July 1, 2010

What to do when you're in Japan ni

Night Bus: If you snowboard and you're there in winter you should totally do this. Seriously. Snowboarding in Japan is so much fun. I actually thought I was over snowboarding after a couple winters in Colorado and then I went out there and found renewed love and faith in the powers of snowboarding. The mountains are great and perhaps due to the fact that nobody rides trees out there, you feel like you are an explorer. When you duck a rope you don't have tracks to follow, you just have to go for it and hope you end up back at a chair.
The Night Bus leaves from Shinjuku Station around 10 p.m. You get on this totally crowded bus and it drives through the night. The bus will be really, really warm. Painfully so. You may drink heavily in the hopes of passing out. If you do fall asleep you will wake suddenly to realize you are sweating profusely and drooling. You won't fit in the seat. Japanese people have the uncanny ability to sleep anywhere (you will see this on trains all the time. They fall completely asleep sitting up and then manage to wake right before their stop). They will all be sleeping peacefully. The bus will stop randomly at travel centers with enormous restrooms, snacks, local delicacies, and an all-night ramen shop. Everyone will eat ramen in five minutes and get back on the bus. You will arrive at your destination around 6 a.m. You will get off the bus and someone will hand you your boardbag and unfortunately you will feel like someone beat you with a bar of soap in a sock. You will then go to the lodge and put on your snowboarding gear. If you are a girl you will watch all the girls put a lot of makeup on. I don't know what you will watch if you're a boy. Probably lots of dynamic stretching. You will then go out and snowboard all day. Duck ropes. It's the best part. Explore. No one ducks ropes so sometimes you will find something awesome and sometimes you will end up in a ravine and have to negotiate a series of dams. Don't drop your board in the water. You may have to hike around a large reservoir. That's okay too. Eat a huge Japanese lunch. Go out after lunch and find the park. It may be middling but it will still be fun. Take some family photos. Hike something in-bounds. Ride the last chair and run down to lodge, change, buy a couple chu-hi for the ride home and get on the bus. Nap. Arrive in Shinjuku just before last train and catch your train home.

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