Japan is enjoying subpar conditions and having a little fun. In the Land Of The Rising Sun, the sweet symbiosis of work and play is still gloriously intact. To the layman: going on shop tours and poster signings, going to parties, eating sushi, and drinking sake is still acknowledged as a job well done.
For a young shredder on their maiden journey, this can be the trip of a lifetime or quickly become their worst nightmare-it’s really all in the approach. Japan is about misrepresentation. For example, flying to the island of Sapporo and believing that the overhyped four feet of fresh powder and AK-like features exist is starting things off on the wrong foot. Anything will be said to get you on that plane. To properly enjoy the experience, you must lower your expectations. After all, lackluster conditions have their advantages: first, you can chill the f-k out for a while and let go of that super competitor crap you learned in little league (well, at least for the week). Drop the game face, and accept the fact you’re not here to make snowboard history-it just isn’t going to happen. Simply rent Lost In Translation before the trip abroad, then closely follow my “Fun In Japan” seven-step program.
1. Bust A Japan Air
Start out on a good note: you’ll get nothing but kudos for a Japan air manuever-this impresses your board company’s Japanese distributor big time. Really want to get on their good side? Offer to let them order you dinner and you’ve payed them the highest respect possible-enjoy the “live” sushi, sucker!
2. Get Some Action
Marco Frank is married, so all he’s touchin’ is this here octopussy. But a young pro on the come-up should take advantage of an international vacation. Your fifteen minutes of fame just began-get this party started. Go dancing and hook it up.
3. Ride A Resort
Seriously, they still ride resorts over here! No snowmobiling or constructing 200-foot kickers on this trip. Go ride the chairs and do whatever you want-jump right off the friggin’ lifts. Pillage their sacred trees, speed through the slow-skiing section-you’re untouchable, Mr. Big Time.
4. Sign Stuff
Regardless of how low you may be on the sponsors’ totem pole back home, in Japan you are super, man-relish the moment. Sign your name “Jamie Lynn” for maximum effect. Pretend like you’re Howard Stern and jus’ start signing body parts.
5. Go Minibiking
Snowboarding is too serious these days-but not in Japan! It’s still perfectly acceptable to ride small, mid-90s-sized booters-pull stupid one-footers and stuff. Go ahead, get it out of your system. Be young and fun for once. Frolic, hell, make snow angels-scratch that, it’s too hardpacked.
6. Enter A Contest
Sure the park is rock hard and it’s hailing, there’s zero visibility, and it’s too slow to make the landings-don’t worry about it. Only enter a Japanese contest to gauge your current popularity. As the saying goes, “the most popular man shall win”. JP Walker can sideslip an entire slopestyle course and still make the finals-he’s way big in Japan.
7. Ride With Marc Frank Or Chris Dufficy
Only pros with seniority shall attempt any real serious riding-ask Marco or Chris if you can tag along and carry their boards for ’em. Watch in disbelief as they launch themselves off massive man-made features to flat-and ride away with both legs intact. For extra brownie points, offer to shoot an alternate angle with the given photographer’s other camera.