Huddled together outside Meteor Lodge at 8am, the two early birds waited eagerly for the free shuttle bus to Hakuba Goryu. We heard from reliable sources at the Lodge that this is the best mountain for beginners, so naturally this is our first destination.
I have mixed feelings – excited yet nervous at the same time. During my previous attempts at snowboarding, I have had some really bad falls. I was never able to complete the basic S turn. So I was not super optimistic about how much I can progress on this trip, even though I knew I was still going to put in my best effort!
My first snowboarding experience was in Japan too, at this place called Zao. There, we were first struck by the loud Japanese pop music blasting out on speakers all over the slopes and the multitude of colorful and cool jackets that Japanese boarders have a penchant for.
This time round, there was still music on the chair lifts, but due to the Aussie influence at Hakuba, we could enjoy a pretty current selection of English pop songs. Adele’s skyfall was playing and there was the James Bond mood with all the surrounding mountain ranges looking mysterious in the mist. Coincidentally, there also happened to be a lift called Sky-4!
I always worry that Kenneth won’t have a good time snowboarding as he is stuck on the beginner slopes with me when he could be doing the most difficult sections way up in the mountains.
This time round, he actually decided to challenge himself by learning how to snowboard on his “goofy” side instead of his usual “regular”. It’s called “riding switch” and we learned about it while watching instructional videos before our trip. Yes we are nerds! So I was happy that this time he wouldn’t have to feel bored on the green slopes. We can both tumble and fall together! He’s such a trooper.
So for snowboarding, you are either a regular or goofy, depending on your natural leading leg going down the mountain. He is regular while I am goofy. Well, when I twist my body and flail my arms desperately while trying to throw my weight in the right direction on the board, I sure feel very goofy!
This was happening a lot:
However, a miracle happened. Somehow, sometime in the morning, I managed to remember and complete the S turn! Twice before it was time for lunch. Kenneth was also getting the hang of his new goofy leg. Wow, we are starting to feel very good about this trip. Our torturous Trailwalker trial hike probably helped build some muscles which certainly came in handy!
By the end of the day, my goodness, I was feeling even more tired than after the 8-hour hike 2 days ago!
We seriously needed to do some restoration to our bodies. Off to the onsen again!
When we came back to the lodge, I noticed a huge poster hanging in the living room. When I walked closer to take a look, to my I surprise, it was Yoga Lin, the singer from Taiwan! It was a signed poster with his best wishes for Meteor.
I asked Mrs Tetsu about Yoga but she could not really speak English. But that didn’t stop her from animatedly trying to communicate the whole story to me. In bits and pieces, I learned that he came to Hakuba to do a promotional video as he was Nagano’s tourist ambassador for Taiwan. And there was something about Tetsu-san being involved in the video! Intrigued, I made a mental note to ask Tetsu-san or Rika about Yoga’s visit.
We got back to our room and were both suddenly overwhelmed with drowsiness. Time to give in to our tired bodies and recharge for the next day’s adventure…!