Written in room at the Black Diamond Lodge, Niseko, eating cheap rice and tea

“I don’t get how chopsticks evolved, as an eating device.”
“They used twigs first.”
“Yeah I know, but why? Why would that ever be more efficient than just using your hands?”
“You try to pick up a slippery noodle out of hot water.”
“Oh…yeah. Yeah, actually that makes sense. In one sentence you just answered something I’ve wondered about for ages.”

Our lodge is called the Black Diamond, ironically because I would sleep nude outside before I would ever go down a black diamond run, owned by a canadian expat who is a loveably stereotypical snowboarding dude. Snowboarding, incidentally, is very fucking hard.I spent most of the day scraping down the slopes with my board in a horizontal position. Towards the end of the day I figured out the falling leaf pattern, where you disregard the regular/goofy status and simply switch back and forth as you do… switchbacks. I’m suspecting I may actually be a regular instead of a goofy because it feels more comfortable when I’m facing downhill and going left, though that might also have to do with the fact that to stop in that position I have to bring my right foot forward, putting me into goofy position, which feels a lot more comfortable than vice versa. “Stopping,” of course, is my primary consideration when snowboarding. At first I did this by running into the snowdrifts on either side of the runs but now I’ve figured out how to do it properly… I think. Early in the day I ran right into Jamie’s back when he was sitting down, which I felt super bad about.

Surveying the land

Surveying the land

Anyway after a whole day of uncomfortable, almost painful horizontal scrapes down the mountainsides, much of it alone or with just an exasperated Chris, riding exposed skilifts up the side of a frigid, windswept mountain… we had a beaauuuuutiful run home, where nearly the whole group stayed together, and there was fresh powder snow falling. For some reason I do it more confidentally when it’s snowing heavily even though everything gets blurred.

Then we reached the bottom and had to hike through the woods to get back to our lodge, which was difficult but fucking awesome. We made snow angels and tried to make a snowman and found what we thought was a bear cave but which wasn’t.

hiking-woods

Hiking home through the woods

After a hot shower we headed into town to try and get some food. I wanted to exchange some money but the post office was closed because it was like 8 pm (talk about lazy am i rite) so instead we bought some microwave rice from a convenience store and stood around freezing our asses off waiting for the bus. A passing Japanese man walking his dog said he would show us a good bar where we could wait, which seemed quite altruistic until we arrived at the bar and he took his coat off and stood behind the counter. We ended up getting a surprisingly expensive taxi rather than wait for the bus, and speaking of money, let’s figure out how I burned through 28,000 yen in just two days:

3,000 – bus ticket between narita and haneda airports
6,000 – snow gloves
4,000 – visor
10,300 – pants and jacket hire
1,000 – ski pass
3,700 – ? assorted food and drink?

That’s a little over 500 AUD (it took me ten minutes to figure that out), or, 25% of the money I have in reserve for spending. That doesn’t bode well mathematically, although I guess I won’t have to throw any more money in the fiscal black hole that is a ski shop at the bottom of biggest tourist trap in the fucking country. If push comes to shove I’ll ask Dad to drop some money into my bank account.

Anyway I’m pretty happy, most of the day was painful/unfun but I’m feeling optimistic after that really cool final run.

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