Category Archives: Japan

My Winter Playground in the Mountains

(I apologize. It has been a rough week the Universe has thrown at me recently and has prevented me from writing. On a happier note:  )

The winter air hugs my red cheeks and snow is gently falling all around. The sun is trying to shine but has been blocked with the pure white clouds full of snow in the sky. My body sways up in the

Happo One
Hakuba Ski, Japan

air…back and forth…back and forth…my left foot growing heavier than my right. I look across the world around me, as I feel that I am on top of it. The evergreen trees are decorated with white puffs and look almost jolly in the winter wonderland. I can faintly hear people laughing and yelling out to one another. The cold is not so bitter, and I want to feel it even more. I take off my glove and allow my free fingers to catch the big snowflakes out of the air. The cold air feels refreshing on my skin and there is hardly any wind.

I look around again and take a deep breath and relax. There is not much else you can do while riding a ski lift up a mountain. You are pretty much stuck in that spot for the entirety of the summit. As the end approaches a big ol’ butterfly starts to flutter around inside my torso. Just one…but one too many. I have never been known to be a

Happo One
Hakuba, Japan

coordinated person. The chair comes to a slower pace a we must hop off of it before we get stuck or it knocks us over. I plant my right foot on the middle of the board and start to slide down. I catch my balance and skid to a stop by the rest of the people.  Success.

The wind is whistling and all the people go shooting off down the mountain. Some at a faster speed than others. I strap myself in. This will be an interesting run. I start down and the snow feels smooth and soft under the board. I make it to just at the point where I cannot see the top anymore and fall on my face.  I get up and keep going. I am basically doing what boarders call “plowing” because I can go straight down with the snowboard or I lean on my back heels

Copper Mountain, Colorado
Rocky Mountains, Colorado

to stop and go down on the back that way. I fall three more times. On the third time, I stop to catch my breath and take  in the world around me. It is so peaceful. I listen to the snow gliding under the ski’s of people as they go past. The world has never seem so much more at peace and beautiful than in the white snow on top of a mountain.

74 days until Le Flaine!

Tis the Season of Japan

When you let friends and random people know that you are traveling internationally to somewhere new and different, you are

Happo One
Hakuba, Japan

generally not expecting the reaction of “Why there??” (accompanied with a look of worry) Although this was the look and reaction Wayne and I received when announcing our trip to the Japan Alps.

Typical response: “Well we wanted to go on a ski trip.”
Confused friend: “Too Japan?!? Do they have snow?”
Typical response: “Well the country of Japan is a giant mountain protruding out of the ocean, so Japan is actually one big mountain range with snow over the top.”
Confused friend: “Ohhh. Huh.” (Slowly moves away)

Palace in Tokyo
Palace in Tokyo

Why is it so odd to want to go so far? Why the fuzzle not? Right? It seems like an understandable desire. Why would anyone snuff going off on an adventure? Perhaps I do not want to go skiing in the Rockies!

We attended the ski and snowboard show in Chicago last week, and all I kept thinking was how much I wanted to go on a ski trip

Hakuba Skiing
Skiing in Hakuba, Japan with my favorite guy

somewhere exciting again. Would I receive the same ridicule? We were suggested to go to the Swiss Alps near Geneva/southern France, and I am certain that this is what we should do next year.

Why is it that people feel this right to ask about trips in any sort of negative form? Hey if I get to travel that’s fantastic! If I get to save to travel in order to go skiing and do something not a lot of people get to do? Even better! I wonder. Is this normal? Has anyone else been asked about a trip in a somewhat accusatory way?

Tokyo View
Wayne in Tokyo with Mount Fuji in the Background

Wish for a World Wonder

It’s funny how we form these strange goals for our lives.

To be the first in my family to get a house.
To be the best surgeon in my field.
To gain three Doctorates.
To have 6 kids.
To move to a certain city.

Listening to tour radio at Stonehenge.
Listening to tour radio at Stonehenge.

My goal…as ridiculous as it may seem…is to see all the world wonders. It is possible? Sure. Is it realistic? Maybe not. I don’t have the funds or time at the moment, and I see myself in the near future having a child of my own to be with. I have the Wonders list hanging at my desk in my office. The Wonders of the: Ancient World, Medieval World, Natural World, Modern World, Underwater World, and Forgotten Wonders.

Pizza in Pisa
Mom eating Pizza in Pisa with the Leaning Tower!

Some are going to be a little bit more challenging than others. Palau, for example, will be quite the adventure to get to! It is so important for us to experience these wonders, because who knows how long they will be around to view! I heard a rumor that the Great Barrier

Sydney Ferry Ride
Sydney Opera House, Australia from a Ferry

Reef wont be around in the next ten years! I have to find a way back there. I think it is good to have goals for travel. Not only is it something to look forward but when it is accomplished, it feels like the ultimate battle has been won.

Look them up! See how close you are to one of the world wonders and why not take a spontaneous trip to say that you experienced it! They are everywhere!

Tokyo View
Wayne in Tokyo with Mount Fuji in the Background