Thursday, December 11, 2003
For the first time ever in recorded history, dereck uses a spell checker!!!!!!! I had to do a report on my trip for school, and since it was already done, why reinvent the wheel? I took out a paragraph or two and you should see what it looked like before too.... I spent I think a little less than an hour spell checking... enjoy!
First was all the fist year students met at the school and I was just in time. Everyone got on to ten charter buses! Ten of them! It was a train going down the road. Joho (my class) was of course the last buss. We get to the airport wait an hour and get on to a 747 and fill it almost to the max! There were maybe thirty other people on that flight with us. Not chartered, public flight. It was a Japanese 747 though and the seats were really small.... it kind of sucked, but it was decently fast. We arrive at Hokkaido and no snow, everyone was really cold, except me, I was just fine. We get on ten different busses, and off we go! The bus was really comfortable and it took a long time to get up to the "hotel", which was really a camp with extra facilities. The rooms slept 8 and there was a huge gym, a doujo, and a big cafeteria. Oh, no private baths, there was an onsen instead... that was indeed different...
Alright now the interesting part, skiing! Everyone was given the same snow pants, jacket, hat, gloves and goggles. Most of the boots were the same as well, but the bigger sizes were different colors, easy to find... lucky me! Orange jacket, black pants, white and purple hat, black or white boots, and black goggles; it was really comfortable and warm the whole time, but maybe because I’m used to the cold. The fist day had perfect weather, there was snow enough to keep the hill from tuning to ice, and most of the time you could see a hundred feet in front of you while skiing.
I was the first to get to ski in my group; the instructor was really interested in me I suppose, being the only American there. The fist lesson was stopping, a very important skill I think, and a hard one at that. I was going good…, good…, good…, oh shit! See you a couple minutes when I walk back up the hill. Didn’t hurt at all, just was scary the first time. The next attempt was ok. After a while we went on the lift to the top of the hill, and we were the first there, the photographer came up and took our pictures, he can ski very well. Ok, it was scary at first and I almost went down the advanced hill by mistake coming off the lift. No problem though. I got down the first little slope and didn’t fall, but then I could see the next part. It was steep, very steep, we started going, and being adventurous I was a little to fast, and I then tried to follow the teacher and turn to go the other way... I didn't make the full turn and skied halfway down the hill at 45 mph. I rolled the last half. it was really cool, no pain, just adrenalin. My skis were where I started rolling and I had to clime back up and put them back on. really great. I was able to make it the rest of the way down without falling, and after it leveled off a little, I managed the rest of the hill without any problem.
We went back up and I fell one more time at the same place, but I didn’t roll and my skis stayed on. At the bottom of the hill is a small bump, maybe 2 feet in height, I jumped of that twice. It was great, and almost lost it the second time.
The next day was sunny and beautiful; you could see mountains in the distance and everything. We went up the mountain again and skied down before going on the real hill... it took 5 minutes by the high-speed lift to get to the top, we were so high, it was 4 times the length of the bunny hill and 7 times as high or more. That was scary. I was all right for half way down and then WOOOOSH! I only hope I wasn’t going 50 miles an hour... I didn’t fall until after I got down the hill which was a good thing and I was slowed down a lot, which was even better. I was going strait for deep snow, my skis went in and I thought, “ok, I haven fallen yet, I made it” and then my skies stopped, I kept going... about 5 feet and a face full of snow. It was perfect; I wish I could have a video, a nice soft high-speed crash and a face full of snow. I sat up and what was this? My wallet? Nope, my wallet was still in my pocket. Where my face has stopped was someone else’s wallet and identification, I wasn’t the first person to do that exact same thing that made me happy. The rest of the hill was ok, and I ditched once because though I was going to go off a cliff, but that was all, It was really fun.
We didn’t go all the way down this hill, the rest was way advanced. We took a small lift back to the top. There we had a photo shoot and took the high-speed lift back down. We got one more bunny hill in before time was up and I didn’t fall once.
The last day we got back on the bus and went to a small town and went shopping where we were released upon the city. My group went to a sushi place and I had some things that were really good. After that were decided to take a shortcut and got lost. Eventually we got out thanks to my spotting a big tower that I recognized and we saw other Kumakou students.
We went into one store and everyone but I and Kekei bought something, little glass music box type thingy, I couldn't think of the song I wanted until after, oh well. Sakura, sakura MMMmmmmmM.... yea, that one. We got back on the bus and off we went to Sapporo.
Sapporo is the largest city on Hokkaido, and the capital of the prefecture. The is a small saying... Hokkaido daikkido. Dai is the prefix for big. Meaning all of Japan in small except for Hokkaido which is huge, and if you turn it upside-down it looks like Texas. I got all kinds of sweets and chocolate for my host family and stuff, it is custom to bring back sweets after going on a trip somewhere.
The flight back home was a chartered flight, a chartered 747... Kumakou reserved an entire 747!!! And almost filled it to the max too! The seats were comfortable on this flight too; it was about the same type that I flew on across to Japan. Maybe the same type. 747 SR is what it saw I think... We stopped half way for a small break and I sleep though it. I slept though landing and a take off and woke up 15 minutes before flying over Kyushu! That was amazing; then again I sleep though serious turbulence the fist time I went to Japan. I only knew about it because Masushima sensei told me about it.
I was going up the escalator at the airport and turning my cell phone back on, and who is at the top of the escalator with his hand outstretched, the principal of the school! I didn't get my PIN entered and it was in my pocket in half a second. :P He asked me a couple of questions like, did you enjoy it, do you like skiing and one more I didn't understand. That was a close one...
well that was Hokkaido and I enjoyed it very much, thank you Kumamoto Heisei Rotary club for paying my way, and Kumakou teachers for all your hard work to get 400 students on that airplane.