A Travellerspoint blog

Japan

You think you have snow you dont know what snow is!!!

snow -5 °C
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So been here in Hakuba (Japan) a couple of days and well its crazy. the Snow is immense like the road was covered with about 2 ft of snow when i arrived in town and had to be cleared by big dozers which are parked at every other street corner then on top of that every shop and house has snow machines to clear there drives and pavements equalling some stupidly large piles if snow lining the roads in places 4 meters high and twice as wide!

anyway yeah i arrived here at the Mt Hakuba Backpackers Hostel at about 130 in the morning with instructuions to look in the post box for my key and directions of what to do. So went through the door realised had to take off my shoes and put on some slippers provided by a basket in the corner of varius sizes and colours, so put my shoes on the rack and slipped on my slippers and headed up stairs to my room entered it and found it full bar the top bunk in the corner. tried unsuccessfully to get in without waking the other guys dumped my stuff, apologised and climbed into the top bunk and slept for the first time in about 36 hours from leaving SA.

Woke the next day to the guys in my room packing and heading out exchanged a few words about the place and what happens then they left. after organising myself and working out where things where and having a play with the heated toilet and the buttons that shoot water into places i didnt no i had!!! i headed downstairs to check in with the owner Hiromi. did that paid for everthing and went to check out my rental gear. wasnt surprised that it was shockingly Shizer but oh well put on my boots that were too small and my board which was unbelivably long and hit the slopes literally. spent most of the afternoon on my face, bum,side or back trying to get used to the board and real snow. With the added bonus of being able to see about 5ft ahead of myself the afternoon was a bit of a slap in the face. headed back to the hostel and got my boots and board changed. now iv got good gear that is now only 2 sizes too big and a board that is sweet but has bindings too small for the huge boots! Hit the mountain the next day with alot more control and shredded the day away had the same issue with not being able to see, and hit the deck a fair few times, due to surprise trees jumping out of the snow infront of me but on the hole a good day.

So the next few days really got the boarding nailed bombing down every run and heading down some closed trails and hitting a few tree runs which are unbelievably good fun but did mean i lost myself in the snow at one point heading into some fresh powder. Saying lost myself i dont mean navigational wise i ment lost my body i just bombed threw and sank slowly till all that was above the snow was my shoulders. Anyway half hour later lots of digging and climbing i got out and continued. and have been shredding since slowly working my way to each mountain.

Apart from the slopes there not much to do so everyone hangs out at the hostel and with movies, pool table, internet and alchol its all gooood. So on the whole having a wikid time in the next week im going to try and get on some tours to the local(well in the region) sites to a couple of temples and traditional towns even see some snow monkeys that just chill in the Onsens (hot spring baths) all day in this really beautiful part of Japan (not that the rest isnt). but that is if i can sort out my money because at the moment im struggling all my money is on a card that i cant access here so im relying on what i have atm and the japanese efficency to deliver me a card reader to transfer my money to an account that works!!!

Anyway peace enjoy the pathetic snow you have in the UK and ill port some photos of reall snow asap!!

Nick

Posted by Nick.t 02:00 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Japan

A long old journey

overcast 6 °C
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Ok then well i made it on the 2nd stage of my Travels and am currently sitting in Narita International Airport Waiting for my bus to arrive which is getting to be a bit tedious if i do say so myself. Landed here at about 2pm local time which i believe is about +10 GMT but dont quote me. and it is now 1730 so have been here for about 3 and a bit hours but not too long now till the bus gets here. my confirmation email said it should be at the airport for about 1900 to leave at 2000 so only another 2 and 1/2 hours woop woop! then its five hours by bus to get to Hakuba on the 'Hakubus'.

Anyway about the journey to Japan from Joburg. Nothing really exciting kicked off the day by waking up at 0945 when i had to finish packing sign out and get picked up for 1000!! woops lil boo boo on my behalf but i made and then the bus guy was late so i didnt even have to rush. Got taken through to the airport and checked in chilled out in the airport which was very nice and picked up sum ultra nutritious bisquits and haribo for Breakfast and the journey. and got on board was really impressed with Cathay Pacific especially with the leg room and the fact i had two seats to myself which rocked! plenty of space for the long family leg gene to spread out across. and fromthere on got well fed and watched about 6 movies maybe 5 but that doesnt matter there was just so much choice.

