A week overdue. Was rather tired this past week and never really felt productive when i got home from work so i put off updating about the trip until now. This weekend has refreshed me a bit (and every muscle in my body is no longer sore anymore!) so hopefully this week will be more productive. :)
So first, Friday the 20th. We surprisingly finished work like, an hour early. R-kun who usually ends up staying the latest of all the kids got picked up a quarter til 6, so after he was gone there were no more babies or kids, and no English students that evening either, so we were able to quickly clean and get closed up. M-sensei and i went and got some food to eat at the convenience store across the street from the daycare, then ate our dinner back in the building while Mr. Big Bear drove up to the arena, the first rendezvous point for all the people on the trip. One of Mr. Big Bear's friends is a bus driver so we had our own little private tour bus for the trip. (I'm beginning to feel like Mr. Big Bear has a friend in every profession!)
A little after 9pm M-sensei and i headed down to wait in front of the building where the bus would pick us and a couple others up around 9:30.
There were about 20 people in total, including Tecchan and The Otaku, Tecchan's mom, and Mi-chan, all of whom are my students. And a lot of other people i didn't know! Everyone was pretty friendly, and while a couple tried out their English on me for a bit on the bus, the rest of the time everyone kept to Japanese. That was quite refreshing as sometimes it's kind of frustrating when everyone just wants to talk to you because they want to practice their English. Mi-chan actually spoke to me the whole trip in Japanese, even though she speaks English well enough with me when she comes in for English lessons. :)
Anywho, it was about a 3-hour bus ride. I sat in the back at first, where there were side-facing seats around a table which was piled with snacks and of course alcohol. A couple hours in though i wasn't feeling so good from sitting sideways so i sat in one of the forward-facing seats next to M-sensei.
When it turned midnight, everyone sang Happy Birthday to Tecchan, as it was his 19th birthday! Haha, so young still. xD Then around a quarter after midnight, one of the guys in the back asked when we'd be arriving, because he really really had to to pee. He decided he couldn't wait the 20 minutes so asked the driver to pull over as soon as possible, which he did, and then said guy plus Tecchan and one other guy got out to go pee in the snow. Guy who initially requested the stop said he was going to try to write "Happy Birthday" in the snow for Tecchan. Everyone was cracking up and some people started singing some Japanese song about peeing in the snow... i don't know, it was crazy! Then Mr. Big Bear poked his head out the door of the bus and started laughing at the sight of the 3 of them lined up along the side of the road. When they came back in the guy was talking about how he couldn't get all the way through "birthday", and how the 'B' looked like a 'P' or something of the sort. Hilarious bunch!
We got to the pension house around 12:30am and then everyone divided into their rooms. I was with M-sensei, Mi-chan and Mi-chan's friend. There were bunk beds 3 stories high! I wish i had thought to take a picture, because the top bunk was scarily high. But i decided i wanted to sleep up their anyway. We got to bed finally around 1:30am after a little chatting and snacking on chocolates. ;)
|Me, Mi-chan, and her friend in front of the rental shop!|
Woke up the next morning at 7am to eat a really good, Japanese-style breakfast and get ready for a full day at the slopes! One of Mr. Big Bear's friends spent the whole day with me coaching me. For the first couple hours i thought i'd never get the hang of it, but slowly and surely i started to get a little better at it. It was exhausting and i was sweating even though it was cloudy and snowing and cold. I had to take off one of my layers and my hat and scarf even. It would take like 5 to 10 minutes to walk partway up a fairly flat incline and then wedge my boots into the board, and then only 15 seconds to slide back down (and inevitably crash at the end)! I think we were there from 9am until about 4:30pm. By the end i was feeling pretty comfortable on the board, and everyone who passed was telling me to "Ganbatte! (Do your best!)". They all also kept saying, "明日一緒に滑るといいな! (I hope we can ski/board together tomorrow!)", as in take the lift up and slide down... i wasn't to sure about that though!
We had a really good dinner waiting for us after we got back and bathed (some people went to the nearby hot spring for a bath.. i wanted too as well though i had to opt out...). The food there was all really really good! Then after dinner we all headed down to this little lounge area for drinks and chatting and games. It was really nice and a lot of fun. :)
Headed to bed exhausted around midnight, then got up again around 7am again for breakfast. Only half of the people went to the slopes on Sunday, the others were too exhausted and opted to soak some more in the hot springs. I was really sore too but wanted more practice on the board so i went back with Mi-chan and her friend and Mr. Big Bear. He got me a lift-pass so i could try the slope for the first time! I was really nervous but once i got going it really wasn't so bad. I did start to get a little too comfortable the first time down and ended up starting to go faster than i wanted, and when i went to try and brake my board stuck and i belly-flopped into the snow, giving my neck a bit of a whipping. YAY! But i got right back up and ended up taking the lift up about 4 times! The last time i slid down with Tecchan's mom. It was weird to me to see all the adults on snowboards like that, but cool at the same time. :)
|Mi-chan making a Mi-chan print in the snow, in front of the pension house :)|
|Finally on the lift!|
|Pretty view from the lift! And that's Tecchan's mom on the one in front of me.|
Around noon we headed back to the pension house for lunch and to pack up. We loaded the bus and were back on the road home around 2pm. We got to watch Home Alone on the way back but most everyone fell asleep, lol.
|Everyone all tuckered out!|
Mr. Big Bear is talking about organizing a smaller, 1-day trip sometime next month. That'll be good if i can get some more practice in this winter. :D
Also, in more recent news, yesterday i finally got my haircut! I don't even remember the last time i had my hair professionally cut. Not even once last year. I trimmed it a couple times myself but that's it. And i finally dyed it to get rid of that awful orange it had turned to after the reddish had faded, like, months ago.
Before and after! If i smile i look weird, and if i don't smile i look frightened/annoyed. What to do...
And while i wanted to keep the end a bit longer in the back, oh well, it'll grow out. I'm just happy it's no longer orange and shaggy. It was decently priced too (no tips!), PLUS the scalp and shoulder massage i'd always heard about. *melts*