Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Hakuba, Japan - In Review

We went to Hakuba (which is part of Nagano Prefecture where Japan has hosted the Winter Olympics twice) for about a week over break.  While I wasn't begging to go skiing for our winter holiday, the moment the kids stepped into the snow, I knew John had made the right decision.

Growing up in Connecticut, I had always been around snow.  Not big beautiful, mountainous, there-is-snow-on the ground for five months kind of snow, but still, I definitely had many experiences in the snow as a kid.

Maximo in lessons using his "idgy widgy" or "pizza maker"

Lola catching snow on her tongue
We find that beach vacations are really easy with the kids, they love to swim and play all day and all four of us are content.  But, with only a tiny annoyance of having to pull a newly potty trained kid out of all of her ski gear, this ski trip maybe was just as easy.

"This is going to be the best day ever"
We stayed at Alpine Ski Chalet which was great for our family.  We always appreciate a place that we can make simple breakfast and/or snacks and a place that the kids can go to sleep and we are not stuck in the dark at 8 pm.  The owner, Kevin, really helped us out in planning for our trip and recommended that we ski at Iimori and take lessons at Hakuba Snow Sports School.  They had MANY English instructors which was great for us.

Maximo took three mornings of lessons and was skiing semi-independently by the end of the three days, John's skiing level improved greatly over the three days.  After the first day of lessons (and my third time skiing), I decided to not put Lola into daycare again and hang out with her and sled and play in the snow.  I really don't love skiing.  It does not come naturally to me and as an (has -been) athlete, it is frustrating.  I don't love the sensation of going down the hill, although it is beautiful.  So, I'll try again some other time when Lola is older and in her own lessons.

Hakuba, to a foreigner living in Japan, is kind of Bizarroland.  There are SO MANY foreigners, especially Australians.  There are many direct flights from Australia straight to Hakuba and it's definitely a destination vacation.  There were many times we didn't even feel like we were in Japan.  There was English everywhere, even taxi drivers spoke good English, everyone around us could actually understand everything we were saying and I only saw chopsticks at one of the restaurants we went to (or they just automatically offered us forks and knives).
Dinner with the Welbes Family every night.
That being said, it was a great family holiday.  John may even convince me to go on another ski holiday while we are living in Japan.  He is taking my place on the middle school ski trip in a few weeks, and I know he's excited about being able to go skiing again soon.

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