A Travellerspoint blog

December 2013

Christmas in Hakuba

We took the 4 hour bus from Tokyo to Hakuba and when we arrived it was snowing like crazy! So we had an early night and set our alarms for 7am to pick up our hire gear and head up the mountain for first lifts! The snow was unreal! I have never snowboarded in so much powder before. And the ski runs were a lot better than we had expected. Some people told us we were very lucky to have such a big dump at this time of year. Before we even came to Hakuba people had told us it wasn't going to be very good so we had such low expectations. Instead though it was amazing!! We spent a good 6 hours up there and were knackered by the time we got home. Riding in powder is so much more tiring our leg muscles were burning!
This ski resort isn't like any European ski resorts Will and I have been to before. It's split up into lots of little towns and as the season hasn't really started yet it is so quiet! They have regular free shuttle busses to the slopes and it takes max 10 mins to get there. Lots of different mountain choices too.

We've been lucky with our hostel as there are loads of cool people who have stayed here over Christmas too. We spent Christmas Eve in a reggae bar which was different from the usual cosy English pub! Someone organised Secret Santa for early Christmas morning which we took part in. Then as a group all headed up the mountain so there were about 12 of us all together. That's the best way to do the mountain! It reminded us of when we were on seasons. We had burgers for our Christmas lunch, had a couple more runs down the mountain and then got the bus back for fireworks and buffalo wings and pasta for Christmas dinner! I'm not going to lie it really didn't feel like Christmas at all. I don't actually think we have listened to any Christmas songs! Maybe a couple here and there that they played on the chairlift but none of the tradition Fairytale of New York or Driving Home for Christmas! Some Japanese remixes! Haha! Still had such a great day though.
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We don't think we're going to make it to Niseko anymore even though we have booked flights. We've left it too late booking accommodation and there is none available over New Year so we reckon we might spend it in Tokyo with some friends we've made here. We don't want to risk getting to Niseko with all the hostels fully booked and have to either pay heaps or be homeless! We've had some great snowboarding here though so we're not too fussed and it means we get more time in Kyoto and Osaka!

Posted by amcara91 00:30 Comments (0)

Time in Tokyo

Will and I spent 5 nights in Tokyo. An absolutely insane city! So much going on. We were staying in a nice area called Asakusa about 40 minute train ride from the centre. We used the metro very often and it was so good! Very similar to the London Underground but a lot cleaner! We even passed a man hoovering the stairs! I couldn't believe it!
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We spent a lot of time in Shibuya where the Shibuya Crossing is. Very famous for all the people who cross at the same time when the green man goes. Also featured in Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift. The weather was pretty awful most of the time but it was nice to sit in Starbucks way up high with a coffee and watch everyone below. It felt very Christmassy! We also spent lots of time in Shinjuku which is famous for it's shopping. All the buildings are so high up and you can find everything in them!
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The Japanese people have been so friendly and on our first night we found ourselves in a restaurant near our hostel on a communal table with 2 Japanese ladies. Without Will or I even realising they ordered us three plates of traditional food for us to try and paid for it all. Luckily Will and I had learnt the word 'arogata' (not sure on spelling) which means thank you and we did a lot of bowing too. Haha!

One night we somehow ended up at yet another communal dinner table, sat cross legged on the floor while watching a couple of guys play the shamisen, a Japanese guitar, and sing and dance around a small stage. We drank Asahi (beer) and Sake (very strong wine) and ate rice and sushi with about 30 locals who commented on how impressed they were with Will and I's chopstick skills but then insisted that we eat with our fingers. It was such an interesting experience but set us back much more than we thought it would! It was pouring with rain when we left and they gave us both an umbrella which we thought was very kind of them.
One of our favourite places in Tokyo was Akihibara also know as the 'Geek City'. All the electrical stores are located here along with Sega stores that are 10 floors high, each floor designated to a different game and they have loads of game stations for people to play. One level was the claw game, another level was for Teckkan, one for dance machines and so on. It was crazy to see and some were so popular they had queues waiting for people to finish. Will spent a while on a fighting game and I lost some money on the claw machines. Good fun though! I also treated myself to a GoPro from one of the electrical stores to use for snowboarding and snorkelling etc. an expensive buy but it's Christmas!! Will treated himself to a tattoo. 3 Japanese symbols that mean 'traveller' it looks really good.

