January 12, 2020
January 12, 2020

We are in JAPAN!!!

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We have arrived. We are in Japan 🇯🇵. It feels so strange - not just because we moved from ~30C 🌴 degree weather to ~5C ⛄ degree weather. Words can't describe how we feel right now. Maybe a photo will do a better job of it.

Ok, so that is just a photo of us looking pretty with ramen. Let's try and actually describe how we feel. WE ARE IN JAPAN. You already know that, but it is still running through our heads all the time. I am so excited that Nancy thinks I am crazy when I start vibrating suddenly. I have always wanted to be a ski bum live in a ski town. When people say "living the dream", that is how I feel right now (without the sarcasm in their voice).  

The move to Japan

Moving to a new home sucks. Even in the same city. I am sure it is much worse moving provinces. Moving to another country is next level difficult - especially when you don't speak the language. I just had to order something off amazon and had to figure out how to write an address in Japan. Guess what? not the same as in Canada. Pretty sure I butchered it. We will see if my scotch makes it to me or not.  

I think that we have run around almost all of Hakuba in the past week. We have been to three different grocery stores (there are only three in town), pretty much all the liquor stores, every shop that rents/sells skis and a couple restaurants. We registered with the city hall and got our medical insurance. Everyone has been super friendly, and helpful.

The Digs

This is the view out of the shared lounge space. Pretty decent eh?

The studio that we are staying in is pretty solid. Was a bit of a surprise to see a print of a naked lady above the bed, but otherwise everything was as expected. Tiny ass kitchen, living area, bed, washroom that is cold AF, and in typical old Asian construction - windows that are single pane (letting all the heat out). On the plus side, the basement has an onsen, which Nancy is loving.

A panoramic photo of our studio, the naked lady was cut out intentionally except Nancy forgot to account for the mirror

We have a super nice landlady who has been really accommodating. She has also offered us part time work, should we be seeking employment. In all honesty, this whole not working thing has been pretty nice - but watching outflows from your bank account isn't super fun. Not to mention, I have some pretty expensive vices - Lego, skiing, scotch, and lets not forget travel. While we are mentioning expensive things I like - a porsche should be at the top of that list. As such, we are contemplating working part time so that we can buy more lego not be broke when we find a ski town to settle down in.

We are in Japan to ski, right?

Nancy just showed me a chart of snowfall in Hakuba over the past 10 ski seasons (see charts below, courtesy of Mountainlife.jp). Turns out this year is essentially...the worst. This season has been unusually warm, so while they may get a dump of snow one day, it is followed up by rain the next day. It makes me cry a little on the inside as it seems like all the BC resorts and Hokkaido ski hills are getting more snow. Stay positive. Snow will come. If this season isn't good, then it just means we have to stay for another one...right?  

We also made the choice to buy Nancy's skis in Japan, rather than lugging two sets over (it was really heavy last time we did that). Turns out buying skis in Japan is more expensive than Canada. Oops haha. Interestingly, there are a ton of rental shops in Hakuba, but very few shops that actually sell skis.

Our ski gear!!

Actually skiing in Japan

We actually have been skiing. Just a bit. It seems like the snow is picking up and we are seeing anywhere from 6-12cm every second day or so in the forecast. Good news, right?

Living in a ski town is so different from being at home where you had to take the effort to drive up to the mountain. At home, you would ski from open till close to make the best of your time. If we went full tilt everyday here, we would be wrecked in no time. As such, we are going to pace ourselves. You know, only ski for a couple hours each day on the weekdays, and maybe take the weekends off if there isn't any new snow to avoid any crowds.

Hopefully we will be able to post some awesome photos of skiing soon!

New Year's Eve 2020

Totally forgot this happened between our last post and this one. We went to Chiang Mai to celebrate NYE2020! Apparently this is one of the happening places to be in Thailand during the NY. This was made very evident by the bus loads of people going to and from Chiang Mai that we saw. There were a crazy amount of tourists, but also an insane amount of Thai people.

Neither Nancy and I are super into partying, but we are into taking photos. We read that lantern release is a huge part of the NYE celebrations in Chiang Mai. It was one of the main reasons we chose to travel to Chiang Mai!

Having never set off lanterns before, this was the highlight of my evening.  There were insane amount of them being set off throughout the night, along with fireworks in every direction - see our timelapse below.  

Hope you, too, had a great start to 2020! 🎉

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