Tokyo is not a pretty city. Post-war, low level construction, a very few middling signature buildings and an entire city criss-crossed with train tracks, subway tracks, rail bridges, overhead fly-overs have all combined to really make a city that is not pleasing to the eye. And yet, aside from places I have lived, Tokyo is the place I have spent the most time in (well, maybe Bangkok, but I think I’ve been to Tokyo more times). It really is one of my favorite places in the world to be.
With the recent Chinese New Year holiday going on for 8 days this year, my friends and I decided to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit festivities by getting the heck out of China and off to Japan for some days on the slopes and a few days in the capital.
When I used to live in Hong Kong, I used to go up to Nagano and Hokkaido for snowboarding almost every year. And usually our mountain of choice was Happo-one (pronounced “Oh-nay” not “one”)
Nozawa-onsen and the surrounding ski area were not quite as big and expansive as Happo-one, but the town was much much cooler with many public onsens (baths) on the streets (for free!) as well as a great little bar street, shops selling local pickles and fruit compote – compared with Happo’s, well, nothing.
And the snowboarding? Couldn’t have been better. Here’s some photos:
This is the villagers only outdoor public onsen.
Having dinner with friends Evan and Colin
Look at the sun and the snow! Conditions were PERFECT!
View over Nozawa-onsen.
Back in Tokyo, I just did the usual thing – shopping in Omotesando and Shibuya. Eating. But we also stayed in the super cool Hotel CLASKA which was the Wallpaper* 2004 Hotel of the Year.
Hina Sushi at Shibuya Seibu
@Shibuya Seibu by [Terence], on Flickr”>@Shibuya Seibu” />
Breakfast at Hotel CLASKA
@ Hotel CLASKA by [Terence], on Flickr”>@ Hotel CLASKA” />
The rest of the photos are here
Note: the blog title post refers to the ironic theme song of the trip.