On that note, we had a 4 day break this last weekend. James went snowboarding with some friends back to Hakuba and I went skiing in Echigo Yuzawa. 8 of us stayed in a cabin right on the mountain and enjoyed the drone of grooming machines all night long (what James would call the greatest travesty to a snowboarder in Japan: grooming). This particular resort was full of beginner trails, perfect for me to gain my skiing legs. We skied all day and soaked in the onsen at night.
With Charity at the top of the hill. First time I've ever been able to get to the top of the mountain and get down with all my limbs intact.All I've wanted for the last 10 days is to watch the olympics! NBC blocked all content outside of the US. Not even our 100 yen per hour TV in the lodge was playing the olympics! Drat! But, we did get to watch women's curling Japan vs. Canada on our last night. I read an article recently touting the Japanese team as the "darlings of curling." The funny thing is, the team looked like all other Japanese women---well kept and groomed, without a hair out of place. While I like that the women take pride in their appearance, I don't like how much attention the media pays to athletes who "look good."
And finally, in other news, it feels like spring is in the air in Tokyo. Even though it snowed a week ago (the first snow for us in Tokyo), the temperatures are back up to the teens this week and it makes the ride to school so much more pleasant. The ume trees are blooming, too. I hope the sakura blossoms aren't far behind. Following Japanese protocol today, I went to the Setagaya Ward Office to officially change my name on my alien registration card to FOSS and to file a change in family status. The ward office is a scene out of the 50's. Each resident of the ward has a card with his/her family information stored in large metal cabinets. When any of your stats change (name, birth, move, marriage, etc.), you fill out reams of paperwork and someone pulls out your card and hand-writes in your new information. It's a trip. On top of that, my new alien card is required to list James's name as my "head of household." While my mom's generation might roll their eyes and clench their fists at such a proclamation, I laughed it off and celebrated by buying a bottle of Erath Pinot Noir (!) and some brie cheese from a nice little cheese monger. It's not everyday you are transported back to 1950.