Monday, February 10th, 2014

It was the western breakfast again this morning. Today instead of tofu I got some wonderful local sausage and a hash brown. They have figured out that mother is a vegetarian so they have been making sure that every meal she gets either fish or vegetables…We also realised that we could help ourselves to the table in the middle of the room that has various cereals, juices, yoghurts, breads, etc. Wish I knew this yesterday…I just ate the delicious granola straight from my bowl with no milk.

After our disastrous first day visit to Happo One (the largest ski area in the valley) we figured we would give it another chance now that the weather appears to have improved. Our hotel offers a shuttle to the ski lifts of the resort as they are only a short distance away so at 9:00 am we loaded up for the trip to the “Nakiyama” ski lift near the ski jumps we visited last night (and also the night skiing area). We were the only one in the van as it took us back to the main road and around to the ski area. Picking up our passes for the day we were good to go…

This time we stayed low on the mountain instead of going to the top straight away. We started with skiing a very small section at the bottom that they use for night skiing then we went about half way up to the top of the ski jumps (just off to the side of the lift) and found a nice wide red (intermediate) slope that went all the way to the bottom. We are relaxed and enjoying the experience after our previous, not so pleasant, visit.

For lunch we headed back to the top at about 11:30. We have been trying to eat earlier as it avoids the big rush. We ate at “Usagidaira Terrace” again in the buffet restaurant where I even had the same thing: Beef curry/stew with pork cutlet on rice (I think it was 1,400 yen). Rather than mother just having a bowl of rice I talked her into trying the croquettes which are panko crumbed deep-fried taro balls that she really enjoyed (though it needed a bit of flavouring of the sauce I brought her). We have the lunch thing down to a tee - We find a place to sit, she figures out what she wants to eat while I wait at the table, then returns and I go to get the food and bring it back. It was not as busy in the restaurant as it was the first day but it is after the weekend (though we have been told tomorrow is a holiday so it may get quieter still as the week goes on).


Looking Out of the Window

After lunch we skied for a while on the same slopes we had visited on the first day in bright but couldn’t see though now in bright sunlight - What a difference. It was so much better and we were much happier. To be honest, I was not really worried about myself but I was worried about my mother as she was so disappointed and concerned after that first outing. It was good to see her happy again.

The problem we had on our first visit and we had again today was getting back down as the only real option (other than “giving up” and catching the gondola down) is a narrow green (beginner) trail that winds through the trees (Mother hates these) that, at one point, crosses over an exceptionally steep black (expert) run…It is not very nice.

Bottom of "Adam" Gondola

We stopped early again today at “about” 2:05 pm at the bottom of the “Adam” gondola where we caught a bus back to the hotel (we convinced the driver to drop us off at the souvenir shop at our corner rather than further down the road at the Tourist Information building). Arriving at the hotel at 2:15 we booked our on-sen for 3 pm and relaxed. Mother took a bunch of pictures of the hotel…

Front Desk Take off your Shoes... Front Foyer (dining room behind closed door) Front Door Bar Area Looking Out Window of Bar Area The Bar Hotel Souvenir Shop

Today I took a bunch of pictures of the on-sen so I could explain how it worked to everyone back home. Would have, perhaps, been difficult to explain if someone saw me…The onsen, as always, was extremely hot. Since the shower is set to 45 Celsius the water in the bath has to be 55 or more….

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A bit of a panic tonight as we were watching the Olympics on television mother was busy looking for her Mickey Mouse watch. Normally she leaves it on the table and even though we looked through the piles of papers and things on it we could still not find it so after dinner we told the owner we were looking for it. Not sure where it went but I can’t think the cleaners who straighten out our futons every morning have taken it as there is little theft here (the example being someone leaving a phone on the subway in Tokyo and finding it still there hours later). My futon needs a lot of care every morning - They have a form-fitted sheet that wraps over the comforter we are using but by the morning mine is always on the floor and I am sleeping with just the comforter (I guess, in my sleeping throws, I push off the sheet). I do leave a mess…

Dinner was at the hotel tonight as we opted for the “Japanese Casual” (to be honest, at 3,150 yen each it is the cheapest and it has been so good we aren't interested in the other more expensive options which range from 5,250 yen to 10,500 yen!). The phone rang at 6:00 pm inviting us down to the dining room.

We started with a small cylinder of eggplant with a spicy topping. Next course was some sashimi (raw fish - the same as we had the first day - salmon, squid and local fish), followed by salt-cooked salmon with the main being “shabu-shabu” which consists of a large boiling pot of water on a burner at the table in which you cook the raw ingredients provided then dip them into a dipping sauce. I had the pork again but mother was given snow crab (!). I think she got the better deal…But it was delicious. Desert was a dark custard served in glass cups that was quite tasty as well.

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