Oct 28, 2011
Some place names in Hokkaido are derived from the Ainu language, the Ainu people were indigenous people of Hokkaido. The Ainu language has no traditional written form and is in danger of extinction.
With the selection of words below it is possible to figure out the meaning of some of the place names in Hokkaido, let’s explore some of the placenames.
mountain – nupuri
river – pet -nay
water – wakka
lake, bog – to
road – ru
big – poro
Below is a selection of place names that have had their meanings literally deciphered.
Sapporo – sat poro pet (dry, large river)
Rusutsu – ru sut (road end)
Noboribetsu – nupur pet (muddy river)
Lake Toya (Toya-ko) – to ya
Below is a selection of place names that have been translated into a slightly more understandable level of English. Using some of these examples and the websites below, give translating some Ainu place names a go!
You may notice that the some of the place names below are longer or shorter than how we are used to seeing them, this is mainly due to the fact that the Japanese people were not able to pronounce some of the Ainu words correctly.
Niseko – nisey ko an pet (cliff jutting over a river)
Lake Shikotsu (Shikotsu-ko) – shi kot (large valley)
Shiraoi – shirau o i (place with many horseflies)
Muroran – mo rueran (small slope)
By the way, Ainu means “human beings”. We are all “Ainu”.
The ladies playing traditional instruments “Mukkuri”.
The Ainu Association of Hokkaido
The Ainu Musium Porto Kotan in Shiraoi
Oct 20, 2011
Earlier this month, we had the pleasure of hosting a group of terrific cyclists from Hong Kong for a cycling tour in Japan. Despite snow the day everyone arrived and a very cold next day, they were a delight to have around and all smiles as we visited Lake Toya and some other spots around Niseko. Here are a couple of photos from the trip. Enjoy!
Oct 03, 2011
I have ridden the NISEKO steam locomotive.
You need a reserved-seat ticket between Sapporo and Kutchan,
but you can enjoy a small trip with local fare between Kutchan and Rankoshi. I savoured a short 50 minute round-trip journey between Niseko station and Rankoshi.
Retro-flavored seats and cafe lead you a nostalgia mood.
SL lunch box and special snacks for the SL perform a tool of your petit journey. Annoucement of touristic view points help you to understand scenery more from train windows.
The NISEKO Steam Locomotive is running on Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays until November 3rd. Don’t miss the chance!