When you are a 43 year old out of shape woman and you are skiing at Hakuba 47 outside of Nagano and its RAINING. Today was the second day of a 4 day ski trip our family is on to Hakuba, site of some of the Nagano Winter Olympics (’98) competition. Yesterday it was relatively sunny and the resort we skied at (Happo One) had received about 10 inches the night before and even though it was still snowing and created white out conditions at times it was a very nice ski day. We rented fat powder skis and tried our best to “learn” how to ski on snow. You would think after skiing 6 seasons in a row in Windham New York we would know how to do that. But, in Windham, at least up until this winter, we skied on packed powder and ice. Real powder it turns out, is a thigh burning, heart pumping, aerobic feat. Nothing I was prepared for. This morning we woke up and found the cars completely covered with the new 15 inches and we were excited about day 2 on powder until we were in the car ride over and the snowflakes started to melt as soon as they hit the windshield. By the time we made it to the resort, it was full out raining but we endured…for about 1.5 hours. We went in to dry off, our plan being if we were dry, we could make it through another 1.5 hours until we were thoroughly soaked again. But, that was not what happened. When we finally went inside, we peeled off our layers to find that we were completely soaked through (sophie is showing off her wet long underwear in the photo on the left). So, we called it a day and went back to the hotel, where Matt, the manager of the White Horse – Artic Hotel told us there was a group going off to the onsen. We changed quickly and went off to the baths. This was quite a nice onsen with fun creative baths inside and out (see the photos of the girls that I took surreptitiously – no pictures are allowed – on the photo site). Back at the hotel, Tom and I couldn’t get back to the room quick enough for a nap. The girls ran off with the kids who live at the hotel – two cute kids that are from New Zealand but whose parents were working at the hotel for the season. They have been making snow men and playing their DS with them since we arrived. Speaking of the hotel, our room is fantastic. For those readers of the blog who remember the last outing in Nozawa Onsen at the Japanese Ryokan (think horse sashimi) we were thrilled to arrive in Hakuba to find that we had our own little apartment half japanese and half western. We have two tatami rooms that are set up as living rooms complete with a computer (free wireless) a few couches, a small fridge, a few bean bag chairs and a television with the Cartoon Network and then two bedrooms (one with a queen bed and the other with a bunk bed and two additional twin beds). AND OUR OWN BATHROOM WITH A PRIVATE SHOWER. We are really in heaven. Tonight, the hotel has an all you can eat Australian BBQ (did I mention the hotel is owned and run by Australians and New Zealanders) and we are happy to go down to the bar in our slippers and enjoy a fun dinner. The breakfasts here have been fabulous – no cold tofu and tamago, we actually have had eggs and bacon and toast and they have a huge espresso machine and they make great custom coffees. We are really spoiled. Tonight’s forecast calls for an even bigger dump of snow and Tom is planning to go off at 7am with the young australians that work here for a full powder day. The girls and I will wake up leisurely, have breakfast and then make our way to the slopes. We are excited because without Dad we can stop and have hot chocolate as many times as we like!!! It seems like we’ve been partying for the last 10 days as we just wrapped up our first experience having visitors in Tokyo. Last Friday, my cousins Wendy and Eddy arrived with their kids Maisy and Jonah and we had an action packed week of fun in the city and out. We ate, drank, bathed, sang karaoke, went to museums, hiked a mountain, ate and drank more, went site seeing and basically squeezed as much fun as we possibly could out of Tokyo in just a few short days. I have added photos of our time together on the photo site as well. P.S. Hayden is with his friends in New York this week and so does not appear in the photos. I am off to New York on Wednesday of next week for a quickie with my girlfriends in Westchester and then on to Exeter to spend the weekend with Thomas to learn about the college application process at Exeter. Looking forward to both. Sayonara!