Happy New Year!
Last year we had a tropical new years on the Great Barrier Reef but this year we went to the snow. If it's gonna be cold, it might as well be snowy and pretty. That's my logic anyway. We went to Nozawa Onsen in Nagano with our friends Tyler and Sachika. We knew you could ski there but didn't realize that it's predominantly a village for skiiers, so for the first day and a half we walked around envious of all the skiiers and pondered on how the beer and katsu curry must taste so much better after a physical day of skiing. So finally on New Year's Day we took the plunge and skiied all day. Darin snowboarded for the first time and being a skateboarder, he did really well.
I really recommend a trip to Nozawa. The tiny little village has plenty of cheap accomodation and good food. It also has 13 free hot spring baths - we managed to go to four different ones. It snowed the first day we were there.
so we soaked our feet in one of the ashi-yu (hot springs for feet)
the town has a travelator that takes you directly from the town to the ski fields - very convenient!
Hikage ski slope at Nozawa
we saw crazy tyres
saw some cute dogs
we went to almost the top of the mountain - it was truly a winter wonderland
tyler and daz after a hard day on the slopes
then there were snowball fights
my new hat kept me warm - I used a Japanese knitting pattern from this book. (This hat was knit entirely on the flight from Detroit to Tokyo - Darin had to massage my hands afterwards they were so sore).
And we soaked in the best outdoor hot springs that we've all ever been to - Maguse Onsen. Tyler took a lot of great photos from the men's bath (including one of him and darin naked - don't worry it's very classy, no bits can be seen!!) and supposedly lots of other men were too, but things were much more guarded at the women's onsen and I just took a few quick photos. The scenery was amazing and sitting outside in the snow in freezing temps naked but not cold at all is a whole other experience. Highly recommended.
we also ate lots of great local food - handmade soba, tons of nozawana (nozawa style-pickled vegetables) and these baby nagaimos - they are just like mini boiled potatoes - deelicious!
I hope everyone had a great new years. I didn't really make any resolutions. I hope to join runagogo and lose some of this holiday joy around my belly. Oh and today is my last day as a 31-year old and I take the plunge into the 32s tomorrow. It's going to be a great one!!