Japan: The Beginning



Kevin's Stories | 1.30.2015 

The first week of January found me at home in Carlsbad thinking about my upcoming move up to Santa Cruz when my roommate Mike asked me a question that sparked the idea for a snowboarding trip to Japan. He asked me if I’d been snowboarding yet this year, and I said, “NO!” Only then did I realize how crazy it was I hadn’t been on the mountain yet. After some thinking, I decided that it was time to get on my board, so I called up Jack Mitrani to see if he wanted to go riding. After Jack told me that he was in Tahoe and they didn’t have much snow, he jokingly suggested that we head to Japan, and I said, “Hell yea, you for real?” Kinda kidding, but not really. That’s when the joke became a reality, and after looking at our calendars and seeing we didn't have anything going on next week, we thought why not? There’s tons of snow in Japan and we had nothing else to do, so within minutes I was looking for plane tickets. Within an hour of calling Jack, we had decided to go to Japan, our flights were booked, and it was on.

The reason he had the idea is because we had both seen the most amazing photos of how unreal the snow was over there this season. Like really unreal. So the next day as we’re planning the trip, Jack calls me up to tell me that Eric Jackson was down to come as well, so now it’s me, Jack, and EJacks all going to Japan in three days! Plus, Burton had a trip planned with Danny Davis, Mark Mcmorris and Terje Haakonsen.

The trip over as kind of gnarly, starting in San Diego at 4:30 in the morning for me and flying up to San Francisco where I met up with Jack, Mark and Danny. We decided to go the same place the rest of the Burton guys were all going. It was actually the same place I went to about six years ago to film with Absinthe for the Video Party in the movie Neverland with Nicolas Müller. I had some of my best memories of all times from that place, and I just remember it being so unreal. It had the best snow, the nicest people, and just all around it was just the best place in the world.

Once the trip was all planned, I was thinking back and trying to remember if it was really as amazing as I remembered it from my previous trips, or if I just had some memories that were kind of jaded. Anyway, the trip had been booked, we were packed, and it was on, so it didn't really matter. We had an amazing start to our trip, and had some pretty funny moments on the way. From San Fransisco we flew to Tokyo, but when we first got in, they told us we couldn’t get on the plane to Sapporo because it was overweight and there was a crazy snowstorm. Eventually though, we convinced them to let us on the plane, and since we had a five hour layover in Tokyo we went to the lounge to kill some time. It was a really, really nice lounge with bomb food, and they even had showers which felt amazing after that long flight! It was awesome to relax for a minute.

Airport life. Photo: Tim Manning

Airport life. Photo: Tim Manning

Finally, we got to sapporo and the plan was to stay the night near the airport since it was already 10:30 pm, however, Tim Manning (Burton Filmer) and Danny were going to drive up that night. It was about a 3.5 hour drive to the resort, and we had just been on an almost 24 hour travel mission, so I wanted to just crash in Sapporo and drive up tomorrow. But since Jack and Ejacks both wanted to get up to Asahi Dake, the resort we were going to, we decided to drive up that night with those guys. However, our crew does not travel light! Everyone had their board bags, their clothing bags, and backpacks. Plus, Jack, Danny, and Ejacks all had their guitars and Tim had all his camera equipment. So we switched from the smaller car to a bigger van, started loading up, and somehow fitted all our gear in. The van was totally packed and we then had to squeeze five people in, but somehow we did it, and we were finally on our way!

The drive was pretty amazing. Tim drove for the first half and then switched off with Jack. They were following the Japanese GPS, which got us a little lost, and the 3.5 hour drive ended up taking more like 5.5 hours. Plus, it was dumping snow for the second half which made for slow going, but we made it there safe and sound at around 4:30 in the morning. As I climbed into my bed, I realized that a bed has never felt so good in my entire life!


Stay tuned for more updates, stories, and photos about Kevin's trip to Japan on the LoveYourBrain Blog!