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    • Day 7

      Echo land

      January 26, 2023 in Japan ⋅ ☁️ -2 °C

      Today we skied at Iwatake. There was a very nice long run from the top of the mountain to the bottom of the gondola. I attempted the double black runs and my legs did not like it. We cut the ski day a bit short as our legs were very tired. Once home we had an onsen for our sore legs and got ready to go out to Echo Land for dinner. We got our karen on and spoke with the manager re: steaks. We had a yummy dinner, hot sake and did some karaoke and futsal at a bar.Read more

    • Day 9

      Ski 100

      January 28, 2023 in Japan ⋅ 🌫 -7 °C

      Today we skied again at Happo one. My legs were still very sore and the visibility was bad. I still had fun skiing through some slushyish powder. We cut the day short to go listen to the hottest 100. We had a quick onsen with face masks. We then went to a apres bar with all the Aussies in the area to listen to the count down. There was ski shots, footballs dancing and snow balls. After this we went to another bar where there was live music and we made all the song requests. With all our dancing and singing I wondered why lots of people left the bar 🤔. Then a DJ came on and I went to but while others kicked on.Read more

    • Day 2

      Hakuba accomodation - Snowlines Lodge

      March 4 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 2 °C

      Just arrived at our accomodation for the week in Hakuba. It’s snowing everywhere and is just beautiful.
      Our accomodation is a lodge which is so beautiful and well thought through.
      Our room is Japanese designed with floor mats and a toilet ensuite. The communal showers and onsen bath are downstairs and the bath water is constant 38 degrees 😍 can’t wait for a soak.
      The lodge has a continental breakfast, a free shuttle to the 4 main mountains, a bar with a wide selection and do communal dinners which sound great. We will likely do the Japanese hot pot on Saturday as we missed out on the make your own sushi tonight.
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    • Day 5

      #4 Happo One, Okonimiyaki & Spicy!

      March 7 in Japan ⋅ ☁️ -3 °C

      Day 3 of snowboarding 🏂. Despite both of us incurring injuries yesterday, there shall be no rest days! Jays calf was no better, and he was wondering how it was so sore - turns out it's from him getting whacked by the chairlifts consistently, so silly!
      I was another lovely 830 bus ride just around the corner, which meant a sleep in.
      The mountain itself was much bigger than we anticipated, and our injuries didn't hold us back at all, really. Jay still had consistency with foot issues while being in bindings, and we stopped regularly for him to get feeling back in after unstrapping.
      There was plenty of POW around. We got stuck a bunch, Esther discovered she could get out if POW by tobogganing on her snowboard, and we got plenty of tree runs in.
      We switched both our boards again and headed home for a wash and onsen.
      Dinner was okonimiayaki, and it was Oishi! Run by a Son and his Father, this small restaurant served up some delightful foods. Jay tried some odd drinks; a beer with tomato juice called the red eye, and another was beer and Ginger ale.
      Rather tipsy and quite full, we were back in the lodge bar, had a drink, or 2 and chatted with the staff.
      A good day 😌
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    • Day 6

      Lazy evening

      March 8 in Japan ⋅ ☁️ -2 °C

      We walked down the corner to a place called Zen and had some hot soba noodles. It had a fair bit of hype around town; the building was traditional Japanese, and it looked very cute. Inside, there were floor seating tables, and it all looked very pretty. We arrived at 540pm with no booking as was suggested to us by our host Sara, and when we asked for a table the response was that there was a reservation for 7pm and that we probably wouldn't be able to fit. After some convincing that we could warily eat in an hour, we were taken to a back corner with regular seating in a non decorated area.

      Luckily, the food was ok, Esther finally got some salmon sashimi, blanched scallops, and miso eggplant. The cups in the picture were for the sake we ordered, and we were given the basket to choose a cup from - very cute. Overall, the handmade sofa noodles weren't amazing in our opinion. Maybe we aren't soba people 🤷‍♀️ The dessert was also delicious, a panacotta type dish and some lemon sorbet, yum!

      Then, we came back to the lodge for Esther to finish and hand in her assignment
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    • Day 7

      And thats a wrap 👏

      March 9 in Japan ⋅ 🌫 -5 °C

      The weather was insane; gusts of high winds, the snow did not let up at all, we were wet, frozen, covered head to toe in snow from falling over, exhausted from the extra effort involved in navigating the POW and we could not havw been a happier pair!
      It was an amazing day with no major injuries. What a cherry on top to a great week!
      Lunch involved a hotdog and an Asahi Tornado (see video).

      Entering Spicy rentals and dropping off our snowboards, rather than swapping, was an odd feeling as we were so used to carrying them back from the store. We felt naked without them.
      We had a quick shower and onsen before our in-lodge dinner of Habe at 6 pm. What an incredible meal!
      Orchestrated by Sarasa (Stephens wife and our other host), she prepared a hot dish that was essentially a Japanese broth, which we added various ingredients (carrots, Japanese rocket lettuce, 3 types of mushrooms, sprouts, chicken and pockets of ... held together with toothpicks). They were boiled at table side, and you picked out what you wanted to eat with the tongs, placing it into either of the 2 sauces; a sesame based and a lemon soy.
      Part way through, we were given a chicken mince concoction to separate into mini meatballs and cook them in the broth.
      When all the ingredients were eaten and only broth remained, Sarasa came around with rice and turned it into a Japanese style risotto!
      To cap it all off, there was ice cream with red bean for dessert 😋.
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    • Day 196


