Six thirty am. In the rain I trudge for the bus. Arrive at Heathrow too early, sit in pre-departures, un-updated iPod steadily looping over.. Fast forward a week and I’m lying in my nice double bed with the snow falling steadily outside and my iPod all updated.
Getting to this point has involved a pretty hectic week full of new faces, places and of course, foods. My journey here went smoother than could be imagined – even with the little run down the platform with the locals to make the local train connection. Japan trains are punctual beyond belief and so two minutes to change trains isn’t something to be taken lightly.
My final local train, after over 24 hours on the move, was a magical little train ride up into the hills, the surroundings becoming whiter as we left the coast and pushed up towards the mountain.
Japan is a small island, similar to England in it’s overpopulation, but different in about every other way imaginable. I’ve had some interesting culinary experiences in the past week eating items from crab dumplings to cheesy chicken soup to Octopus biscuit – albeit the final due to my new colleagues delight as she passed it too me to try and watched my face contort as I tried to keep it down (Turns out there was an English sign translating). There’s simply no way to attempt to guess at what script may be saying on items and as in Japan many food items are eaten whole, not nibbled, it’s a case of cross your finger’s and hope for the best.
I am also now a Sushi making master, having been taught by a chef doing it for over 30 years, who could make pieces in under 3 seconds. Boss tekkers. Images below.
My new house is pretty sweet, with all my housemates to date being great fun, and my room, (more importantly my king size bed and 42″ TV), more than you’d expect from staff accom. I live by two awesome things. One, that the whole town is by, is Mount Yōtei, an active, (technically), volcano that is quite literally awe inspiring. No other way to put it. The photo does it zero justice, although apparently seeing him cloud free is a privilege, especially during winter when the clouds shroud the peak.
The second sweet thing is the outdoors Onsen down the road, where for a fiver you can enjoy a hot steamy spring with a nice cold beer as you unwind. This was awesome before the snow had properly arrived, so now the landscape is white it will be epic. I’d like to get a pic for you all, but not certain of the camera etiquette around a bunch of nudie men and my Japanese isn’t exactly fluent yet..
So after a week of settling down and getting my job inductions out the way the snow has arrived this morning and is here to stay. Whereas in Aus you’d read the snow reports and laugh at their depth estimations, here it’s the opposite, they under-estimate. I still can’t quite fathom just how snowy this place is going to become, but judging by the snow clearing machines’ wheels that tower over me, I can safely say I’m guaranteed a white Christmas.
I’m also now pretty broke, especially with pay day not until January. Although in saying that, I’m more than happily broke, because of these beauties:
They set me back more than probably anyone reading this earns in a month, (if you reckon that’s not the case, you better be running quick to get my Christmas pressie in the post), but are so epic all I want to do is head out and ride the pow.
I went out on a cultural day experience with all my new colleagues. Taking in a classic $35 million Japanese mansion, bossing out the sushi making, seeing the picturesque Otaru and getting suitably relaxed with some saké tasting for the ride home. All whilst being paid!
Traveling and working means you build up a fairly big portfolio of companies and their policies. Some good and others not so much. I have to say, so far, I’m pretty much loving life here for skijapan and am just excited for the season to get fully underway and the powder to keep getting deeper.
Come visit. You’ll love it too.