Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Live from Yudanaka

We made the hour long train journey from Nagano to Yudanaka, and along the way did a few chants, a few dances, and prayed like the bejezus that it would snow.

It's not that it could possibly snow enough for them to open up the ski resorts up here and for me to carve a few pristine runs of powder. I'm not that delusional about my new Buddhist chanting abilities to conjur weather phenomena. It's just that I wanted to gloat to all my friends back home who aren't seeing any damn snow in Tahoe. That and, hey, we're where the '98 Winter Olympics were held. It's only appropriate to see it with at least a dusting of snow.

And that dusting is what we got shortly after arrival. And that's about all we got.

We arrived at the ryokan we'd booked - that's a traditional, home-style Japanese accommodation if I haven't mentioned that before. Uotoshi Ryokan was one of two recommended by my guidebook, or any English-language web site for that matter, and since this leg of the trip is mine, I had to go with what I know. That and this one is way cheaper than the other.

Anyway, back to the point: We got here and there's no Uotoshi. Yes, there's the ryokan, but Uotoshi-san himself is nowhere to be found. In fact, there's no one at the place. Luckily, the hotel a couple of doors down said they'd be glad to hold our stuff until Uotoshi shows up, and if he doesn't, that we could have a room there.

In the meantime, the snow started to fall some more, which meant everything was falling into place. Because I plan the awesomest shit. And believe me, this shit is about as awesome as it gets:

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