The Asian Jetset: Discovering Champagne Powder in a Mystical Village

I just read about Niseko, or the St. Moritz of the East in the New York Times this morning which, sadly has been predicted to be one of the few remaining independent newspapers in the next five years. Print media and traditional journalism must be gasping for air (but that’s another blog post). Expiration Date: 2017ish

Niseko is located in Hokkaido, Japan‘s northernmost island. It’s where the jetset of Asia (think well-heeled gliterrati from Hong Kong and Singapore) play. The snow there has been described as ‘champagne powder’ and although the scenery may not be as dramatic as the Alps, the reporter calls it ‘mystical’. So here is an excerpt from the article explaining the allure of this mystical resort village:

‘Niseko was coined the “St. Moritz of the Orient” by insiders in the 1960s, but the area still remained seriously under the radar until the ’90s, when it became the preferred playground for Australian snowboarders tipped off to the powder.’

 Hot Springs at Niseko resort

The way the reporter describes his experience in Niseko  it sounds like an ideal retreat for a skiing/snowboarding enthusiast who also wants a luxurious meditative and poetic journey away from home.

I suppose describing a destination as The _________ of the East, or The ________ West, or ____________ is the Paris of ____________, etc…. helps us to visualize the place. Have you heard that Buenos Aires is THE Paris of South America? Or that Boston and San Francisco are kind of European? The latest I heard was from a German engineer who just moved here to San Francisco. I was in a Ruby (computer language) coding workshop and we were discussing the Start Up scene in Europe. He mentioned that Berlin is a hot spot for tech and Start Up activity. He feels that Berlin is THE San Francisco of Europe. (That’s why he moved here). Lots of creativity and creative people. Actually, there was a Slovenian, Belgian and several English engineers in my work group that evening. Europe was generously represented. But come visit San Francisco and you’ll meet many citizens from non-European nations, too. People converge from all over the global community to San Francisco and the Bay Area at large. Diversity is a beautiful thing.


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