If you’d said to Glen or I five years ago, or even three years ago, that we’d enjoy skiing and would go on a holiday to Japan for the purpose of going skiing, we’d think you were crazy. I’m sure most of my family and friends can’t believe we’re actually here either. Skiing? Us? But Friday’s day of skiing in Niseko was excellent and reaffirmed how much we actually enjoy doing this.
We headed off a little earlier this morning as the mountain had great visibility early in the day. We caught the shuttle – that thing is sent from heaven – up to the Welcome Centre, and then we caught the lift up to the top of the mountain. Today we were checking out the third side of the mountain, the one we didn’t get the chance to try the day before.
Glen had an awesome fall first up which, unfortunately, I wasn’t filming on my GoPro. He didn’t hurt himself, which was good otherwise the amount of I laughed would have been really cruel. He just disappeared into powder with arms a-flailing. Brilliant!
We took greens down the hill, deviated at one point, caught a lift back up, and then went down another way before catching the gondola back up the top and doing it again. I took a couple of reds going down at one point and while I managed it (though I had two separate falls later in the day on one particular run though luckily Glen came to my rescue) I’m certain my technique is a little off.
Legs aren’t together as much, using too much force yet not having enough control. A lesson would be helpful but with only one day to go, it’s not really worth it this time. Will do next time though.
We had a break at the Hilton and had a ridiculously expensive drink and apple pie before going back up on the gondola and coming down again. I think we did it again because that’s when I had my falls.
We stopped for lunch at the Hilltop Cafe then did the same run again and again before going back up to the top, walking across to the other side of the mountain, skiing down, going to pee and then coming back down to the other gondola. The sky had cleared by then and it was looking magical on the hill.
Less magical was sharing the gondola with two California ‘dudes’, oh sorry, ‘bruhs’, who were talking about the awesome ‘pow’, figuring out how to get around the security cameras so they could go through the untouched bits, and then about elderly patients in the hospital they worked at. When they left, one apologised for being so loud, saying they’d had whiskey. They walked away with their snowboards. I had no idea people talked liked that outside the movies.
At the end of the day, you need to onsen
We did a few more runs and then got to the bottom in time for the shuttle bus back to the accommodation. Bec was home as she’d had a fall during her lesson and had gone home to rest up, which was unfortunate for her because she lost her afternoon lesson and didn’t get to ski again that day. We all then went to the Prince Hotel to have a soak in the onsen – my back was already starting to feel tender.
This onsen was not as nice as yesterday’s and the male side was packed. It was more like a public swimming pool with those horrible square tiles. The only thing it had going for it was the view of the slopes outside. While it was mostly occupied with Japanese men, there were a few white people, including two Brits who’d brought in beer (a big no-no) and another pair who were wearing their board shorts (another no-no). This onsen experience was definitely not a good one. Still, we soaked and stretched our muscles and then left, meeting Bec outside.
We chilled out back at the apartment for a while, intending to eat the leftover soup for dinner but instead choosing to go to Kabuki 2, a teppanyaki and okonomiyaki restaurant nearby that was housed in a yurt. We were expecting the type of showy teppanyaki experience we’re used to in Australia so we took the later booking at the restaurant (9pm) so we could sit at the counter and watch the chef, as opposed to the earlier booking (8:30pm) where we’d just be sitting at a table. We should have gone earlier and be done with it.
As it was, we arrived early, sat a table, started our meal with the edamame and beans and some drinks before moving up to the counter when other people finally buggered off. The experience was lack lustre.
Bored chefs who weren’t in the slightest bit interested in interacting with the customers stood in front of hot plates and cooked the fish and steak we’d ordered. There was no throwing of rice and eggs, no skill required in any of it at all. Hell, even I could have stood there and cooked the damn food. We ate. Some of it was nice, the rest was a bit meh. We finished, paid the bill and left.
We went to bed pretty soon after getting home, what with six hours of skiing having taken their toll. We would have dropped right off if not for the loud music coming from one (or two) of the local bars, and the yobs standing outside smoking, drinking and being generally yobbish. Glen dug out the earplugs, we stuck them in and then drifted off. After all, it was 10:30pm.