Monday, February 05, 2007

Skiing, moving and farewells, will be a busy month!

As expected, my impending departure from AEON is first and foremost in my mind these days. Thankfully, however, there are some things which keep my mind occupied and not thinking too much about work. This weekend's entertainment was centered around my second ski trip of the season, a return to Daikurayama in Fukushima prefecture.

As most ski days do, this one started early, with a 5:30 wake up and a quick breakfast. For all of those day-working people who think that's not so early, you should take into consideration that as far as our work and sleep schedule goes, 5:30 is usually about 3 and a half hours into my night of sleeping. Working this 1-9PM thing will not be something I miss when I leave, it will be nice to match up my sleep schedule with Yoshiko a little better.

As I was ferrying my stuff down from my apartment in preparation for the taxi's arrival, both it and Mattoto arrived and we loaded up for the trip to the East side of the station where our bus was leaving from. I was a bit surprised at the cost of the taxi, will have to look into the possibility of a bus for the next trip down. We arrived way too early, since the taxi arrived early, but the bus finally arrived and we loaded up our gear. We were then met by Ray, whom I think I will now classify as a friend and not as a former student, since he's been gone from the school for almost a year now, and his daughter Rina.

We loaded up their stuff and after waiting for the only 3 other people who were getting on the bus with us, headed for the second bus stop. Here is a picture of the three of us, somehow sporting smiles despite the early time. All photos posted below were taken by Ray by the way, I haven't felt up to lugging my camera around recently.
As the bus started up, Ray told us "kampai" and handed out some nice cold beer! Not sure I've ever drank at 7AM before, I guess you can consider that avant-ski to match with the usual apres-ski.
I decided early on that I really didn't like this bus driver. We ended up arriving at the resort more than one hour later than last time, and only part of that can be blamed on the snow... we made 4 stops on the way up instead of the usual 2. Regardless, we did eventually make it up and were quite pleased to see that we were blessed with a genuine snow storm which promised some great conditions all day long.
I was quite impressed with Mattoto, who after a 20 year hiatus from skiing, did quite well out there. Rina also did really great, though this was only her second time out. She would make us smile as we waited for her down the hill and heard "aaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaa" as she passed us by on her semi-controlled journey down the mountain. Here's the gang, posing in the falling snow.
As far as the skiing goes, conditions were quite good on the left side of the hills, but VERY windy on the right as our one foray into that section of the mountain proved to us. It was at that point that I lost my nerve and my sking went to shit. Last year, I was following Alex along on intermediate and advanced runs and we would zoom our way down the mountain with no problems. This time around, I got spooked and ended up taking a couple of slow-motion tumbles on the hill. Part of it is that I'm still not used to so much snow, which means I'm still learning how to ski in some ways. The conditions around Ottawa are nowhere near this fluffy.
At the end of the day, the skies cleared up and we were afforded a nice view of the surrounding mountains. For which we posed again of course.
After a good day out, we piled back on the bus for the ride home. Yoshiko picked us up at the station and we headed out for some Subway sandwiches for dinner... YUM!
Today was a bit of a lazy day, I did some work on my farewell stuff, and we went out to Bell Mall to pick up some grub, but otherwise did nothing productive. Call it the calm before the storm. I only work two days this week and move on Thursday... and have I mentioned that I have yet to pack anything? lol Should be a busy week. Wish me luck!


Anonymous Cla said...

Hi M. nice to read you! So, in quite a few days you'll be "free"! I hope you'll re-start to take your nice pictures!

Speaking about canadians...have you seen this great idea:

from canadian designers ?
It would be an useful item, due to the lack of space, in Japan!

hope to read you soon

2:51 PM  

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