      March 15, 2018 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

      Die olympischen Winterspiele in Nagano sind mir noch in bester Erinnerung, nicht zuletzt wegen des üblen Sturzes von Hermann Maier, der danach ja zum Erstaunen aller trotzdem noch zwei Goldmedaillen geholt hat.
      Dass ich 20 Jahre später vor dem Starthäuschen der Olympia-Abfahrt stehe und die Piste in Happo one runterkarve, wäre mir nie in den Sinn gekommen. Glücklicherweise habe ich mir in den letzten Jahren ein wenig geografisches Wissen angeeignet, sonst hätte ich das Häuschen wohl nicht gefunden. Ich dachte nämlich lange Zeit, dass Nagano in Spanien liegt.
      Das Dörfchen Hakuba liegt auf einer Höhe von ca. 800 m ü. M. Der Höchste Lift der 9 Skigebiete rund um Hakuba ist gerade einmal auf 1'831 m ü. M. Schneemangel scheint hier aber ein Fremdwort zu sein. Aktuell liegen immer noch etwa 350 cm auf dem Gipfel.
      Wer hier nach Après-Ski Stimmung, Restaurants zum draussen sitzen & Liegestühlen auf der Piste sucht, wird nicht richtig fündig. Es geht hier primär ums Skifahren. Trotz des Sulzschnees, der sich bei knapp 20 Grad relativ früh am Morgen bemerkbar machte, war die einzige "Outdoor-Bar" im Happo one nicht gerade gut besucht. Vielleicht läuft am Wochenende mehr, aber irgendwie scheint man hier andere Prioritäten zu haben.
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    • Day 7


      April 6, 2018 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

      🎼 ‘Sometimes it snows in April’ 🎼.... and sometimes it rains. But lucky for us there is snow (and rain!) in Hakuba... which means we can ski and snowboard!!!! HOORAY!

      After a 5 hour train ride from Kyoto (boring...) with some tight transfers we have arrived at Morino lodge in a spacious room with balcony. Grabbed a veggie sandwich, skis and boards rented, stocked up on cup-of-noodles, mochi, and matcha, and now chillaxing in our room reading and iPad-ing. Bliss!

      DAY 2: SKIING!!!

      MAGIC. DAY. We tried out Hakuba 47 (name of the ski park) as it was recommended for having the best snow at the moment and most green runs. It felt a bit dubious riding the gondola up the mountain. The ground below is snow-free with buds of flowers blooming. The mountain didn’t look super snowy. It is no longer ‘official’ ski season (actually it’s Spring here now) and some of the ski parks have closed. So it was very cool to exit the gondola into winter wonderland. The chairlifts were playing peppy music which I can only describe as ‘ragtime jazz.’ We quickly got our ski/snowboard legs and took off. Throughout the day, I could see Buz, Zach, and Jesse all improving. Meanwhile, I have not graduated from ‘snowplow’ mode and I still think in terms of ‘pizza’ (slow down) and ‘fries’ (go fast), making wide s-shaped arcs downhill. It’s all good, though. Had a brilliant time. And not to brag, but I even managed some ‘green-with-a-thrill’ runs down the C-line run high up the mountain- narrow, winding path down... spectacular views.

      Now back in our cozy room, filled up with hot tea. Don’t know if going out for dinner is even an option. We are all beat.

      DAY 3:
      It snowed!! which means... snowball fights, making snowmen, and (of course) another 8-hour day of skiing. Boys are improving exponentially.. to the extent they are doing big runs on their own and even tried out the ‘sports park’ (think: rails, slaloms, jump ramps) today. My heart was in my mouth for much of today, crossing fingers that they will stay safe. Buz also fully in his element, pushing his limits and boarding like a champ. Me... I’m an Amberg. Still fascinated by the challenge of a good green run. So we’re all happy.

      Buz’s birthday tomoz!

      Yesterday celebrated Buz’s 43rd in style with a full day skiing in white-out conditions followed by a party platter of vegetable gyozas at a local Japanese restaurant.

      The weather doesn’t seem to know what to do with itself. After 2 days of heavy powder snow, the sun is shining and our snowman has melted. Boys made the most of today playing on the half-pipe and rails. Meanwhile, I took the day to walk around exploring Happo. Made my way to the top of the ski jump for the 98 Nagano Olympics. Vertigo!

      Left Hakuba reluctantly as we had the BEST time ever here! It’s definitely on the do-again bucket list. A few hiccups on the last day... Jesse accidentally left his iPad at the hotel! He removed it to get some mochi (his favourite food) from the bottom of his carry-on, but forgot to re-pack it! Luckily the hotel staff are exceptionally lovely and sending his iPad on to our hotel in Rome. Phew! THEN, we grabbed a dodgy backpackers hostel in Shinjuku (think shared unisex toilets and paper-thin walls in the red light district). Zach woke up at 4am dry-retching with a sore tummy and nausea. Right on time for a full-day’s travel to Beijing! He managed not to vomit whilst travelling through Tokyo, waiting at airports, 4-hour flight, more customs in China, and then airport express train to out Beijing Hotel. He was an absolute champion for what amounted to a day’s travel.

      Now... Beijing!
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Hakuba, 白馬村, 하쿠바 촌, Хакуба

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