Friday, February 14th, 2014

Another “English” breakfast (scrambled eggs with sausage this time). Still much better than most English breakfasts I have ever had in the UK…

Japanese Breakfast

Our last day and we headed to our local resort again: Happo One. The snow has been coming down still so it has been tricky skiing all day. We took the hotel shuttle to the lift at about 9.

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The day started with our skiing at the far left side of the resort in the Nakiyama area which we have found to be the best for us so far. It is where the night skiing is and is right beside the ski jumps. There are several small runs that are “green” (easy) but actually a bit more challenging so it is a good warm-up for us particularly when we are feeling a bit nervous about the conditions and the visibility. We were determined though to give some of the higher runs a try - The same ones we have not really enjoyed even in the clearer weather - So ended up at “Usagidaira Terrace” where it was far worse conditions than where we had started the day.

Usagidaira Terrace

We ended up stopping for an early lunch at a lower restaurant “Sun Terrace Panorama” which is a round glass building at the bottom of a lift that has a proper sit-down restaurant on the ground floor but the first is the standard cafeteria (though fairly small compared to Usagidaira). We spent some time sitting at the window with our mits, hats and scarves on the heaters to dry and looking up the slope (though not very far because of the snow coming down…). I had some wonderful chicken “kare-age” (chicken marinated in sake then deep fried in a lovely batter) and rice with coke on the side (of course).

Sun Terrace Panorama


We tried skiing a bit at the top with the snow seeming to clear for a few minutes but eventually it was just too tense and we headed back near the bottom where we had started on the day. At one point, on a slope that we actually really enjoyed, mother’s legs flew out from under her and she fell onto the back of her head. I did not know this as I was at the bottom already. Normally I go a little ahead then stop to wait for her to catch up (and so we can catch our breath) but as this was at the very bottom of the run and it was a small section I had gone ahead. She was feeling a bit woozy so we stopped at the bottom for another light something to eat at a small cafeteria. It was interesting in that it had free soup (!) and tea but I had a tempura pancake in a noodle soup which was nice if a bit soggy. The coke was bottomless as well!

Last Stop of the Day...

Our Skis...Helpfully Labeled

Well, after this it was not going to last much longer. The conditions were not improving, mother did not feel that great and we did not want to push ourselves so we ended up catching the bus at about 2 pm.

Last Trip Up

Not Elegant - Last Run

Bus Stop

This is not really the way we would have wanted to finish our skiing but, again, we have nothing to prove and we have enjoyed ourselves. So there you go. The trip back to the hotel was quite pretty with all of the roads covered with snow - Everything was white. The bus, as you might expect, was pretty empty so we were able to sit at the front and watch the uniformed white-gloved driver as he made his way through the village. It has to be said that there were not a lot of people around even that we noticed on the slopes.

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Arriving at the Tourist Information Centre

Tourist Information Centre

Manhole Cover

We used the private onsen at 4 pm (same process as before - I go down first and mother comes down later). The snow has just been continuing to come down - The trees outside of our room look absolutely amazing. A number of people seemed to be finishing early and the other skiers/boarders we have seen around all look quite wet (deadly on the slopes as it means you get cold very easily).

Our final “Japanese Casual” dinner in the hotel was at 7 pm and was delicious as always. The starter was three small deep-fried fish with a small turnip cylinder in sauce and some fresh vegetables. I just ate the fish whole, dipping them in a small dot of aioli but mother did not like the idea of crunching on the (very small, it has to be said) bones. I did not even notice them…Our sashimi course tonight was squid, local fish and, for something different, prawn. Very good. The next course was the light rectangle of white fish we have had previously before on a bamboo leaf.

Japanese Casual Dinner

 Tea Pot

On television we have been watching as this snow has been hitting Tokyo pretty hard. Normally Tokyo does not get any real significant amount of snow but they have had so much snow that people have been advised not to go out and it seems like a lot of the public transport is closed down. It was interesting seeing how what in North America would be quite a light amount of snow completely paralyzes a massive city like Tokyo (though I have also seen this happen in London as well). I am not sure how this is going to affect our travel. I think we should be fine as our flights are on Sunday afternoon so we have all of tomorrow to get to Tokyo. I have booked a hotel near the airport for tomorrow night.

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Packing is always quite bittersweet for me. On the one hand I am returning home but on the other hand we have had a great time and were just getting used to this area. The language has been a slight issue (I do try…) but the people are so nice. The Hakuba area is also very pretty. It was nice to get away from the big tourist areas of the country certainly with the skiing but also with our visit to Takayama. Trying the scales from the bathroom I think I am a few kilograms over my meager limit for the plane…(sigh) I guess I will just have to pay.

Our Hallway

Our Hotel

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