OK…so we missed a day! We’re busy folks here.
It is now Tuesday morn for us….day of departure from Tokyo Narita Airport and home to Denver then Vail. The last couple of days has been quite the busride! Seemed like the Chinese team would never see the end of us as we hitched rides to and from to get ourselves into position to see Tokyo and maybe shop. Most of it was in vain but we have spent some quality time together!
On Sunday morning we enjoyed our last chance to ski. The sun was shining and we wondered what if the races were held on such a glorious day! If we thought our trip was cut short, then I can’t imamgine the thoughts of the 5 Chinese kids who come from near Harbin and are supported by the Goldwin manufacturing divisiion which operates about 70% of the world’s Goldwin production out of their factory. They arrived late Friday night only to weake up to the cancellations after their 12 hour busride! On Satuday night we had a Chinese dinner together with our hosts and also enjoyed getting to know some new language, flavours and friends. Toasts to all parties and apologies from the good folks at Goldwin were all part of the proceedings. It was our own little welcome/goodbye party!
Sunday morn as the sun shone, we made our way to the top of the gondola and as high as we could go to strut our stuff with the Chinese. A few kids from ICI Ski Club in Tokyo stuck around too and we made up a gorup of about 20 in total. The SSCV kids led the way as they had spent a few runs around the mountain before the planned Japan Cup and we spent 3 hours together, skiing, jumping, Ski Xing and more. It was a good time had by all and ended too soon as the day continued to get better with temps hovering around freezing, skies blue and snow perfectly groomed! Lunch followed and then the parade of goodbyes, sayonaaras and group photos at the bus pick up! Before any of this could happen we were to receive more goodies from Goldwin which the kids were quick to want to show off. More socks, a Team Japan jacket for Topolino/Whistler Cup for everyone as well as the unused start lists from the race! It was like Christmas again!
The bus ride to Narita was uneventful. Roads were clear, un-congested and of course very orderly. We passed many military vehicles en route that we suspected were making their way to Fukushima and all the affected areas of the Tsunami. Upon arrival at the airport to leave our big bags we also saw many foreign rescue teams and experts who had clearly come to help…other than that there was no marked sign that there was a serious tragedy going on. After a quick stop at the airport, both the SSCV/USA team and Chinese delgation made their way by bus to a Narita town Hotel APA. Shortly thereafter we walked to the “Volks” restaurant (think Japanese Applebees) for a steak dinner. If we weren’t already tired then this was enough to flip the switch. Make sure the boys tell you about their Japanese Bath experience. Apparently they wore their trunks despite Japanese tradition before bedtime.
Monday morning we woke to the next adventure. We had planned to head to Tokyo early but Mr. Noboru had suggested we go with him at 10am and he could lead us there by train. Through the night as we slept our hotel shook and swayed a few times. More tremors in the Land of the Rising Sun. It is said that they experience this more than any other part of the world. At 10 am, we said goodbye to our Chinese counterparts and walked a short distance to the train station. I had been warned by a friend that trains were being shut down and that scheduled blackouts would take place with electricity. Of course I thought we’d be fine but it turns out that our train was not to leave for 3 hours (and then as we found out later 7 hours). Plan “B” was now in action….we’d re-unite with the Chinese, hitch a ride to the airport and catch a Tokyo shuttle to Shinjuku and then subway to Shinegawa for our hotel. Despite being told it would take 3 hours to get to Tokyo (usually takes 1hr) we were able to get there in 1.5 hours. A quick trip on the subway and we were at the Prince Hotel!
By 2:30pm we were changed again and unloaded of our back-packs in time to hit the subway to Ginze for some real shopping….unfortunately it would be very short lived as the stores were closing at 6pm and we blew the 1st hour in Bic (Big) Camera. Cameras, TV’s, phones, toys and more on about 6 floors of fun! Just the atmosphere was great. We all bought something and left ready to stroll Ginza. A quick saunter through the very beautiful food section was enough to get the tastebuds primed for some french bread, cakes, and sandwiches. Check out the girls’ blogs for pictorial evidence! Well worht the trip to any basement of a Japanese department store is the food section!
Obligatory gift buying ensued and we headed back to the hotel (crammed like sardines in the Subway) for “running around” and after dinner chaos (did I mention we all (except Genevieve) had some MacDonalds earlier?). Lights out and ready for the real travel day ahead!
Even though we do not depart until 5:45pm today….it has been suggested we leave nothing to chance and get to Narita soon! We are departing at 10am this morn and should be there in an hour but some have said yesterday that it took 5 hours to get their. Hopefull we will spend the day at the airport and not in traffic….this should give us plenty of time to shop and spend the rest of our money!
May update one more time but in the meantime….enjoy some blogging by the kids….I hope they have been updating! In the meantime….thank you to all of those that had have made our trip amazing in so many ways….o say wa ni narismashita!
Also take the time to donate to the rescue and rebuilding efforts of Japan, Haiti or New Zealand in tribute of the support we received during this trip.