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A dose of Mother Nature

Posted on : 26-02-2013 | By : Nathan | In : Travelogue

6

Japan 2013Now that the title got your attention, I thought I would take a few minutes and fill you in on the past 2 day’s happenings. I lumped them together mostly because the activities of each were very similar. Summary: Both days started with a bus journey into the mountains, snowboarding, lunch, more snowboarding, a bus journey back to the hotel, then traditional Japanese dinners. High points are as follows:

Weather conditions were unbelievable, consisting of constant 40+ mph wind and minimal visibility. Hardly anyone would brave the trip up the mountain in these conditions, except us ! Fortunately, we had ample gear to protect us from the wind, though temperatures dropped well below 0 with the windchill factor. It felt like the wind was literally going to blow you right off of the mountain. At nearly 200 pounds, Derek and I were OK. However, poor Miwa only weighs about 90 pounds, so we were a bit nervous with her. Any trail marked “closed”, large signs marked “Danger”, and straight up trail blazing through the wooded areas were all fair game. (no sheep here) The resort ended up shutting down nearly every lift because it simply became too dangerous.

Something about braving/enduring conditions like this makes things an adventure … Sitting on the side of a mountain with nearly eight thousand vertical feet to descend in a matter of minutes. The wind hurling at your back, forcing you closer to the edge with every gust. You prepare to do battle with the toughest runs the mountain has to throw at you. As you make your line choice and commit, danger surrounds your every move. Extreme focus and critical decisions made in an instant tax your brain, the ever-changing terrain taxes your body. Simply reaching the bottom is considered a victory. Memories like this wont be soon forgotten, and truly serve as life affirming experiences ! Filed under surreal.

On the bus ride home, though I was deep in an audio book, I heard about 30 cell phones go off at the same time. Oddly, they each had the same ring tone. Not like anything I have heard before though, more of a strange warning pattern of some sort. I looked over at Derek and Miwa to glean any additional info. They promptly informed me that this was an earthquake alert, and it was happening live. They quickly looked it up and it actually occurred in our current area. Since we were on the bus, we did not actually feel it. Once I arrived back to the the hotel, I did a bit more recon. Here are a couple articles: Fox News & CNN. Monday was a day Mother Nature was not to be trifled with !

One of the dinners we went out for is called Yakiniku. You basically order small amounts of the meat and grill them on a little mini grill in the middle of the table. Various cuts of 1-2oz portions of the cow are available, so you can compare/contrast each. The meat is all locally sourced and exceptionally flavorful. This dinner solved the age old question of quantity vs. quality, period.

After dinner, we headed to an Izakaya, a Japanese bar with local finger food & drink. The staff was very friendly and were interacting with us throughout. I was able to try Burdock root, fried in tempura batter & a spicy mayo. Wow, no need to have french fries with this stuff around ! Towards the end, one of the servers admitted that they rarely have foreigners (gaijin, somewhat derogatory) in the establishment. They asked if they could pose for a picture with us, so we obliged. A little strange to be honest. However, they did provide us with hand warmers upon leaving to ensure we were warm for our walk home. The little things make all the difference.

I finally got a most of the technical issues sorted out with the camera and web site. Please take a look at the gallery section to see some of the recent photos. Lots more to come, so keep an eye out.

Unordinary: For some reason music video parody’s are all the rage right now. Current entry: The Harlem Shake

Comments (6)

Wow, what a trip. Was that at Perfect North or Mad River mountain?

Looks like great fun. Tell Derek and Miwa I said “Hi”. Travel safe.

Nathan

Mark: Ha ha ha … This trip may be the reason I never quite made it to any of our local bunny hills. Current Location: Hakuba Happo, Nagano Prefecture, Japan !

David: Both Derek and Miwa say hello. They will be back in Ohio in 2 weeks, since they just got married, so hopefully we can all meet up.

You are making me so hungry! That food sounds awesome. The earthquake and hurling winds sound a bit scary though. I am glad that Miwa made it off the mountain without blowing away. It sounds like she is a pro at snowboarding. Sounds like an adventure for sure… Be safe !!

YOU THREE ABSOFREAK’NLUTELYROCK!!!!!

Nathan

Niamh: Safety is for wimps :)

Dad: True dat !

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