Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Naqua Shirakami Hotel and Ski Resort ( Formerly known as Ajigasawa Ski Resort)

Naqua Shirakami Hotel

The Gondola station (??)

The parking lot

The gondola lifts

The Tubes

Another view of Gondola

My son lying on the snow, feeling its soft powder LOL

The snow mobile

That was........a Japanese guy (I wish it was me LOL), overlooking Sea of Japan

Our dinner


Dec. 25, 2009- We went to Naqua Shirakami Ski Resort, we had no potluck parties to attend and no prepared foods at home so we just decided to go skiing and snowboarding there. I knew it would be few people (because it's Christmas Day) and that would be a good timing for beginners like us :-) to practice skiing and snowboarding!

As usual we didn't plan this trip ahead of time, what else do I expect with my husband (hehehe); Dec. 24 when we decided to rent ski and snow board gears at Outdoor Recreation Center on base, it would be cheaper than renting at the ski resort. We paid ~$60 for 2 skis and 2 snow board equipments. Our plan was to drive up there in the morning and return in the evening. We went to ITT to ask for hotel package overnight but it's so expensive, it's 13,000 yen (~$148) per person maybe because it's short notice already (2 days before Christmas). My husband didn't get it.

While driving there, again......we got lost! I was the GPS of my husband and I just followed Misawa's insider's driving directions. It says there that we have to exit at the end of Tsugaru's Expressway but I noticed that they extended the expressway and the exit should now be before the end of expressway but I don't know the name of where should you exit then (that directions should be updated!!). After 30 minutes of driving around we finally found the main road, the 101 route.

We had a nice weather that day, it didn't snow nor rain, it's really perfect timing! But we were hungry, so we ate lunch first in their food court around 1pm. My husband had a terrible headache and tried to check available rooms so we could stay overnight and he won't have to drive back that night (because I won't too hehehe). We were lucky, they have rooms available. They charged as 11,000 yen (~$125) per adult and 88,000 yen ($100) per child. We took it and we paid 42,900 yen for 2 rooms, 2 adults and 2 children and they added 500 yen each room for the choice of connected rooms . The package includes dinner and breakfast buffet plus lift tickets for 1 day (Dec. 25 and 26). Lift ticket costs 4,000 yen each person if we didn't get the package. I don't know why Japan hotels are charging per person and not per room. So we didn't waste our money we ate a lot of crab legs during our dinner LOL.

This was our second time to go skiing and snowboarding and until now we're not that good at this sports hehehe. When we reached the peak of the mountain by riding the lift, (it's 921m or 3021 ft high and took us 10 to 15 minutes) we were very scared, the slope was too steep for us !!! And we even asked the Japanese guy that if he's sure that's for beginners' course and he said the same thing, "hai" (yes) so we stayed for few minutes, taking pictures and then.....we didn't convince ourselves to take the chance. We decided to take the lift going back down the hill (don't laugh! LOL) and said to the Japanese crew, "kowai" (scary) hehehe. Lucky nobody was around to see us going riding back in the same lift of course that Japanese crew only hehehe. So we ended up staying on the foot of the hill trying to ski, our kids learn snowboarding that quick. But my husband and I ....never mind hehehe. I was just posing for a picture and my ski slid all the way down...and can't control my skis so I just let myself hit the snow with butt first LOL

By the way I did try the onsen (hot spring tub), we were only few people there it was uncomfortable going to onsen ...naked! I think that would be my first and last try, it's a good experience though.

Dec. 26- Driving back home, I still used "The Insider's directions" fortunately we hit the right roads and saw the Jusco mall, we stopped by and did quick shopping for our friend's daughter's gift, we were invited for a birthday party that night (short notice too hehehe). It took us 2 hours to reach Misawa Air Base and just in time to return the equipments. What a trip, so tired, my legs were sore.

Driving Directions:

Just ask Japanese friends or co-workers, we got lost going up there hehehe.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Making Of Soba Noodles

The following pictures say it all on how to make soba noodles. These were taken during the Salmon Festival in Rokkasho Town. We have to wait for this Japanese guy to finish making soba noodles without saying anything. I will do the same thing.....enjoy browsing the photos!

Finally he smiled :-)

I should have brought my video camera rather than taking pictures of each steps hehehe, sorry I forgot to bring it.


According from Wikipedia:
Soba is a type of thin Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour. It is served either chilled with a dipping sauce, or in hot broth as a noodle soup. Moreover, it is common in Japan to refer to any thin noodle as soba in contrast to udon which are thick noodles made from wheat. It takes three months for buckwheat to be ready for harvest, so people can harvest it four times in a year; it is harvested mainly in spring, summer, and autumn. In Japan, buckwheat is produced mainly in Hokkaido. People call soba that is made with buckwheat that has just been harvested "shin-soba". It has more sweetness and taste than soba.

In Japan, soba noodles are served in a variety of situations. They are a popular inexpensive fast food at train stations throughout Japan and are served by exclusive and expensive specialty restaurants. Markets sell dried noodles and men-tsuyu, or instant noodle broth, to make home preparation easy.