|Tohoku (NE Japan)|
In keeping up my resolution, I've taken a couple of day trips recently. I've got a limited budget, but fortunately Japan has amazing bus tours that you can take for very little money. I know the phrase "bus tour" will probably inspire images of a truck-load of old people and tourist traps, and there's some truth to that- but in Japan at least, they're also a great, inexpensive way to travel.
My first day trip last weekend was to Miyagi's Mt. Zao. I went with a large group of friends for a day of skiing and snowboarding. It was my first time snowboarding and luckily a member of our group was kind enough to give me a free lesson. If you ignore all the pain and potential for injury, it's fun- but I think I still prefer skiing. In Tohoku there are many mountains, so opportunities and equipment for snow sports abound. I got snow pants for about $10 at a recycle shop and our bus plus ski lift package was pretty reasonable.
|Miyagi's Mt. Zao|
|That slope there? That's where I had to learn how to stand up...|
This past Friday was a national holiday in Japan, so I was lucky enough to have a 3 day weekend. I did my best to make the most of it, and it was pretty spectacular. Thursday night I joined a nomikai- a Japanese drinking party, very common here. Many bars and restaurants cater to these parties by offering all you can drink or eat during a set period, called nomihodai and tabehodai respectively. It usually costs about $15-30 for about 2 hours of eating or drinking (or both). Afterward was nijikai (after party) at karaoke. If you have a big group, karaoke is a fairly cheap and fun way to spend a night out.
Next up was a baking party at a friend's house. Everyone brought their own ingredients and cooked together while drinking- incredibly, the awesomeness of the food was not effected by the alcohol consumption! I made scalloped potatoes.
|Drunken Baking Party!! So very delicious :D|