Japan! Beanie Milne-Home heads to the land of powder... and rain. PART 1.
when we think of Japan we think of all that waist deep, endless powder. it would appear thats not always the case..... here is Beanies travel stories so far.
I am having an epic and surreal time over in Japan. I got here at the start of February with photographer Camilla Stoddart. We spent a couple of days in Kyoto doing some extreme sightseeing, checking out the temples, shrines, geisha and vending machines of the old capital.
We then headed for the Nagano region, where we are skiing for the trip, as the south of Japan is much steeper than the northern fields. It is the worst snow season since the war apparently and we arrive into Nozawa Onsen with no snow banks lining the road and a lot of bare earth showing, not what I was expecting!
We spend three days in Nozawa Onsen, and discover the conditions are good despite initial impressions. Finding steep open lines of untracked snow in the trees. We also take advantage of the natural onsens to relieve muscles and have our breakfast eggs boiled. A kiwi friend lives out here, and we tour the area in her 660cc bus, although space is a little tight in the Minibus and she is overloaded, we still manage to break the speed limit on the freeway, a whopping 50km/ph!
Camilla and I move onto the Hakuba region, where there seems to be less snow. We have a few days checking out the area, for when the rest of the group arrive; two more skiers and a filmer. There are over 100 resorts in the Nagano region, all seem to be within throwing distance but don’t link up. There is a good crew of kiwis and we ski numerous resorts, ducking ropes and playing cat and mouse with ski patrol. It is fairly obvious we are not here to ski the piste and even got checked for transceivers, to try and prove we are breaking rules.
Birthday celebrations on Wednesday, which got fairly out of hand and somehow in the sleepy town of Hakuba we found a big drum and bass club. This was followed by the most surreal hangover day. We were taken to Nagano city, dressed in amazing Kimono and given a tour of the Zenkoujii temple.
Then shown a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, fed a full vegetarian Buddhist meal, half an hour of zen meditation and more tours. All filmed for Japanese tv, which was later shown on the news.
The rest of the group, have now arrived, the weather has warmed up and it has started raining. So checked out the massive faux tudor mansion resort of Cortina and found some skidoos to get out on. The forecast for next week is a hell load of snow and no wind, so we are hoping we will still get the fabled Japanese pow, otherwise Sake is calling!!
Keep an eye out for PART 2 coming very soon for more stories and shots of the Faction Royale doing what it does best!