Working Holiday on Otaru Project

WHOOP it up!「もりのきヘルパー's Blog」

Loved details

2015.02.25 Wednesday | by jan@whooper#157
As earlier stated, Mori no ki was already once my hideout for a few summer days. At the time I immediately fell in love with this feeling that is gently home inside those walls. Without checking I am certain this is not the first entry blogging about those lovely details free to discover. Posing an educated guess: it won't be the last one either.

For me it is actually difficult to write this post. There are so many details to find that I fight my shame not having them all found and one of the best goes undocumented.


It is delighting to see other travelers taking out their iPhone in attempt to capture what they have found. For that I will stalk to the same position trying to see what they have discovered.

There is no proper way to structure every little organic object and just that makes everything lively. Things became a beautiful mess when they are distracting from each other since it makes you rediscover something in the composition with every second gaze.

Here I find lovely details in every corner. Even while cleaning details come up that are not evident to every other visitors.

I simply love this place.


End of post, author is distracted again.
janphilipp#157 | - | - |

Yukikaki is a sport

2015.02.22 Sunday | by jan@whooper#157
Did you know that there is a snow shoveling championship in Otaru? It wasn't part of my knowlegde, moreover shy of the fact it was held last year for the first time. While I couldn't know what to expect I still joined seemingly entertained by the idea of shoveling snow and building snowmen.


Although Yukikaku (snow shoveling) is put in a playful contest, the event made me more aware that it's hard yet important work. Not shy of it's motto "Yukikaki is a sport" the first order of the day was voluntary snow shoveling in a neighborhood of older people. Two bus filled with all applicants were carred to location, given shovels and guidance. Up against the walls, windows and doors of the buildings we found snow and ice, 1 to 1.5 meter high. Removing those we found a glassed door to be broken by weight and pressure. Such things make you start to realize how important snow shoveling becomes to those rather fragile Japanese homes and the people who life there.

voluntary work

With a little voluntary work done and a bigger lesson learned everyone is carried back to the compertitive site. Lunchtime arrived and each participant got 1000 yen to spend on whatever the foodstands had to offer. Knowing it fills the hole in my stomage I went for curry, followed by 3 sausages which I decided to share with my teammates. After that there was enough time to goof around a bit one the slides and talk with other participants.


Lunchtime's over it's time to start the championship. There are two parts:
1. bring X amount of snow from A to B in the fastest time with the tools provided.
2. build snowmen with the snow. Points are awarded for each snowmen, their size, decoration and whatever gets the favor of the judges.


Most likely our team ended up dead last, not that it matters. I had a good workout, people let me dive into my creative phase on those snowmen and in the end I could eat all the german cuisine available and drink all the beer I could. I had lots of fun yesterday.

janphilipp#157 | - | - |

3200km distance and decisions

2015.02.19 Thursday | by jan@whooper#157
Hi, Jan Philipp here, I'll be blogging a bit here and there while sharing my thoughts and experiences.


Last summer I once shared the warm home Mori no Ki provides for a few days with the other guests. Because of the winter festivities I've ended up in Hokkaido again. After snowboarding the Niseko slopes, Seeing armies of snowmen in Asahikawa, staring at a white Darth Vader in Sapporo, I wound up in Otaru again. Almost half a year has passed since visiting this little beautiful guesthouse at the side of the mountain. Arriving here again, I was glad to find that it did not change a bit, not as the seasons did.

Kotatsu <3

Sitting in the lobby browsing the backpackers' hostel Facebook page I found an entry making me voice my thoughts. "You are searching for helpers?" I asked in the room and Mayumi jumped happily "You want to work here?". Although tempted, I could not immediately confirm. I want to think about it first and I didn't felt the need having this one week traveling my railpass still allowed me to being unused. Besides, for the 14th of this month there was at least one person with chocolates waiting somewhere for me in Kansai ( = //// =). 

Mayumi <3

Back in Osaka I shared my time with my friends. Yet as time passed on they left one by one back to their home countries because their holidays were over. Those who stay aid me with support and helped making it easy to do what I love. Others with less aid were shoo-ing me off anyways, I'm going back to Otaru! 

Momo, Hug & Masa
Masa, Hug & Momo <3 

It is possible to travel from Kyoto to Otaru in one day, but it's a riddiculous long journey. To get a good rest inbetween, I decided to split up the trip by staying one night in Tokyo prior to my trip up to Hokkaido. 08:20 the following day a Shinkansen with me inside then left Tokyo Station. With changing trains three times and finishing about a third of my book (Golden Son by Pierce Brown) I finially arrived  around 18:15 at Otaru Station. Only a short walk through the city and I'm back. Without guidance needed my feet took me to the front door of the place that I will work for the next two weeks and a bit. Opening the door, I found that Masa had prepared a little surprise himself. He did not inform Mayumi that he got me to work here, keeping her worry a bit whenever this mysterious German guy coming to help would be able to speak Japanese.

Now it's up to you to imagine how happy she was to find me entering the house again :)
janphilipp#157 | - | - |

New MorinoKi Helper (whooper #157)

2015.02.18 Wednesday | by まさ@もりのき
New MorinoKi Helper (whooper #157) 
Jan Philipp (Jan-kun) from Germany.
janphilipp#157 | - | - |