It is a year since I first went snowboarding with Arnault at Nozawa Onsen. During January and February 2013 we made numerous trips into the deep fluffy snow on the north west slopes of the Torogi pass in Nagano Prefecture. Arnault, a university friend of Nicks’ from Singapore has been a regular at Nozawa onsen for the past 7 years and returns year on year for the ease of access from Tokyo, deep powder, often unused off-piste trails, and local, non-touristy feel that the place has. He stays at the same family Ryonkan each year, and they view him as a favoured son. Ina ddition, the town is historic, with 17 public onsens scattered throughout the tiny town, it is one of few places where these public onsens are still maintained, free of charge.
We had blue skies for 2 of the three visits, which is apparently pretty rare, and good snow. On one occasion, we had almost too much snow! Check out the gallery and two video clips I have put together below. Unfortunately, both times I went off-piste with Arnault and Delphine, I crashed too many times to make sure the camera was operating appropriately! One of those occasions I managed to get a little air just prior to hitting a tree at pretty decent speed, so a good thing it is not on camera!
Another eventful year has ended, and more memories piled atop old. I’m struggling these days even more to hold them all in my head, and find that some leak out as others enter. I hope this post immortalises some of them, capturing an hint of them to serve as a future prompt, a link to a sight, a story, a smell that still lingers in my brain. Before all that though, here is a little clip of how we ushered in 2014 in Germany!
Pictures and videos for some of these memories to come soon! All links below are to existing blog posts on the topics.
Snowboarding with Arnault, Delphine and friends at Nozawa Onsen on multiple weekends
The green shoes with pink laces finally paid off when I met Julia
Completed my first marathon, the Tokyo Marathon in 4 hrs 12 minutes and achieved my goal of running the whole 42kms.
A big month for work, with the INPEX, IFC and both JICA BoP projects all being wrapped up at the same time
Off-piste snowboarding with Arnault, Delphine and friends.
March (Japan and Thailand)
A weekend trip to the Boso peninsular and the fire festival at Takao-San with Julia
10 day return bike trip to Osaka and surrounds and return via Route 19 with Julia, including a catch-up with Lloyd-san.