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August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, ...

Snow Balls Against my Window

I was awoken by a powder ball that hit my window in the form of snow at around 7am, just before breakfast.    My room was located on the far side of the Grandia where the best views of the mountain and pines are, so whenever there's a strong wind coming in from the mountain,  mounds of snow would come flying against my window, soft powdery snow.     I opened the curtains that morning and I could see little kids marching to their training area to learn how to ski.    I never had it so good when I was first introduced to skiing.    Your best friend and your girlfriend cannot teach you how to ski.   They are the worst teachers and I should've never listened to them.   I am scarred for life.  


That morning it was minus 15, and there was no way I was going out there to ski down a mountain, so I got my toiletries together and headed down to the outdoor hot spa instead to watch other people ski.    I could be a cheer girl for the morning.     I do my routine, get shaven, brush my teeth, and get soaked.    I head back to the changing room and put on my robe and head down to the kitchen and enjoy a hearty Japanese / Chinese / American style breakfast.    The best mornings are with coffee, toast, and eggs.   I catch up on all my tweets and other social media.   Life is good.   And no.  I do not recommend a Japanese style breakfast.   


Reflecting on Nakazato,


Japanese people can show you around and tell you what to eat and where to go.   They can even tell you how you should feel when you eat a certain food dish, or when you bathe outdoors.    And I am sure most of you do not take to being told what to experience by someone to heart.   I have always been a firm believer that you take from the Japan - experience what you choose to take from it.    You will probably interpret what you perceive quite differently from Japanese.    This is good.      I do not have to wake up and shovel snow, but to see someone else doing it lends a realism to a subject, like in the picture.    He knows his job is halfway done, and that he needs to muster up a bit more strength to complete job.    He still has the roof to do.   


I like how the water main runs down the center of the street.   This  melts the snow and keeps the roads from icing up.    This is a quiet sleepy little town, and I love these places.     Shops slowly open for business at around 10:30 and if you're lucky you may see one or two people ambling down the street, especially elderly.     





A person could spend all day snow trekking, skiing, or snowboarding, or even snowbathing.    No raucous weekenders and drunken revelers.   Just a sleepy little peaceful town.     You could spend a lazy afternoon in an onsen / hot spa and reflect on nature.  



Or.  If you get thirsty and need to wet your whistle you could also enjoy a little ' Onsen Theater' over a cold bottle of premium rice brew.   


Onsen theater is best enjoyed with stereo headphones, sake, and snow in the backdrop.    Jukujo optional.  


Sake Breakdown:


Brewer - Takachiyo 

rice -  ipponjime/koshibuki

Type of sake - junmai nama- genshu

Name of sake: うまい助  umaisuke


Rice mill rate: 65%  

Flavor profile - tingly clean feel on the palate. 

light, floral bouquets. 

small tail


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