Well, i had an adventuresome birthday weekend. Saturday started out with my quest to go skiing on my birthday. By god I actually did it. So i bought myself some climbing skins as a little self birthday present, let me tell you, they rule. It's a little like 4wd for your skis. Anyway, i got them and stuck them to the bottom of my skis in preparation for my adventure. Since I don't have a car, i managed to get to the resort via train. I got up at 6 to get to the station by 6:30 which almost worked, honestly it almost did. I even saw the train pull out of the station ahead of me. I then proceeded to wait an hour for the next train and amuse the other passengers as the stared at my backpack full of skis and boots and poles. If you ever want to see people trying not to look at you, i recommend travelling in japan with weird baggage and strange clothing.
I ended up learning something about geography at the end of my train ride to Myoko ski town. One is that trains tend to run along rivers and ski resorts tend to be on mountains. Rarely the twain shall meet. I did a bit of hiking just to get up the hill to the ski resort. It was alright, but i'd have rather been on the hill. Eventually i reached some patches of snow and donned my boots and skis and poles and it was just swell, I made it about 3/4 up the mountain before i had to turn around for time constraints. At the top i stripped off the skins and made my way down the slush, realizing that I forgot how to ski.
At any rate i did it and got back to nagano about 1:30 pm and then had about 15 minutes respite at home before heading out to a hanami barbeque in the nearby city of Suzaka. As it turns out I had the first fresh grilled burger yet in japan. It was splendid. I also ate several sausages, some chicken, grilled fish, some shrimp, some korean barbeque meat and some other stuff that I can't really remember. I also had some beer. Maybe some other stuff too. Then we ended up in a karaoke bar with a bunch of sweaty foreigners in one room with a gimongous TV. Just as I had hoped my birthday would be.