Travel Writer” on Medium.com

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Cool beans! Not exactly sure how to take this – ‘though the expression “with a grain of salt” jumps to mind – but apparently I have earned “suggested writer” status in the Travel section on Medium.com.

I’m genuinely flattered, and it makes me want to sit down and write more essays and stories and publish them online, though to be honest I’m not sure what, exactly, it means to be a suggested writer. Is it a decision made by a cabal of wise gnomes at Medium.com, or is it some less-personal, more automated process, an algorithmic accretion of views/reads/recommends?

In either case, I’ll put aside the salt for a moment, as well as the self-deprecating humour, and take the credit gracefully and gratefully.

Meantime, please check out my presence on Medium.com, including the self publications Big Sushi, Little Fishes 2.0, about my adventures in Japan, and Exit Booted 2.0,, in Toronto and the rest of the world.

Yakushi Onsen Hatago, Gunma: Japan Photo Drift

A photographer-friendly, photogenic site half-hidden in rural Japan.

We were on an overnight staycation in the mountains of Gunma prefecture, a couple of hours’ drive north of Tokyo. Kayabuki no Sato Yakushi Onsen Hatago is a traditional ryokan onsen hot spring inn half hidden on the shore of the Nurukawa River in a remote river valley.

Read the rest of the story at Big Sushi, Little Fishes 2.0…

Pictures from this photo shoot are available on my page at the Alamy agency website

Stock photography by Aaron Paulson at Alamy