Our friend Scottish John joined us and gave me some relief from the pressure of trying to master skiing quick enough to go down the hill with James. He's fearless on his board and I am barely more than a beginner on a pair of skis. I spent one day practicing some turns, but was too wrecked to try again the next day, or not so willing to shell out another $90 to fall on my arse.
The Japanese Alps are breathtaking. They seem to extend forever across the valley and your eye just can't take it all in, or understand their vastness. The snow was deep and heavy at times and the sun shone brightly most of the time we were there. And even better, the resort was nearly empty! Having the chance to practice my beginner skills without the risk of snowboards ramming me in the back is invaluable.
Each night we had great food, from Korean BBQ (yakiniku) to tofu, edamame, fresh fish and warm sake. We had laughs, great conversation and enjoyed the peacefulness of the stars in the sky and the crisp air at night. The resort is very popular with Australians and Kiwis coming to enjoy the Japanese powder and we met some interesting characters, including Zero the Doberman, who joined us at the bar.
We're back at home now. It's a bit warmer in Tokyo than when we left. Since we traveled on Christmas Day, we are going to celebrate today with fondue after calling family and friends over Skype. The wonders of the internet allow us to watch our nieces and nephews open gifts from across the globe.
Even though we feel so fortunate to be able to celebrate in our own style where ever we are in the world, we always feel a bit sad on the big day when we realize that Christmas is for being together, and we are so far away.