Near our hostel there was a lovely temple with lots of Christmas markets going on. Although they don't actually celebrate Christmas here so I guess it was just winter markets. Lots of little things like chopsticks, fans and Buddhas. It was pretty touristy though to be honest.
On our last night in Tokyo we headed to our hostel bar. The Japanese people are so friendly and all want to improve there English so it's really easy just to sit down and speak to them. At one point I headed up to the room to get something and while I was there I heard a loud rumbling and suddenly the building started shaking. I froze while the bunk beds were rattling and was so scared! It went on for maybe 10 seconds and as soon as it stopped I ran down stairs back to the bar to find Will. Everyone was still drinking and chatting except Will who looked as shocked as me. Turns out everyone is very used to it as it happens all the time and that was only a tremor! If that's only a tremor I can't even imagine what it's like for a bigger one. I looked it up and it was 5.4 on the richter scale which I thought was pretty high! Obviously not though haha!
Our bus to Hakuba was at 3pm and as the weather was finally nice we went to the Skytree tower which is the highest tower in the world! Cracking views of Tokyo well worth the one hour queue! 90_IMG_0710.jpg 90_IMG_0728.jpg 90_IMG_0724.jpg

Posted by amcara91 23:15 Comments (0)

It's Been a While!

Well it's been a long time since I've been on here! Mainly because Will and I have spent the last four months working in Melbourne and saving for the next leg of our journey and nothing too exciting has been happening! We have both been doing ridiculous amounts of hours working in hospitality. Luckily I have been working with some really awesome people which have made the 60hr weeks bearable. We had a few famous people coming in to the restaurant like the gold Olympian - Kathy Freeman and the actor who played The Hulk and The Time Travellers Wife, Eric Banna. I actually didn't recognise him when he came in with his family and told him that he would have to be out the restaurant by 7.30pm as we had a lot of bookings coming in. You should have seen my managers face!

We celebrated Will's birthday early November by visiting a beautiful view spot of the out skirts of Melbourne. It was an amazing day for it too. Then we headed to the beach to get a sun tan and finished the day off with some tequila, cocktails and spicy food at a really good Mexican restaurant.
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wills bday



will bday

will bday

Mid November Jason, whos flat we're staying in, and I headed to the Melbourne Cup to see the horse races. It was awesome seeing everyone dressed up in their suits, dresses and hats. We bought a bottle of champagne, a couple of beers and put some bets on then sat on the grass and enjoyed the races. We didn't win any money but it was a great day out it was a shame Will had to work.
melbourne cup

melbourne cup

Last Monday I went skydiving with my friend, Bella. We flew up in a tiny little plane to 14000ft and then they opened the plane door, my heart was pounding by this point. Bella was first out the door and it was so funny to watch. One minute she’s there then in a split second vroooom - gone! Next it was me so we had to crawl towards the open door and I have to put my legs over the edge while the guy I’m with makes sure we’re in the right spot. That was the scariest bit hanging over the edge! Then we got the thumbs up and off we went, freefalling for a fair while which was so cool and such a crazy experience. Then suddenly he pulled the parachute and we were floating towards the ground. It was over so fast it seems pretty surreal looking back on it now. I got the video and photos for proof and have some pretty funny faces going on! So amazing I would recommend it to everyone!
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Tom Alica 25 11 13 003

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Tom Alica 25 11 13 054

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Tom Alica 25 11 13 070

Will and I only have two weeks left in Melbourne. It has been such a great city and I’m going to miss all the friends I’ve made but I am so excited to be travelling again and to put my rucksack back on! We are going to Japan for 3 weeks and plan to snowboard in Hakuba and Niseko. They are meant to have some of the best fresh snow in the world so we can’t wait for that! Then when those 3 weeks are over Will and I are going our separate ways. I’m flying to Cairns and he is coming back to Melbourne. I’m interested to see what it’ll be like travelling on my own but it’ll be a very sad day. Anyways that’s a small update. When we’re back on the road I’ll be writing more often on here again.


Posted by amcara91 15:29 Archived in Australia Tagged work skydiving birthday melbournecup Comments (0)

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