Mon Dec 19 20:12

We (Lulu and I) finally arrived in Japan yesterday! Now I am writing this log in a ryokan in Hakuba Happo (a city near Happo One, the best snow resort in Japan; it also hosted skiing related events for the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano). Our journey from Berkeley to this warm and comfy room in Japan took more than 20 hours. But I have to say, in general, we were hella lucky.

First of all, when we got to the airport on the 17th of December, for some reasons SFO was stuffed with people. The lines were absurdly long and seven out of the eight self-service check-in machine were not functioning correctly. Then, just like God was really watching over us (cause our flight was leaving in 1.5 hours and we were still at #100000000000 in line) a woman was asking if anyone on UA875 (our flight to Tokyo) was still trying to get themselves checked in. We were then helped to get our check-in sorted out and passed the security checkpoint.

Our flight to Tokyo was ok. It was like one of the many (sadly) long flights from Hong Kong to SF. We talked a bit on the plane but most of the time Lulu was working on her lab report. I finished watching two mediocre Hollywood movies and started to think about the meaning of long flights: the flights were so long that they nearly killed my excitement and interest towards my destination. What’s the point then, to fly long hours to get to a place whose mysteries were beaten by the tiredness in the middle of the Pacific ocean?

After we arrived at Tokyo, we took one single-track railway, one underground railway, then a two-hour Shinkansen (bullet train) then one-hour Bus drive to get to our clean and soft tatami, and most importantly, open-air hot spring!!

I can’t stress enough my obsession with hot springs. The only reason (at first) that I wanted to come to a ski trip in Japan with Lulu was because Lulu told me there would be hot spring. Especially in winter, the deep blue coldness creeps into my body silently but keenly through my limbs. When I stepped into that hot spring, and the warmness quickly fills my body, I was finally satisfied and consoled. All the brutal harm I have taken academically in Berkeley this semester was not in vain.

Our last skiing trip to Tahoe was awesome, in a spiritual way, because I didn’t even ski for like 10 minutes. I was falling down, tripping over, dropping my ass into pieces, then all over again. But all that was before I discovered Snowboard today. The excitement soon drove me to ride snowboards until my legs cramped and didn’t notice that my fingers were cut by sharp ice. I have to say, I might never be a natural at snowboarding, but I really like it. I did have to force stop several times by sitting into the snow (which was like sitting onto a marble floor instantly and my butt is the only buffer I got). Once I fell forward and rolled several seconds down the hill. I was a bad lift rider. The officers had to stop the lift to wait for me to get down.  I was ashamed by my shameless actions causing jokes and troubles, but at the same time I wanted to get onto another lift, snowboard one more time down the hill.

We had a private lesson on snowboarding today and our instructor was awesome. (@Hakuba Snow Sports School, highly recommended for newbies like me). Now my back hurts, my legs scream, but my spirit happy and grateful.

(tl;dr Hot spring and snowboarding cure a broken bear’s soul.)

Btw, food wise our breakfast was shitting on Stanfurd per usual. We had a yummy and full dinner at an Indian cuisine (weird, the chief is really Indian). Since we are both over 20 yrs old, we ordered two beer, one sake (with soda lol) and we both discovered that sake (with soda…) was our favorite. Beer just tasted bad. like, really bad. I also believe that beer in general tastes bad. I’ve given it several chances, by trying out beer from China, Japan, South Korea, America, Germany and came to the conclusion that beer, or alcohol in general, tastes bad internationally.

“I don’t understand, why do people drink beer? If they’re looking for the bubbles, why can’t they just drink soda?” –Lulu

Well said.

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