Friday 5 January 2018

New Year Skiing In Niigata

New Year Skiing/Snowboarding At Yuzawa Nakazato

Summary: Snowdrifts, mogul head-butting, drinking sake bath water and horse sacrifices.

We headed off to the mountains for our annual new year's ski trip. The first day we decided to try a different resort, it is further from the station and it more like a village rather than run by one company. So there are several ski hire shops and small restaurants, it had a 1970 vibe going on, I liked it!

Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling good, each time I got halfway down the slope I felt really dizzy and sick, I was somewhat worried that the vertigo was back. The boys enjoyed themselves and it was good to try somewhere new but as a days skiing, it wasn't much fun.

The next day we headed to our usual haunt, Yuzawa Nakazato, the weather was great, snowy but not windy. Lots of fresh snow, lovely to ski on and I felt much better, a couple of dizzy spells but better than the day before. It wasn't busy either, I do love it when there is no one else about! We also discovered a new run that goes through the forest when was brilliant!

Ebi-un is that fast these days I can hardly keep up, the only time I do catch up with him is when he is stuck in a snow drift! He loves it! The last run down though he went down the moguls and somehow headbutted one, the mogul won, he came away with a big nose bleed. No other damage, thankfully!

Top Tip: rubbing snow on a jacket covered in blood does actually remove the blood!

Yasutoki is a big fan of sake and Yuzawa/Niigata is famous for his sake, I think he would have like to smuggle a couple of these bottles home. I'm not sure how you would get a bottle that big back home thinking about it, you'd probably have to buy an extra train ticket and we were lucky to get seats as it was. 

The final day, the weather had turned, it was no day to be up a mountain so we went to the station, the boys had a sake bath, apparently, it is not the done thing to drink the bath water. It's a good job I didn't go in because I would have totally tried that, not that I like sake but, hey, a bath full of booze, who am I to turn my nose up at that?

Like I said, I didn't go in, I'm not much of a fan of onsen, well that is a lie. I like taking the onsen bath what I don't like is sharing it with a lot of other women who have to stare at all your bits because your a foreigner and obviously your bits are far more interesting than their bits.

As an introvert and someone who hated PE not just for the running around a cold soggy field but because of communal changing rooms, sharing a bath with a bunch of nosy strangers really isn't my idea of a barrel of laughs. I'd rather have a hot cocoa and read my book. So that is exactly what I did whilst the boys did not drink hot sake bath water.

I don't have a picture of the boys in the sake bath so here is one of a load of sake labels, almost as interesting.

We also had to stop for sasadango, which is sweet bean paste inside mochi (beaten rice cake) all wrapped and steamed in bamboo leaves, it tastes like leaves, personally, I would rather have a bar of chocolate.

Sometimes I wonder if he really is my child...

Now being organized peeps that we are, hubby had booked a train back with seats at 5.45pm by 10.30am we were already bored. The trains were busy because everyone was heading back to Tokyo after the new years break so we couldn't swap the tickets.

We decided to take a flyer and try and try and get seats on the non-reserved train carriage, it was busy but the Universe had our back so we got seats - cheers big U and it's a good job hubby didn't buy that giant bottle of sake because I can't imagine anyone being happy about having to stand because a bottle of sake was taking up a seat.

After we had some lunch we then went off to the shrine to by a new magic arrow for the entranceway and Ebi-kun wrote a wish on a bit of wood. In the olden days, you had to sacrifice a horse to go with a wish. 

Luckily we don't have to do that now because there aren't many horses around here. There is a riding school but I can't imagine that they would be happy about sacrificing a horse for a wish to get into a specific junior high school, but you never know, if it was an old horse, on its last legs they might be willing to give it up. But would the education gods be happy with a knackered old nag on its last legs? Probably not.

And anyway, I am a horse lover so would never allow horse sacrifice on my watch.

The education gods had to do with the wooden plaque and load of loose change and 3 prayers, here's hoping that that is enough!

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