The day started with a threat. A certain Offspring claimed the discovery of a snowboarding sweet spot currently off-limits according to the snow patrol, while mysterious evidence of recent use in the form of tracks proved otherwise. And I don’t mean the kind that leaves scat. At his own peril, he contemplated ignoring the warnings, risk having his lift ticket pulled and board like the banshee he had become. After all, he reasoned, he’d just buy a new one, with Spouse’s hard-earned cash. The conversation spiraled from a reasonable explanation of alternatives to his way of thinking, like the snow patrol roped off areas because they were dangerous, to an abrupt autocratic, dictatorship style ending, “No, you will not do it and if you get caught you will sit in the room until we leave thinking about how much fun the rest of us are having.” Spouse did not enjoy the pleasure of participating in this interlude of mountain mongrel maintenance given his absence from this trip.
The three of us left. Offspring #1 convinced Offspring #2 and I into testing our new-borne snowboarding skills on a winding trail while he careened to the bottom via an alternate path. Suspicious from the onset as the trail exhibited no signs of life, several reasons for the vacancy soon became apparent. For one, my bath tub encompassed more girth than this. Next, sheer drops off the side led to endless, white, nothing, nary a twig or blade of switch to break our neck breaking fall, and finally it was best traversed on ice skates as a sheet of blue ice blanketed the narrow path from stem to stern. The wind cut our now raw faces with sharp, jagged ice pellets as we crept down. We passed two skiers- both of whom decided it was safer to walk. Other than that, not a soul. But- Hallelujah- salvation beckoned from the right. I suggested abandoning ship with a quick climb over the embankment where we could then join the fun on the run next to us. She readily agreed. Or I think she did- the ice that collected around her neck prevented up and down movement of the head. Ernest Shackleton certainly did not endure this much pain on his ill-fated journey to the Antarctic. We emerged gleeful to be free of the death ride to the bottom like ship wrecked sailors celebrating the appearance of a boat in the distance. What I did not anticipate, were the two unseen snow patrolmen on the other side of the embankment, on the hunt for rule breakers. When in Japan, do not break the rules- it is not tolerated and causes one to become an outsider. (more later) With no tree cover, they spotted us immediately, and clamored over each other to investigate the unruly mom with her bleating moppet. Whatever chastising words erupted from the blustering snow patrolman’s mouth were lost on us. I surmised by the waving of their poles, that we were being instructed to resume our treacherous journey toward death by exiting the happy hill we had illegally joined. I smiled my big stupid grin, and OS#2 said “We’re ok. All fine,” in Japanese hoping this feeble attempt at friendliness combined with feigned ignorance would save our lift passes. Silent, unsympathetic stares greeted us in return. We trudged back to the precipice of doom. Not long after our return to the ledge, we noticed our escorts. The two snow patrolmen had appeared out of no where above us, and followed 15 feet behind making sure we didn’t try to escape the death descent again. Or to perhaps ensure our safety. We were marked. Rule breakers.
Best to get to the bottom, take a break and let our chaperone’s forget about the whole unfortunate incident. Hopefully others would take our place in their memory during our break. Poor Offspring #2 was exhausted and on the verge of dehydration or starvation- one of the two. Whichever is worse. I was frost-bitten. Or maybe that’s just an age spot on the tip of my nose.
Bursting through the doors of the resort, a Heaven of food courts awaited. The angels sang as we inhaled the atmosphere greeting us.
Not only was there food- our frozen feet could be de-thawed at the foot bath:
The choir clapped and rejoiced in the recesses of my mind as I drank in the sites.
But first- food. It was time to teach Offspring #2 – referred to from here on out in this post as “Grasshopper” the lesson on how to order food in Japan.
Step #1- Most important- decide on your order and memorize the number.
Step #2- Locate the vending machine which corresponds to the restaurant which sells the food of your choosing.
Step #3-Locate the number of your food choice (don’t rely on the picture on the machine in case the picture is unrecognizable versus your menu choice)- insert money, and push the button that corresponds to your food choice.
Step #4- A ticket will then pop out- above left. Take the ticket to the counter where the food will be delivered pronto- like magic.
During our meal, we listened to the following Japanese girl group- who are very typical of the genre- singing their hit new single- repeatedly, at full volume. We didn’t see them sideways- but you will.
Finally, one of the 7 Wonders of the World, is the selling of beer in vending machines all over Japan. What a wonderful life.
In terms of the re-cap, the day started with a harrowing descent from the famous Japanese mountain known for its treachery Mt. Naeba- and ended with a great meal, a foot bath, a serenade, and a beer from the vending machine. Cheers.
That’s a fascinating food-ordering process. I couldn’t think up something like that in a million years.
It took me a million years to figure it out.
Ah! A typical day in Japan. From the sublime to the ridiculous. 😉 I miss Pocari Sweat.
Only the Japanese could make something as easy as ordering food so complex.
They do seem to have an unholy fetish with all things electronic and mechanical. It’s a good thing to see that your food is at least cooked by a human being instead of coming out of a machine. Although I am sure that there is plenty of that going on too!
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to innovation. The toilets are masterful…
I have indeed heard tales of these wondrous posterior cleaning devices. Are the tales true? Do you indeed get to sit on a heated seat, and enjoy a through spray when finished?
Do tell do tell.
My source material for the toilet is in the last bit of the provided blog.
Well Bob- you brought it up. Here’s a quote from a very early post I wrote “The Next Time We go To War, Let’s Consult the Japanese” on the wonders of the Japanese marvel that is the toilet:
” I thought the bidet was advanced. This one guides you in at night with a blue light. The lid automatically opens when you walk in the door as if in a warm greeting. The seat is heated. There are two spray options- soft and regular. There is a pressure choice. Of course you can choose high or low for flushing depending on the load. You can dry your bottom. The massaging function I’m afraid to test. The deodorizer sprays a nice scent. I’ve seen some toilets that play music and have button options for flushing noises to cover those embarrassing “sounds”.”
Since then, I’ve seen many even more advanced versions. AND- they are everywhere- subway stations, airports, public bathrooms,…
Fascinating! And beer from a vending machine!……Wow! I’m packing right now! Japan here I come! 🙂
😀 You can get a lot of interesting things from Japanese vending machines.
I told The Offspring the machines are programmed to bite the fingers off underage drinkers.
For a minute there, I thought you were going to be punished for your transgressions by not being allowed to indulge in a foot bath or a vending machine beer after your snowboarding. Thank goodness I was wrong! 🙂
I really did think we were getting our lift passes pulled which would’ve been really funny- except that the Offspring was there to tell the tale. In all it’s parenting run amok glory.
Fascinating! But it does seem a peculiar system–the ordering system, that is. As far as not being allowed to escape with your life to a safer slope–that’s bizarre!
I tell ya- they followed us the WHOLE way down- not saying a word. They probably thought we were just crazy rule breaking Americans… Which we usually are- and were actually!
I want to order food like that! The icky fast food chains in the cities will pour beer from the tap to-go, but admittedly not as awesome as beer in a vending machine.
The even more awesome fact is it doesn’t get shaken in the process to spray all over your face when opened. Go figure?
I think everything typed made a great deal of sense. However, think about
this, what if you added a little information? I
am not suggesting your content isn’t solid, but suppose you added a post title that grabbed
folk’s attention? I mean Ordering Food Japan Style | Hey from
Japan- Notes on Moving, Emily Cannell is kinda vanilla.
You could peek at Yahoo’s front page and watch how they create post titles to get viewers to open the links.
You might add a video or a related pic or two to get people interested about everything’ve written.
In my opinion, it might bring your blog a little livelier.