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Hokkaido

I bought a $1,000 plane ticket to go skiing in Hokkaido this winter. Great deal, right? Who wouldn’t spend 24-hours in jetlagged numbness to end up in the different hemisphere’s version of Alaska– cold snow cloaked in maritime darkness. The only difference between the two continents is more carbon emissions than most humans emit in a year and a giant hole in my bank account–and, in Niseko, nearly as many Australians as snowflakes. Only a seductive ski porn propaganda campaign could drive Alaskans to make such bizarre decisions, combined with the past winters of relentless rain.

Actually, the paragraph above doesn’t describe Hokkaido at all. First, it is a highly civilized place, in which the government actually plows roads and sidewalks, and installs dazzlingly precise infrastructure–overhead light arrows, lasers projected to the sides of the roads–to allow anyone to drive safely through blizzards. The gas stations, with their immaculately packaged fishcakes, sushi, steam buns and cof…

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