Monthly Archive for February, 2008


Okay.  I got back at 09:35 yesterday morning.

I want to go back to Hokkaido.

White Hell

Okay, to start, this isn’t an FTP thread…

Got back in to Sapporo last evening – just barely. 

Friday was clear in Sapporo, but cold.  We caught the highway bus to Niseko Annupuri Resort (2180 yen PP) via Otaru (not the Nakayama-touge route).  The weather in Niseko was overcast with the portent of snowfall.  After checking in to the Northern Resort Annupuri and attempting to find somewhere for lunch, we walked down to the ski center for lunch at the cafeteria.  I had a Hamburger with pilaf for 1100 yen.  The meat slab was good and big (A-), but the “pilaf” (C-) was just rice with a hint of butter and frozen mixed vegetables mixed in (peas, carrots, corn).  Back at the hotel, we were picked up by Minami-san of Niseko Adventure Center for a snowshoe tour.  He drove us over to the gondola in a Toyota Hiace and out came the poles and Atlas snowshoes.  The poles were mystery ski poles, so were of a fixed length which I thought were too long, even if the session was to be all downhill.  We caught the gondola up to the top station, where it was snowing nicely. Continue reading ‘White Hell’

Damn You Snow Pirate

Arr! That’s it, next season I’m forgoing the midseason Whistler and saving up for Japan. With the exchange rate tanking as it has, might as well go somewhere with a high percentage of powder poaching. So far, my midseason Whistler trips have been a little dissapointing. Not to say I didn’t enjoy them, like they say, a bad day of boarding is better than any day at work. And we had some quite good riding. But I want to experience some real, true powder. Not the week old settled stuff some woman called powder. If anything, I think I’ve consistently had more fun on our early season quickies. No crowds all around, and our luck with weather has been pretty good.

So Dave, after reading your posts, I’m going to put aside for the Japan fund now.

Feast or Famine

Caught the bus out to Sapporo Kokusai yesterday.  It was clear and sunny as was the day before.  I still managed to find some untracked riding in the center bowl and in the secret trees, but it was settled, old powder – fun, but not wonderful.  The sunny-side faces were windpacked and had a melt-crust, but the sheltered sides were fine.  I took a break and had a “pizza-nan” and coffee set (750 yen) at the little snack shop at the top of the gondola (they used to be down midway by the slow old pair lifts, but moved to a more accessible location).  I had a little incident with the paper tube of sugar for my coffee.  While shaking it gently from the end to clear some air space to tear it, the paper disintegrated – sending granulated sugar everywhere.  Darned those foreigners!  Don’t they know how to open a paper tube of sugar?  Lucily nobody saw me do this, and I managed to clean it all up.  Food was more snack-sized.  Probably a bit pricy for what I got.  (B)  The clear sky had turned a little hazy by the time I got done with lunch.  A hint of snow began to fall.  On the bus ride home, the haze in the sky was becoming more pronounced – snow was on the way.  Dinner was sausage, kraut, some kind of gratin thing, and sauerbraten at a German restaurant.  Had a good hefe-weisen too… can’t recall the name right now… Georg Someone & Sohn…  All the food was really good (A, except the sauerbraten which was an A-).  Around 7000 yen for everything including beer, dessert and coffee. Continue reading ‘Feast or Famine’

Break Brake

img_1071.JPGimg_1072.jpgThe brake parts I ordered came in. Discovered I ordered the wrong front EBC rotors, or perhaps it was a subconscious desiscion to upgrade? What happened is I ordered the later year ones, which are larger. The good thing is that if you order the same later year calipers, they bolt right up to the older hubs. The only thing is you need to either modify or remove the dust shields. I removing them is the easiest to do. Cut with Dremel and wrench it off.

img_1073.JPGimg_1075.JPG Continue reading ‘Break Brake’

Most Advantageous

Okay, I found it.  The Indian restaurant in Sapporo run by Indian nationals!  They have a tandoor!  They make mango lassis!  Taj Mahal on the B1 level of Sapporo Factory mall, on the Northeast side.  I even got to order in English!  We ordered samosas, lamb biriyani, and chicken tikka masala.  It was all very good.  The nan that came with the chicken was enormous and slathered in melted butter.  The lassis and samosas were around $5 each, and the entrees were around $10 each, so the total was around $35 or so for two.  The entrees included the rice or nan, so those didn’t have to be ordered ala carte.  They had chana masala – I was torn between that and the chicken.  I’ll just have to go back!

Highly recommended

Four out of four grinning monkeys

Stay out of the Moors…

In anticipation of some B/C work in Niseko, we went to Takino Suzuran park in Southeast Sapporo on Saturday to try out snowshoeing.  We caught the subway down to Makomanai and got on the same bus line that heads to the Geijitsu no Mori (art/sculpture garden).  Takino is a Natonal-Government-run park offering various activities year-round.  In winter there are XC ski trails, a tiny one-lift ski/board slope, a tube/sled park, and snowshoe trails.  The snow as coming down pretty heavy in the morning.  There was easily 10-15cm of unsettled fall overnight.  The snowshoe and poles were free.  They had pretty nice hardware – Tubbs shoes and BD poles! Continue reading ‘Stay out of the Moors…’

In Sapporo

Got in last night a little late.  The flight was delayed due to non-arrival of aircraft.  Maybe 30-40  minutes behind schedule.  There was a light snow falling ant the temp was around -6C.  I was just happy the flight wasn’t cancelled.

I can’t get the IE Outlook interface to work here for some reason – I can check my mail, but I get some “file…text…unsupported…something” error if I try to send something.  That makes me cranky.  Some issue with the language version or something.  It used to work fine.  Had the same issue at 2 different locations.


Feet dry at KIX.  Flight was OK, but uncomfortably hot.  Probably the dummy-plug drives under the seats for the in-flight entertainment systems were cooking me.  My watch said the temp was as high as 31C in the cabin!  There were some non-Japanese people in back of me… semi-English speakers who insisted on using my seatback as a handle, especially when I had a drink in my hand.  Darn those overweight foreigners!  Fat dude was pushing his back against mine when we were waiting to deplane, expecting me to move – which I didn’t.  Pilot was really good.  Nice soft landing on the new runway.  Landing approach was over Awaji-shima, then turning in a big right arc to land going out to sea. 

It’s about 6-9C here.  My KIX-CTS flight is on schedule, so everything looks good.

Off to Sapporo

All ready to head out.  Heading to HNL to catch JO 077 to KIX.  There is supposed to be some bad weather warning going on for today – tens of centimeters of snowfall expected nationwide.  Hope none of my flight legs get cancelled…