When Travis Rice was exploring the Japanese Alps for The Fourth Phase, it was Nidecker rider Shin Bijayima who helped open up this incredible zone to both the legend and the world. We all know about Hokkaido and its friendly mellow slopes and bottomless snow, but until recently few people knew much about the incredible spine lines, gnarly steeps and world-beating tree runs Japan’s mainland has to offer.
’Ikigai’ has the same meaning as ’raison d’être’, a reason for being, and Shin’s reason is simple: snowboarding. Inspired by the process he saw and accompanied by filmmaker Justin Smith, Travis set out to capture a portrait of Shin Bijayima over two years, following him around his home mountains in the Nagano Prefecture.
Travis says: “I was able to spend three years traveling and exploring the Japanese Alps with Shin Biyajima during the production of ‘The Fourth Phase’ film. During that time I shared so many adventures and conversations with this new friend of mine. After our film released, I really wanted to capture a more authentic portrait of Shin and his process of living and riding as a Japanese snowboarder.
“I spent about six weeks over two years following Shin around his backyard in the Nagano Prefecture hiking, inquiring and immersing myself in Shin’s universe. Joined by filmmaker Justin Smith, we wanted to capture an intimate portrait of a lifestyle that is quite foreign compared to the norms of North America, yet still strangely similar to the principles that most snowboarders share around the love of the mountains.” - Travis Rice