I’m lying head downslope in knee-deep powder looking up the underside of a leafless tree canopy, the sharp pain in my front leg beginning to dull with the onset of the adrenaline rush. I manage to get my board untangled from the ice-ball rock garden that I have wandered into and try to rub out the Charley Horse in my right quad. I know from the dullness this isn’t going to be a minor injury, so I focus on getting the board under me and traversing out of the sidecountry and onto a groomed course before I go shocky and black out in the worst-case-scenario. I am a little wobbly, but the leg doesn’t fold under the weight. I complete the drop into the little bowl I was S-turning down onto when I found the icy Linga of Death, crossing a little gulley and toe-siding out to the Echo course. After a little breather, I ride out to the base. Continue reading ‘Oh, Snap!’
Back from dealing with buffet sensou with yelling Chinese tourists in Noboribetsu. Figured going to a less-known property would be a safer bet against the throngs of foreign tourists, but apparently where we went was specifically marketing themselves toward the package foreign market. Onsen itself was not bad, though the scenery was lame, and the baths themselves set in the concrete industrial underside of the hotel. Had some good gyutan for lunch in a new place in the basement of JR Sapporo-eki, North of the Mexican restaurant. Dinner was at an unremarkable ramen-ya. Organic, but not all that good. If you like niboshi-based broth, you’ll like it, but if you lean more toward chicken bone or pork bone bases, you’ll find it painfully fishy. I guess I’m not too upset I forgot both my camera and phone in the rush to get dinner. It’s in Maruyama, around the corner from the second location that Bozu was in before he went under. The place screams, “former salaryman with a dream to open a ramen restaurant”. There was a centimeter or two of new snow in town, so that might be enough to get me motivated to catch the bus out to Kokusai tomorrow.
Yesterday’s high was between +5C and +7C. The wind was pretty minimal. Patagonia Capilene 2 long bottoms under Marmot Hatteras nylon canvas pants were fine. On top I had a Capilene 1 silkweight tee, a Capilene 3 quarter-zip long-sleeve, and R1 hoody. That ranged from about right to too warm. The zippers on both the long-sleeve and hoodie helped regulate the temperature. It would be nice if there was a R1-weight piece with the lighter-weight micro-grid fabric on the entire back for use with a pack. In the evening on the walk to dinner, I deleted the Capilene 3 long-sleeve since I’d be indoors for a long period and didn’t want to overheat. It was a bit cold, as the temperatures dropped toward the evening low of +2C after the sun went down, and the wind came up to 5-10 m/s. It was fine for the short walk, but anything more would have been uncomfortable. As a side note, the Capilene 3 long-sleeve doesn’t play well with the R1 fleece – their surfaces bind against each other, making it hard to put the R1 on without the baselayer sleeves getting all bunched up, or the fleece’s back getting hung up across the shoulders. Continue reading ‘Layering Test 5′
The warm weather has made all the unremoved snow in the streets melt and the vehicular traffic has churned it into a brown slurry. The snowpack on the sidewalks are corny slush in the sun or slick ice-slides in the shade. I’ll never understand the half-measures in this city. It’s not like it has never snowed before. It’s not like they don’t have front-end loaders and dump trucks. They’ll clear the center turn lane and the inner traffic lanes of a four-lane highway, but leave mountainous piles of snow in the outer lanes. I can understand just getting some lanes open immediately after a blizzard, but that’s where the work stops. They don’t clear the remaining mess in subsequent days and it just keeps piling up. When the temperatures drop next week, all that slush in the streets will harden up into an ankle-twisting egg-crate of ice. Continue reading ‘Wet and Messy’
I didn’t get to drink this last November, so it’s been waiting faithfully in the refrigerator for me until now. This limited seasonal from Sapporo Breweries is distinguished by its use of freshly picked hops (Tsumitate nama hop shiyou) grown in Furano, Hokkaido for a wonderful burst of Pilsen-bitter. The decoction is essentially the same as other Sapporo lager products, so the taste-bud-pleasing maltiness is similar to their other products. The carbonation in the glass after the pour is fleeting with no significant head, but there is still bubbling on the tongue when imbibed. This is a very good production beer. I like it better than the Suntory Malts Premium Pilsener, which is unfortunate, since I’ll never be able to get it again! Launching at the end of April, there is a similar Sapporo Kuro Label The Hokkaido that is using both the Furano hops and Hokkaido-grown barley. That one is both a limited edition and Hokkaido limited sales product. With any luck, I’ll get to try that one too. Here’s hoping! Continue reading ‘Beer is Good – Sapporo 2013 Furano Vintage Classic’
Wow. That’s the tenderest whole chicken sandwich I’ve ever had. One of the current seasonal selections at MOS Burger is the Karamiso (spicy miso) Chicken Burger. This one takes a little bit to arrive, since they grill up the chicken when you order the sandwich. Topped with a special sauce made from a blend of three kinds of miso - spicy Korean kochujang, sweet Chinese tianmianjiang, and sweet Kyoto-style miso – blended with aibiki (ground beef and pork), carrot, onion, and other vegetables, the juicy chicken thigh sits atop cabbage in a soft bun. The sweet and spicy sauce and the crisp, sweet cabbage balance the salty savoriness of the marinated, teriyaki-style chicken. Continue reading ‘MOS Karamiso Chicken Burger’
Board is all put together and boardbag is packed and ready to go! Now all I need is snow. I’m sure there are some unridden stashes like the stuff we found when Root and Fabio came up last season, but with the recent warmth, I’m thinking it will be like SLC where it’s powder-shaped concrete. I guess I’ll go look for lunch and wander about town a bit. The outdoor store is closed today, so that’ll have to wait.
I’m in Sapporo after a painfully long flight and long bus ride. To add Sendai to their list of destinations, Hawaiian puts them in as a stopover on the 441/442 Shin-Chitose flight. That means 12-hours in the packed-out seat of one of their oldest 767′s instead of 9. It’s not unlike a OGG stop on a ITO flight from HNL, but imagine your frustration if every time you had to go to HNL from OGG, you had to go all the way to ITO! I guess they are banking on capturing the Tohoku market with this destination, though maybe only a quarter to third of the nearly full flight got off at Sendai, and maybe 20-30 new passengers got on. A good part of the ramp time was security coming on board and inspecting the plane, and a brief cleaning on the open seats that would be reused: I think the actual flight from Sendai to CTS was 30 to 40-minutes. Considering the past experiences I’ve had on Hawaiian, this aircraft (N588HA) was dirty and run-down. Considering it was cold at the gate, they had all night and morning to clean it properly, so it’s the Hawaii cleaning contractor to blame. Continue reading ‘Shimari-yuki’