After more than a year of planning, endless last-minute errands, and a few midnight meltdowns, we arrived in Japan this morning.
Our first impression after stepping off the plane in Tokyo: Japan is incredibly clean and welcoming, the people are super friendly, and the signage is awesome. We were able to find our way through customs and onto a shuttle bus to catch a tight connection with no problem. Imagine trying to navigate New York’s LaGuardia (worst airport ever?) as a foreign tourist! We could barely figure it out ourselves during our layover there.
Between Vermont and Japan, we stopped in Seattle for five days, seeing some good friends and taking an avalanche course through Mountain Madness. We spent two full days at Steven’s Pass, learning to use our avalanche gear, choose terrain wisely and look for instability in the snowpack. I wouldn’t say we feel totally confident in our abilities to determine whether or not a slope is safe, but I think we learned to be a lot more cautious and deliberate in our decisions.
The flight from Seattle to L.A. to Tokyo made for the longest night we’ve ever seen, since we were running away from the sun the entire time. It finally rose as we were leaving Tokyo, ending our 20 hours of darkness in the Land of the Rising Sun.
We took a flight to Sapporo, Hokkaido from there, and a bus to Rusutsu, where we plan to stay for six nights. Aside from some confusion about which bus would take us there and breakfast sandwiches where the egg turned out to be an egg-sized swath of mayonnaise, everything went smoothly.
Now that we are here, it’s pretty exciting to be starting the trip we’ve planned for so long. The weeks leading up to our departure were mostly stressful and sad, saying goodbye to all of our family and friends.
But, it’s currently dumping here in Rusutsu, and we’re excited to ski tomorrow!