Anyway made it to Hong Kong airport passed through there without to many set backs and boarded the connecting flight within the hour! and took off. Again Cathay Pacific and equally as impressed with leg room and again two seats to myself!! watched another couple movies and then we landed and where in Japan. this next stage seemed almost as long as the flight but wiithout entertainment just queing for immigration as every person had to be finger printed and have a photo taken of them!! so finally got through immigration picked up my pack just to get stopped at customs. and asked where i had come from why i had been in Africa where i was staying here ... (the list goes on) then they questioned my flair bottle and had to show them what it as for which they clearly enjoyed and so did some of the other passangers (anything to be center of attention, Ay?). But after that they sent me straight on my way thankfully before they started pulling my whole pack apart!

And that then leads me to an explore of the airport and then making up residence on a couch in a wifi hotspot! and slowly letting the minutes pass by. anyway im going to go explore some more of this strange land fuly of squiggly letters and vending machines.

Take care
Im doing my best
Nick

Posted by Nick.t 00:23 Archived in Japan Tagged transportation Comments (0)

Happy New Year

Bring on 2010 the challenge begins today!

sunny 27 °C
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Like i said i will try and keep this up to date as best i can and i thought maybe using my time on the first day of 2010 to right about my plans for the next few days. so here goes.

first things first HAPPY NEW YEAR! welcome to 2010. i celebrated last night with yohan and kims daughter Monique her boyfriend and his brother n girlfriend plus the boys mum. Kyle, Justin, Laura and sheila respectivly. had drinks and card games and had a fairly quiet night with a lots of laughs. i slept till late today and packed ready to commence the next leg of my travels to snowy Japan. 1730 (GMT+2) today i set off on the Intercape-Sleepliner bus from Cape Town to Johannesburg which should take about 18 hours. when i arrive at Jo'burg bus station i am going to be picked up by my hostel 'The Africa Centre' and taken there for the night. The next morning they will take me to the Airport. Then I fly from OR Jambo International Airport on a Cathay Pacific Flight to Hong Kong. this is going to take about 12 hours and give me a 2 hour transit before picking up another flight with Cathay to Japan taking a further 4 hours.

Once in Japan i will have to chill out for a few hours before being picked up by the Hakubus the direct bus to my Hostel in the Hakuba Region of Japan, MT Hakuba backpackers, this taking a final 5 hours but getting me there safe and sound. At this point i can garuntee a long sleep before picking up my Snowboard gear on the 5th and hitting the Snow for 2 weeks. Anyway that the plan i need to get moving soon so will write next probabaly from japan.

Posted by Nick.t 14:48 Archived in South Africa Tagged transportation Comments (0)

Bit Delayed

in more ways than one

sunny 26 °C
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Hello everyone

Just like my first flight my setting up of my blog was a little delayed for many reasons, lack of internet access, lack of effort on my part and distane for blogs and generally getting confused about thinds! but hey im here and writing one now. So this is in mainly for the people im not in contact with via facebook but then again open to whomever wants to read it. im not promising daily updates but there will be updates as regularly as possible.

Now thats over im currently in South Africa (from here on refered to as SA) Soaking up the sun and suffering still from my 1st day when i went kiyaking of the coast all morning and while fishing got a little bit sunburnt, oooops. hurt like hell warmed up had nice swollen ankles and so good times had by all. But back to day1 like i stated before my flight was delayed from the UK, due to that delightful white stuff known as Snow. meant i was on the plane from 1900 on the 22nd till about 2345 without even taken off. which was so delightfully warm(and if you struggle to notice sarcasm in writing, that is) anyway after that the 11 1/2 hour flight was fun plenty of food plenty of tv and movies and plenty of sleep the only thing that wanst plentyfull was the leg room but hey cant have it all.

Anyway arrived in one piece to my cousin and headed to there home which is beutiful cut into table mountain with amazing views of Cape Town and the sea plus the surrounding mountain. and relaxed was greted by people and had a great christmas with them then headed for Bettys bay another bay along the coast about 2 hours from Capetown which again is beutiful surrounded by great cliff faces and greenary with a house just up from the beach.
Had a few quite days there good food good wine and seeing the sights including Leopards Kloof a beatiful waterfall in the rocks unbelievably high and well just breath taking. nearer the coast is a lake fed by this waterfall known as the Coca Cola lake and it is the colour of Coke hense the name, due to the minerals and weeds which made agreat swim.

Now since bettys bay i have been staying with some Frinds of my Cousin who have been great and really welcoming to me letting me stay in their wonderful house in a very olde English part of town. so have had a great couple of days with them showing me around Cape Town and some of the sights and places i might not have seen without them, and if they read this thank you very much Yohan and Kim.

Ok well Finally it is New years eve day now and im getting ready to just chill and welcome the new year in and hope for a good trip and that everybody is well so have a good night and happy new year tomorrow im off to Japan.

Posted by Nick.t 16:19 Archived in South Africa Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

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