Snowboard photographer Junichiro Watanabe is showcasing local pro riders with a twist in his first photo book, launching this weekend in Niseko Town.
Ucabu means to “float” in Japanese – and Ucabu: Hot Air Balloon x Snowboarding”, is a photo book that evokes that floating feeling you get on the snow by combining two activities you don’t often see next to each other.
“This shoot is about two things, colour and freedom,” Jun explains. “The balloon brings colour to the snows that you don’t normally see there. And the shoot is about freedom. Riding, floating and free: that’s what snowboarding is about for me.”
The series of two dozen photos showcases the formidable skills of locally based pro riders. Each photo book comes with a DVD and a short movie chronicling the shoot. Music and editing is done by locals as well, and the whole team has one thing in common. “They’re all locals, and they’re all my friends. We went out there and had fun,” Jun says.
Sapporo born and raised, Jun began taking photos of skaters and boarders on the side while working for Hokkaido Shinbun newspaper as a reporter and photographer. He now lives in Niseko and takes photos full time. His photos have been published in Freerun and Transworld magazines and used in catalogues for Union Bindings, Rome snowboards and more.
If you miss the exhibition, the books will be available at the Green Saso green tea cafe in Kabayama (run by Jun and his wife), and at selected shops around town.
Friday 17 November, 6 – 9 PM (opening party)
Saturday 18 November, 3 – 8 PM
Sunday 19 November, 12 – 5 PM
Location: Niseko Soukomura Warehouse District
Niseko-Cho Chuodori 60-2, Niseko-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido
Ucabu: Hot Air Balloon x Snowboarding
Hardcover Photobook, 34 pages + mini DVD
Price: ¥3000 + tax
Purchase at: Ucabu Exhibition, Green Saso, selected retailers
Junichiro Watanabe official Instagram