Japan is known in the ski world mostly for its bombastic powder skiing. But with Koga Hoshino’s banger 2020 season edit, and now this outside-the-box delivery from Hokkaido’s Yuhei Yamada called “狛犬 (The foo dog),” this year we’ve seen a few dedicated street riders come out of the woodwork to show us that the urban scene, though underground, is alive and well in Japan.
“Japan is one of the most difficult areas to do street, since it has extremely strict public rules compared to Western culture when it comes to ‘street culture,'” Yuhei tells Downdays. “The area I live in, where I grew up, has huge and deep street culture, and because I’m a local, I know many great locations for shooting videos that not so many people know. Sapporo is one of the few areas in Japan with snow in the city and that allows us to ski on the streets.”
“KOMAINU, also known as the foo dog (狛犬), which is the title of this footage, means the gods’ guardian dogs. Most of the shrines in Japan have these dog statues at the entrance. Due to COVID the ski industry is having difficulties, and in Japan the ski population is dramatically decreasing. The KOMAINU is there to protect & guard the culture, and I felt something similar to that culture.”
“I strongly believe this is one of our very important cultures that we must continuously keep on doing, so that the next generation can make something new, and inherit the culture.”