It’s about that time, eh? I’m a month in to my travels, and until now, have done an exquisite job of not updating my blog. So let me put an end to that now.
You know when you’ve mentally prepared yourself for something? And before you jump into it, you’re all “I got this, I’m mentally prepared”, feeling a bit smug and proud of yourself? Yeah, that was me when I considered the cold weather of the Japanese Alps. Then I got here. HOLY HELL IT WAS SO COLD. I thought I was ready, but the cold was debilitating. I would wear 4 or 5 layers out into the cold, and every second be shivering uncontrollably, wanting only to get back home, under a blanket where I could attempt to hibernate (unsuccessfully, I might add). But cold or not, the mountains and the valley I live in are absolutely beautiful.
Anyway, the weather has finally taken a turn for the warmer side. The only downside to this is that the ski season is wrapping up as well. The upside? I got to go out for a long run and breath in the mountain air without it freezing my lungs, all while soaking up some much needed vitamin D. The trees are starting to bud, and I’m told the cherry blossoms will be blooming soon.
But enough about the weather. Japan is filled with tons of awesome things. This past month I’ve had some pretty amazing experiences:
- I visited a Temple where you take an underground journey through a pitch black corridor with nothing to guide you but your hand on the COLD wall
- I went to the entrance of a secret tunnel built in WW2 for the emperor to hide and escape through
- I enjoyed multiple meals eaten while sitting Japanese style on the ground
- I learned to curse in Japanese
- I ate horse (which was dericious, btw)
- I learned how to play “Touch Rugby” from some Aussie’s
- I skied down the slalom course from the 98 Winter Olympics in Nagano
- I piloted a Gundam robot in a badass Japanese Game Center
- I visited an authentic Onsen. Onsens are one of those “you have to experience it for yourself” type things, so I won’t go into much detail – that’d be weird. But I will say that there is no feeling like sitting nude, outside, in a natural hot spring on the top of a mountain, overlooking a distant town as the sun silhouettes the mountains in an indescribable sunset. Particularly after a long day of skiing.
And a quick note about being a foreigner conversing with other foreigners. Do you know what sucks about it? Nothing. Welcome to a crazy-interesting group of adventurers who share like-minded, nonjudgmental attitudes. Sure, every once in a while you get your odd ball who makes you really question why they’re abroad, but for the most part, you meet amazing people. Throw a topic out on the table, and not only will you get an open minded discussion, but you’ll get interesting views from around the world. Such was the case when I was in China, and such is the case here.
As always, there much more to learn and much more to experience. I don’t know my next step, but I’ve got my ear to the ground (and I’m open to any suggestions…).