January 30, 2006

Things that rock - Snowboarding and Lesbians

Do I really need to write an entry now that that title is sitting there...

I bet the images running through your head are probably a lot better than reality - but alas I will ahve to burst your bubble.

Last weekend I went snowboarding for the first time. Despite going with 30 odd Japanese (plus another gaijin, and her half Japanese friend) I wasn't the only "sno-bo virgin" in the group. I was possibly the only snow-sports virgin though.

With ShimoYake/Chilblain clearing up nicely thanks to a combination of cream, massage and Vitamin E supplements (which I have now run out of, I think I will need to try my hand at getting the right self medication), I still thought I should rug up a bit to prevent a relapse. I wore an extra layer on my legs, making it four (five with ski pants), double socks, and a total of 7 torso layers (undershirt, small T x 2, long sleeve T, long sleeve shirt, heavy jacket and ski jacket). Oh, yes, be prepared.
With my small frame, I almost looked like a normal sized person.

We set out at 5am on a rented bus, the drinking started about 5:30. I thought that perhaps there was some connection between general coordination and the ability top stay upright on a snowboard, I didn't participate too much in this (plus it was mostly shitty-Japanese-beer-in-a-can --- I detest any beverage in a can, don't like beer, and Asahi has nothing on XXXX). The bus also had karaoke - how fucking awesome is that - rent a bus, get drunk, and karaoke -- sadly unlike Box karaoke, Bus karaoke is Japanese only playfield. There were maybe 3 Beatles songs, a few Madonna, and some other 70s stuff. Given I have trouble recognising 80s American music, I have no chance with stuff thats even older.

I had to rent the whole kit-and-kaboodle - boots, board, suit, goggles. And once being decked out we hit the slopes. Never-been snowboarders got quick lesson (in Japanese) of how to stand up, go down and most importantly brake. This is very important. Almost any other speed-based-sport I have down whether carting, skating, or surf-sports (and driving I think)- I have learned braking last (or not really payed attention when it was taught first). So with snowboarding I thought that now I'm a bit more mature and can try and handle my speed demon preferences and learn how to break first. About 5 minutes later I was convinced by Hiro to go tackle a slope.

Snowboarding is awesome. The weather was good. Apparently the snow was a bit icy (and therefore all the more painful to fall) - but its not like I have a whole history of experience in this department to compare it too. The most scary things about it were the ski-lifts (to the amusement of anybody sharing mine - thank you in-built vertigo) and trying to go down with your back facing downwards (obviously I was not to keen on turning right around just yet).

Due to my awesome 7 layers I was nice an toasty the whoe day. Until lunch, when I shed a few due to the heat to discover that indeed being toasty means being sweaty, and therefore wet. Being wet and snowsports don't mix. It means getting very cold. But I survived nonetheless. I also learned on my last (insanely stupidly high) run that the piece of cord that appeared to be holding my boot clips together was supposed to go around my leg like a surfboard leg-rope. Nice of Sensei "clip-in-your-boots-and-go" to tell me when he was cecking I was puuting myself together okay. At the end of insanely stupid run (we got lost and ended up on a flat speed course) I may have ran into some students, but I was entiely to worn out to care.

There was only one lesbian in this story (sorry). On the bus ride home, in attempt to bridge my communication barrier with Japanese tried to learn some Japanese from a cool lesbian. Unluckily we discovered I know too many dirty sex terms already, and that was all she felt she could try and teach me. So instead I ended up teaching her stupid English phonics, which isn't exactly the greatest fun to do on your day off, but she was fun and cute. I think I need more lesbian friends, it might bring me back to the comfortable time when I had female friends who I wouldn't hit on because it was pointless (me being of total undesirability, and lack of money and prestige - I swear I used to have self esteem when I was 5, but that was so long ago).

The pain of not stretching my upper body came apparent on Monday and led into what might be my worst week so far in Japan (topping coming to work and discovering no English-co-worker). So continues the ever rollercoaster-esqe style of my life here. At least this means tonights party should fucking rock the socks of the world.


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