The planning of our trip was very last minute, in fact, we didn’t book our accommodation in Niseko until we were already in Tokyo for a few days.
Because of this lack of forward planning, we ended up staying in a small village called Annupuri, which my guidebook did point out was an area with less tourists and more locals.
As it turned out, our stay in Annupuri was fantastic. The hostel where we stayed was family run, with a fresh cooked breakfast each morning, and a very friendly host who we communicated with through a very well thoughtout flip chart of common questions he gets asked.
For our first day of skiing we caught a bus to the Grand Hirafu ski area, as we had booked ski lessons in English for my wife. While my wife learnt to ski, I ventured up the mountain and very quickly discovered a mix of both ice and powder.
One thing that was particuarly different about skiing in Australia is the “expert” runs would be similar to a blue run in Australia, except they had not been groomed. I very much prefered this style of run.
On our second day of skiing we decided to ski at the Annupuri resort. Overall both days skiing was excellent and I would love to return to ski more.
Our trip to see Mount Fuji was not planned. Much like the rest of our trip, we decided what to do each day, while eating breakfast. By the time we had decided we were going to go to Mount Fuji it was around midday and we quickly hoped on a train from Tokyo to Hakone-Yumoto.
In the middle of 2021 I saw a simple cartoon which was two calendar’s talking to each other. The first calendar, 2020, says “I’m the worst year ever”, the second calendar, 2021, says “Hold my beer”.
In reality it is hard to tell if 2021 was really worse than 2020. In many ways it was the same, in some ways it was better and in others it certainly was worse.
To start with the good, in Australia, we had a decent run from February to May of near normal lifestyles. Early in the year I moved house and, for the first time in over ten years, I have a backyard where I can spend a lot of time gardening and talking to the birds, lizards and spiders. Furthermore, in the later half of the year, we were all able to get vaccines and to travel interstate again.
In December 2019 I went for a two week trip to Japan. At the time I had no idea it would be the last overseas trip I would take for more than two years and just how much things would begin to change only a month later.
On the morning of my first day in Tokyo I explored the area around Ginza, the Tsukiji Fish Market and the Hama-rikyū Gardens.
The final leg of my trip was to visit Lisbon. Getting to Lisbon was meant to be a “quick” train ride from Porto. Unfortunately, the train drivers decided to go on strike, so I ended up in a very long queue, for a very long bus trip for the 300km+ journey. When I arrived in Lisbon it was night instead of the originally planned mid-Afternoon