- Wednesday: Last day of work
- Thursday: Pack, pack, and then pack some more
- Friday: Drive from Lafayette, CO to Manhattan, IL
- Saturday: Unpack, repack, wonder what we forgot…
- Sunday: Fly from Chicago -> Seoul
- Monday: Disappeared. Really, I don’t know where it went.
- Tuesday: Fly from Seoul -> Narita, Japan
The thought is finally settling in that we’re here for a month, not just a week. It’s been a transition to go from 100mph, to slowing things down and enjoying life a bit more.
Upon arrival in Japan, our AirBnB host, Omasu, picked us up from the airport and brought us to his home. He started renting out rooms six months ago and averages 40 guests a month! However, Omasu’s English isn’t the best and our Japanese is even worse (side note: apparently, most Japanese only learn to read and write English as English teachers did not actually know how to speak English). We had a slight miscommunication and immediately after dropping our bags off, we were dropped off in downtown Narita at the bus depot with instructions on how to return to his home via the bus. My previous bus experience in the Philippines led to me getting pickpocketed, so needless to say I was a bit nervous about another foreign bus. At this point, we figured we might as well check out the town and worry about the bus part later.
We wandered around town for a few hours, checking out the main street and the nearby temple. We eventually made out way back to the bus and it turns out the big scary Japanese bus wasn’t so bad after all, although we were the idiots that held the bus up because we had no idea how to pay for the bus ride. Thankfully, the bus driver could see this and helped us out. One small miscommunication led to a pretty great afternoon exploring.
Osamu cooked us breakfast the next morning, which gave us the opportunity to learn some Japanese before the campervan company picked us up. I wish we could have spent more time with him. He was so friendly and we had some great conversation learning about Japanese culture. Osamu was a great host and we highly recommend him!
We picked up our miniature camper van and hit the road… for an hour. Our little Subaru had some unfortunate, intermittent engine issues come up so we were ordered back to Narita. Bummer, right?
However, everything tends to work out somehow. Andre, our Japan Campervan contact, felt pretty bad about the whole thing. So, we were treated to an awesome hibachi style dinner, which included chicken stomach, “Japanese Special”, whole scallops, and an entire squid with beer and sake to wash it down with. We would have never of done this had our van not broken down. Andre and Norbert really took care of us and we had a great evening!
Unfortunately, the miniature campervan couldn’t be fixed in a reasonable amount of time so we ended up with a free upgrade to a slightly bigger van and we hit the road to Hakuba. Our friend, Zach, showed us around and really helped us get our feet wet. After a few seasons here, he has a lot of knowledge of the mountains around Hakuba. Unfortunately, the clouds were pretty dense so I didn’t take too many photos. But when the sun did shine for a brief moment revealing the alpine, I realized these mountains are serious.
We skied, onsened, and are now hanging out Hakuba Brewing Company. We’ll stick around here for another day or so, before we start making our way north to Hokkaido.