Apple Country

Stories of rural life as an ALT in a northern Japanese fishing town.



The weekend before last, Aomori AJET organised a cabin party at Hakkoda, a ski resort in the centre of the prefecture. There were about five cabins, with up to nine people staying in each one.  It was basically an excuse to drink, play games, have snowball fights and have an AMAZING breakfast the next day, thanks to the organisers who went to the American air base to get supplies.  We had bagels, peanut butter, bacon, BROWN BREAD!!!, eggs, waffles, nutella, Tropicana, cinnamon rolls… I love my daily porridge and banana but this was a very welcome treat.

The majority of people spent the next day skiing and snowboarding, seeing as we were right next to a ski resort.  Some people went a little further to Hakkoda, a slightly more notorious mountain known in particular for being covered in ‘snow monsters’.  The friend I came with had decided not to snowboard that day, so we headed over to Hakkoda to get the ropeway cable car to the top of the mountain.

It took about five minutes to get to the top in the cable car.  My friend and I were at the front of the queue to get on, so we nabbed the space at the front of the car and gazed out of the window as the trees receded into the distance and the glistening bay of Aomori gradually came into view.  It’s clear how Aomori got its name!! (Ao(i) = blue, mori = forest)


Gooooing up!


When we got to the top, we just stood and stared out at the 360 view of rolling hills and snowy forests.  I felt very at peace with the world.  Behind us, others were getting ready to ski down the mountainside.


Skiing through the snow monsters

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In contrast to the huge drop down in front of us, we turned around to see an expanse of white that seemed to stretch for miles into the distance.  Some people had strapped on mini-skis and were shuffling off for a snow hike.


The snow monsters were impressive, but up close they were beautiful.  The wind had frozen the snow into jagged crystals, which were beginning to melt in the sun.  It was so gorgeous that I joked about taking my coat off and lying down to sunbathe.  It didn’t sound as stupid once I said it out loud, so I went with it and it may have been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  I found the perfect slope and lay out my coat.  Lying on the snow in my t-shirt, on a mountain, soaking up the sun in its beautiful blue sky, the only sound being the whisper of melted snow falling to the ground… ultimate bliss.  We stayed like that for at least half an hour until a cloud lurked over and it felt like the temperature dropped by about 10 degrees.  But it was lovely while it lasted.

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2 thoughts on “Hakkoda

  1. A memorable day – love the snow monsters!

  2. What an amazing terrain and the snow monsters are fantastic.

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