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IKIGAI: The Shin Biyajima Story

Travis Rice teams up to tell the tale

It’s all too easy to get into the habit of hearing the same familiar stories at this time of year. Each one gets added to our own festive tradition and then before you know it, it’s compulsory annual viewing. So what better excuse to take a minute to hear a story that’s new?

Travis Rice goes on a slightly different mission in this short film from Japan, helping to tell the story of Japanese rider Shin Bijayima who acted as his guide while filming for the Fourth Phase. And while the shots are epic, the pace is a bit more festive fairytale than the usual guns-blazing powder mission. Mellow out and enjoy.

’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.”


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