I remember what you were like in New Zealand. The last hot days of summer slowly giving way to a creeping coolness... The sun still prevailing while the temperature dropped... BBQ's and Keds and ice cream. I do remember this. I remember tan lines, and winter clothes making their way into the shops and the evenings getting shorter. My brain remains in the Southern Hemisphere (it's happy there, it's warm and the cheese is cheap. My body misses it, sometimes, but they email each other lots).
My American friends inform me that a Northern Hemisphere March is a different creature - the snow melting away and freeing up the sidewalks (they don't have pavement in America. How silly! How quaint! How odd a word! It doesn't even sound like a real word and it's tricky to spell (Especially for Americans, whose spelling complications extend past their "U" aversion). Although, I actually like the word sidewalk better. Like, you WALK along the SIDE. Genius! Much the same as powdered sugar! It's just like sugar but its... POWDER. Because, you don't just use it for icing now, do you? You ASO use it for sherbert, which you suck up a straw and blow into the air like a cool person who smokes candy. Oh America. Why must you be the best at everything? Except for politics. And health care. And... other things I don't know about because my friends haven't discussed them on Twitter), green leaves appearing, dead baby birds on the footpath (what? another word for the same gum-spotted stretch of asphalt? Crappit, this is exhausting. When's Newspeak being implemented?)...
If THAT's what a Northern Hemisphere March should be looking like, then I don't know where the fuck I'm living:
Narnia? If Narnia was a car park?
So what to do with an endless winter?
I was warned about this when I first arrived in Sapporo. That if I didn't embrace the snow, then I would spend 5 months locked away in my apartment, eating my eyebrow hairs and learning how to sudoku (which, by the way, I think is some cataclysmic mind-fuck dreamt up by a disillusioned high school maths teacher, who is having the LAST LAUGH NOW because look! you're doing maths! on the weekends! without a calculator! More fool you. Also, "sodoku" sounds like it should be, at the very least, a martial art. A Disappointing Truth (like an inconvenient truth, but more convenient) much like the discovery that internet cafes rarely serve cake).
Lucky I have a new awesome hobby. Snowboarding, dude. This is the view from where I first fell over:
And second fell over:
And third fell over:
You may notice that all of these pictures are of the same panorama. This is because I fell over roughly every five meters. If I had taken a photo every time I was on my bum, this would be a long blog indeed. And I probably already lost most of you at pavement. Or sidewalk. Or footpath.
This weekend was my first snowboarding trip to Niseko. I've been to Niseko many times, but only for the pizza and the coffee. This time I went for the POWDER(ed sugar). It was also my first time on a chairlift.
This was NOT a success.
I had been practicing on the baby slopes for some hours, and was feeling pretty damn cocky about my mean carving skills. I had managed one entire descent on my feet. I decided that I was ready to conquer the peaks of Hirafu. I was on my own, Manfriend having bowed out early due to knee injuries. Which was a pity really, because how pretty is he in aubergine?
The chairlift was HIGH. It went for a LONG LONG time. I hadn't banked on being quite so LIFTED. And it wasn't until I was very nearly at the top that I realised I had no idea how to dismount from a chairlift. I watched the four chairloads in front of me carefully, trying to ascertain technique. I was fairly certain I knew how best to gently glide from a seated to a standing position.
Oh, me. How naive to assume co-ordination.
Friends, I got pinned. PINNED. The chair was making a turn, attempting to go back down the mountain to pick up more snow-fiends, and I was still on it, having no idea how to disengage ,y board from the supports. They had to STOP THE CHAIRLIFT with its HUNDREDS OF PASSENGERS DANGLING ABOVE CREVICES to pry me free from my position, wedged between a ROCK (chair) and a HARD PLACE (concrete pillar).
Thank goodness for goggles and anonymity, because I'm pretty sure I would have earned myself a lifetime Idiot's Ban from Niseko. And that would be a pity. Because I DO like the coffee there.
The rest of the weekend was less athletic (read: positively sedentary). I nursed my bruises. I watched Scrubs. I ate at my first sushi train.
It was delicious. I also observed this:
Wine! In a carton! On the sushi train! Available in both red AND white, complete with straw.
Screw snowboarding. I'm spending the rest of March sipping wine through a straw and doing karate (the Japanese word for Scrabble).