first boarding

Managed to get up at 5 am. Hiroko's sniffles turned into a right and proper cold, so with a fever and runny nose she wasn't going anywhere.
I stumbled about, got my board and gear together, and headed off to Tokyo Station, arriving about 6:30 for our 7am train. Other folks trickled in and then we were on our way. It was a quick 1.5 hours to Eichigo-Yuzawa, short shuttle to the hostel, then off to the slopes. Iwappa is a small mountain, but it had been snowing all night and continued to snow all day, with a break of sunshine at lunch for about 20 minutes.
Needless to say there was nice fresh powder everywhere. The only chunky icy bit was the steep drop leading into the gondola.
I spent the day with the iPod blasting, digging myself out of waist-deep flat powder, winding my way down from the gondola and trying to remember how to board. By the end of the day I had managed to carve a decent line or two, but my thighs and feet were protesting. My boots and bindings were ok, but I had cranked the boots too tightly across my instep.
By 3:30 I took my last run, grabbed my gear from the locker, took one last ride up the gondola, and headed right. I didn't go far right enough, it seems, because I ended up at Ski Center 2, not 1 at the very bottom of the mountain. I changed and walked through the parking lot looking for the bus to the train station, only to find myself walking all the way down the mountain to the bottom. I arrived at Ski Center 1 and grabbed the bus, hit the station, switched my tickets, jumped on the train, and was in Tokyo by 6:30.
When I got home, Hiroko had been in bed all day battling her cold, so I commiserated for a bit and we ate porridge and took a hot bath. I didn't want to complain about my sore legs and arms, seeing as how she had a cold and a fever, but it was fairly obvious considering how much TigerBalm I slathered on after the bath.


For once I actually checked the schedule, and saw that Niina-gosoke's practice in Nihonbashi was cancelled, but that he would be in Ichigaya. I checked the map and hopped on the Mightier Steed, figuring I'd take my regular route to Iidabashi, but then just turn left at Yasukuni Shrine instead of right, head towards Ichigaya Station, and magically find practice. Of course I drove around the one-way back streets for 20 minutes, using the maps on my cell phone to figure out it must be the elementary school behind the park. As I drove by I spied Niina-gosoke through the window of the gym, so I parked and found my way in.
Practice was quite packed, so I and Sekido-san ended up on the stage at the front of the gym. I doubt anyone was watching us; they were too busy trying their best under the watchful eye of Niina-gosoke, but still it's no fun to literally be up on stage.
After practice we went down the street to the station and grabbed some dinner, taking over some little izakaya that was obviously used to us. Kubota-san had his one beer, turned bright red, started slurring, and stumbled off to catch his last train. The rest of us ate and drank and I finally headed home around 11.

full house

Had a big class tonight -- Tanaka-chan and Kawamoto-chan, Takahashi-san (who just got promoted to 1kkyu last week by Niina-gosoke), and of course Kiyokawa-kun and Nakayama-san and Eta-san, and Orita-san showed up late, and ended up helping Yoshida-san who just started, and then two other people came to check out practice. Luckily it wasn't too cold and we had a fun time. As the start of spring is visible over the horizon, I think we start working harder, knowing the cold will be over soon.


Arrived in Akihabara like I always do, ready for practice. Only there was no practice today. Luckily, instead of it just being me who can't read the monthly schedule, three other students showed up as well. Also, I called Tanaka-sensei, who was in his car on his way to practice. Funny considering that it's his wife who makes the monthly schedule!

free speech

Democracy: if someone is saying something you don't like, you can choose not to listen, and/or to say your own opposing viewpoint.
Not Democracy: if someone is saying something you don't like, you make them shut up.

hay fever

It's not even February yet, it's still freezing cold and dry, and yet my hay fever has begun. Actually, I suffer from the dreaded kafunsho about 11 months out of the year. Today I was treated to a headache, runny nose, and itchy eyes all day. Time to stock up on tissues and break out the Claritin. Joy.