Sunday, January 28

Omedetou, Kocho-sensei!

Me and the Soon-to-be-Retiree

O'er at my LMS, the sad new is that my principal will be retiring at the end of the school year in March. Boo!

On Friday we cut out of school early and headed to Gero Onsen for a dinner, night at the Diamond Society hotel and dip in the hot springs tub.

First was dinner, with special "surprises" for Kocho-sensei, including the arrival of his wife and a slideshow of his life in pictures.

The table setting.

Table setting from the side.

"Surpise 2"
Oguri-sensei captures Kocho-sensei in his younger years.

Little cup for drinking fish-based liquor.

Fish-based liquor.
And you thought I was kidding.

Delicious cheesey-creamy lobster dish.

As a gift for Kocho-sensei, the teachers put together two albums of pictures and the letters that we wrote to him. In retrospect, I wish I'd copied or photographed mine, but oh, well. I wrote a little letter in English, and illustrated it with humorous scenes from my year with Kocho-sensei. I cracked myself up drawing it, so I hope he gets a kick out of it too.

Kocho-sensei's Album.
The top left and right pictures were taken by yours truly. You may recognize them from flickr...

After dinner, Aya-sensei and I went to the onsen. I was so nervous about getting naked in front of other women, but by the time we got there, the two other women had just finished, so it was just Aya and I. It was surprisingly not as daunting as I had thought, and once I got naked, it was all good. Refreshingly freeing, I might add.

Joseph turns in early.

While Joseph snoozes while Aya-sensei plays the "strange Japanese girl all dressed in black texting on her keitai."

The next morning we were up after only a few hours sleep (too much talking!) and on to breakfast. I ordered the American Style breakfast, as rice, fish and other sea and soy products aren't my good idea of morning fare. Then we were on to Mont-Deus in Takayama for a day of skiing.

Joseph is not a morning person.

Joseph and the girls at breakfast.
Hara-san and Ogawa-sensei

Aya-sensei, Joseph and I
Nice hair.

Accompanying, or should I say "driving" us there were Oguri-sensei and Suzuki-sensei. Hayashi-sensei met us there and it was on to the slopes.

Please try to wrap your mind around this:

As a first time skier, I have neither ski equipment nor "wear," as they put it here. So after paying 3800 yen for a day's lift ticket and lunch, I had to pay an additional 4400 yen for boots, skis, poles, a jacket and pants. It cost more to get dressed than it did to ski!

So, while I've never been skiing since the time my parents tried to take me when I was too young to remember and I hated it, I have heard of such thing as "bunny hills." These fabled trails are known for their easy and gradual slopes, facilitating a gentle introduction for the first-time skiier. However, Mont-Deus' version of this so-called "bunny hill" was really the only alternative to the "straight-down-at-a-30-degree-angle" one.

Oguri, Hayashi and Suzuki-senseis were gracious enough to guide Aya-sensei and I down the hill - twice (and thrice for Aya). I won't bore you with the details, but long story short, after two trips (the second taking slightly less time than the first), my body was so tired that I didn't want to risk injury on a third trip down.

Halfway down the first time, I was pretty sure I didn't want to continue, but after reaching the bottom and having a more successful second trip, including a 50% fall-reduction rate, I was sure I wanted to go back again. Hopefully with borrowed "wear" instead of high-priced rentals.

Suzuki-sensei, Oguri-sensei and I, post-skiing.
Courtesy of Aya-sensei's keitai

On the way home I succumbed to physical and sleep-deprived exhaustion, making the two and some hour drive home seem much shorter. I was in bed before 9 last night and got up at 7:30 this morning. And here I am. It's Souji Time!


Blogger Todd said...

Abbey skied (skiied, skiid, skid, skad, skud, skod, skyd, sked?)? Nicely done! We don't get snow here, so I'll never be able to ski again.

Big ups to Joseph again, what a player.

WV: hiafnr - High A($$) Fanner - I dropped an air deuce in the car and had to direct it out using the High A Fanner.

5:39 AM

Blogger Abbey said...

Yes, you could call it skiing, what I did. There was a lot of me being face to the ground, a$$ to the ground, back to the ground, etc., but I did manage to make it down the hill a couple of times.

On a side note, about the snow, as much as one gets sick of snow having grown up in Buff, you miss it when it's gone. So it was really nice to enjoy a snowy day on Saturday. Except when the wind picked up and made it virtually impossible to see very far on the super-slopey super-scary crowded section of the hill... on my first time down.

6:36 AM


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