Sick Days: Snowboarding in Japan with Mike Yoshida

Japan is the best place to snowboard in the world. There, I said it. I may be biased, as I am full-blooded Japanese, my mother was born and raised there and my father is a second generation son of immigrants. But aside from pride, Japan boasts an unprecedented amounts of powder coupled with a wide array of playful terrain year in and year out. Due to the geographic location, exposed to the Pacific Ocean, storm after storm seems to hit these islands uninterrupted each year. With the natural side being well-taken care of--a plethora of infrastructure including an unlimited amount of handrails, concrete banks, and urban obstacles--Japan is also really good for street snowboarding.

This frontside 180 almost didn't happen. A crazed security guard tried to ward us off, but we talked our way out of it, and Forest got it within a handful of tries.

A couple seasons ago, while filming for SNOWBOARDER's movie SFD, we headed over to Japan on a late season jib trip to finish out the season. It turns out that spring is one of the best times to film in the streets of Japan. There is so much snow that spots need time to actually melt out to be put to use. And with much more daylight, there is so much more time to film.

Only Magoon could pull of a hands behind the back firecracker. #GoonGear

Our crew was a classic one, and dare I say, this was the best rail trip I have been on in my entire life. The riders consisted of Forest Bailey, Lucas Magoon, Jake OE, and Ethan Deiss. John Cavan and Derek Weimer joined us to man the video cameras, and I was there to document with stills.

The level of sketchiness here doesn't do the trick justice. These aluminum rails were very sticky, and we had to lube them up on each try.

I couldn't have asked for a better crew. Things always seem to work so much better when everyone gets along, and I've been lucky to work with good friends for the majority of my "career" as a snowboard photographer. – Mike Yoshida

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