29 December, 2012

Holidays in the mountains Part 2

Well, we did a lot of stuff that I didn't take photos of. Like reading, sleeping in, playing board games, and watching DVDs.

I did take photos of our lunch at the all-you-can-eat restaurant I told you about here. These photos show some of the remains (we were counting plates, the "+9" indicates the plates that the waitress relieved us of before we had a chance to take a photo).
At the bottom of the above photo you can see part of the grill where we cooked our own meat. This, along with the 10 flavours of ice cream, plus soft serve, plus chocolate cake were the favourites. I'm sure the boys ate more than what we paid for! And I didn't need to cook dinner. We had make-your-own sandwiches (or they did, I had a mandarin/mekan and a small tub of yoghurt).

I forgot to take photos of the ice skating (only took video footage). So, you'll have to imagine that. It was freezing, as a spectator, sitting in the middle of an open air rink (it was an 0 shape with a cross over point in the middle). It was also a little intimidating for our skaters, who were sharing the rink with a University Speed Skating team as they trained! Thankfully there were no bad injuries from this encounter with the ice.

The next day we drove up further into the mountains to ski. It was a scary and slow drive up, as some snow had fallen overnight. After living in Hokkaido for nearly four years, we don't take snow driving lightly. And were especially aware of our 2 wheel drive without snow tyres. We eventually stopped and David put snow-chains on the car, for the first time ever. It wasn't a great place to do it (there was nowhere to pull off), but he finally managed it.

When we got there we hurried into our ski gear as quickly as we could, and took to the slopes. It didn't take the boys too long to get into the rhythm of things again. I was the only one for whom this was the first time, and the idea was that I'd take a lesson as the others had done. We missed the first lesson of the day by 20 minutes, so David volunteered to pass on what he could of the mechanics of beginner skiing. He's a good teacher! And I was soon skiing down the beginner's slope.

It didn't take too long before everyone in the family abandoned me, though, for the next most difficult slope. After lunch I tried that steeper, longer slope too, but only survived two goes down before I got too scared and exhausted, and abandoned the endeavour for the day. I went and watched the boys having a huge time at the sledding slope.

It's been 20 years since I water skiied. Maybe if I'd tried snow skiing back then I wouldn't have found it to be such a scary experience. Water skiing is much less terrifying. You have much more control over the speed as a beginner (as long as the boat driver is sympathetic).

The next day we took a bit of a hike to explore the area around the holiday house. It was our first time there, so it was nice to check out the local terrain. We found a little "riverlet" to follow (it was lined by concrete, so I'm not certain what to call it). It was also good to take our sore muscles out and stretch them a little.
Later in the day we drove over to the nearby town we we'd previously stayed and got caught in holiday traffic. It was the middle of a long weekend for the Emperor's Birthday. Nevertheless, the boys got to explore their favourite Lego Shop while I waited in the car down the road in a convenience store car park to avoid the traffic and paying for the car park of the flashy shopping centre. It took a long time to get home again after that, and the boys were super high, after having looked at all that Lego but not bought any. To pass the time we played Christmas-themed 20 questions and had a great time.

The next day we headed back to Tokyo. I mentioned here how the holiday included having the boys volunteering for various jobs. It certainly spread the load and helped them to have a better appreciation for some of the things that David and I just do routinely. This week at home we've not scheduled so many jobs for them, but rather asked them to volunteer for at least three things before they go back to school on the 7th.

Overall it was a very relaxing and enjoyable holiday. We're continuing to appreciate this stage where the boys are getting older and more able to entertain themselves. It is less physically exhausting (though it can be more emotionally exhausting). One of the best things about the day on the ski slopes was that we didn't need to supervise the boys. There was enough for them to do to keep them busy and out of trouble. We enjoyed some couple time, even if some of it was spent hurtling at a scary rate down a slippery slope without decent brakes!


Ken Rolph said...

"We found a little "riverlet" to follow"

Shouldn't that be rivulet? If it went under a road we could call it a culvert. Both pleasant names, saving us from descending to calling it a drainage ditch.

Wendy said...

Yes, I should have checked that one in a dictionary. Thanks Ken.