Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sky flying at Okurayama, Sapporo

"It was the climax of this report to Hokkaido when facing me, on the outskirts of Sapporo, the mont Okura Ski Jump stadium take off ramp appeared right in front, huge, threatening in such a freezing wind..."

I needed at least a full course of "Genghis Khan" Mongolian BBQ to get ready to jump and fly. My target is simple: reaching the 100 meters landing!

Being in Japan I always have my eyes on any new technological achievement, I am not sure it's appropriate to encourage addicted mass consumption as Japanese do and I certainly do not need to change my camera every 6 months. So as we do in France, I select the best. And the other day in Sapporo Hokkaido northern Japan, while trying to cope with the sporty designed challenging program my Sapporo's city hosts panned for me, ski jump before the Vancouver Olympics, I thought I had to be equipped with the best camera. I took the G1 Exilim of Casio. Mission: try to see what the French ski jumper Emmanuel Chedal felt prior to jump on to the winners podium at Lillehammer last year.

The Mount Okura ski jump is placed on the eastern slope of the Mt. Okura. The stadium has hosted a number of winter sports events including 1972 Winter Olympics and FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2007. The area of stadium consists of the Winter Sports Museum, the Okurayama Crystal House, and the Mt. Okura Observation Platform, as well as the ski jump.

The stadium has area of 8.2 ha, which houses 50,000 people at a maximum during a competition, and the ski jump is categorized as the large hill jump. The total height of the jump hill from the top starting point to the bottom of the slope is 133 meters, also the distance to the K-spot (critical point) is 120 meters. The current record held on the ski jump (Bakken Record) is 145.0 meters, which was achieved by a ski jumper Yūsuke Kaneko on March 25, 2005.

I could not believe it, how come such a small camera can deliver all I needed and in any circumstances, weather, element (water, nice or super cold temperature (no fog on the lens!? how did they do this?) Basically I am a Canon and Sony fan but I have to add the new bull here: the G1 Exilim of Casio digital camera. Amazing and chic look for a camera functions -pictures and vdo- which gave me the impression to run a Ferrari. Water-proof, dust-proof, and shock resistant. It's an amazing high-resolution 12.1 -effective- megapixel images. Great shots and fun while I engaged in very impressive and top class winter sports, my first time ever ski jump... Yes, you did not read it wrong, I said: I tried ski jump!

I approach the ski jump, smell the air of the moment, check the snow quality.


I now get ready. Jumping for fear or for fun at the end?


While Casio has been in the consumer electronics business since the company was founded in 1957, their first Exilim digital camera reached market fairly recently in 2002. Expanding upon their "card", "zoom" and "high speed" camera product lines, the company has recently introduced the "G" or "endurance" line with the EX-G1 compact digital. The G1, billed as the world's slimmest shock-resistant digital camera, builds upon Casio's earlier forays into durable products with watches and mobile phones. One only problem, the sound and the lens is not yet as good as on the Canon IXY I use in my work. Super smart and slim, I held it in my down jacket pocket all the time with my mobiles in the other pocket.

My thanks to Sapporo City and Cosmo agency Ms. Y. Yamamoto.

(Sources: Digital Camera, Mainichi Shimbun, Sapporo City Hall, Casio, Reporter's notes)

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