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Jarid and I at the very last minute decided to stay in mainland Japan rather than head north to Hokkaido. We had been checking weather reports and found that snow had been dumping down in the Nagano region while up north they were only getting a few centimeters. So the night before our flight we researched our basic plan for getting there.

Once off the plane in Narita we headed towards the express train to take us to the Tokyo station. On our way we were stopped by a TV crew who interviewed us about our trip. They asked us how we knew to head to Nagano and when Jarid simply replied, “google”, they erupted in laughter.

The trains were simple enough to understand. After a transfer in Tokyo station and an hour and a half ride on the bullet train we found ourselves wandering through the streets of Nagano looking for our hostel. Once there we were unfortunate to discover that there is no place to rent skis in Nagano. So we changed plans. We decided that the following morning we would take a bus up to Hakuba where there is both skiing and a place to rent skis.

Having settled on a direction for the morning we headed down the street for some food and sake. We wandered into a place called “Niga Bistro” and found the restraint empty except for a man in the kitchen. There was no English menu, but we had the man cook us fish. The salmon he brought out with garlic rice is some of the best food I have ever had. If he was in America, he could be a chef at a 5 star restaurant.

We finished our food, drank sake until we ran out of energy. Walking back to the hostel, we couldn’t help but notice the streets almost entirely empty at 10pm. We heard that the recent snowfall had made people of the town stay in. Hopefully the people of Hakuba will be a little more lively. But if not, we will be skiing deep powder from start to close, so it won’t really matter.

Programmer — Writer. @andyhartnett12

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