The nickname I had printed on my futsal jersey for the Griffith University team was “J-Lo” due to my impressive booty. Over the years this has slowly grown on me and today it proved an asset (if you can’t enjoy all of those puns I don’t know how to help you). Andrew and I decided not to drink too hard last night and instead made the mature decision to get up early and go to the Takino Suzuran Hillside National Park for the day. This turned out to be a great decision which is something he and I rarely make in each others company – progress!
After clearing up some around the office work for Andrew we headed out to the park around 11.30am but first we made a quick stop off at Easter Island to see the Moai
and then teleported off to Stonehenge
Because why not?
Thank you for being weird Japan!
Once we’d finished globe trotting we made our way to the park. The first stop was designed so we could cross country ski our way to the Ashiribetsu Falls, a frozen waterfall. It was all on track until we got to the ski lodge and found out via trial and error that they didn’t have boots that fit my feet, not even close. The looks of disappointment on our faces were obvious, but after a refund we decided to just trek our way there anyway. We made a brief detour to do some snow tubing on some children’s sized tubes before making our way to the falls.
The walk is easy and quick but don’t expect a toilet once you leave the lodge as the one on the way is frozen shut (literally) and you’ll have to wait.
The waterfall is truly spectacular. I really wish I had a proper camera to capture these moments better, as the go pro struggles with distance, but it’s something I’ll never forget which is the most important thing. The white of the landscape, the blue of the ice around the waterfall, the black of the water below, and the trees lining the rock formation above combine to make this one marvellous natural landmark. The sound of the water cascading onto the rocks below reminds you it is still very much in motion while the majority of it is hidden behind a waterfall frozen in mid air. It is the first of its kind I’ve ever seen, and I really hope it isn’t the last.
We made our way back to the car and back up the mountain to the main Ski Cabin in a desperate hope to find me a pair of shoes that will fit and let us do some cross country skiing. The ladies were helpful, and gave me their one and only pair of the biggest size available and it was a perfect match – Cinderella of Takino Snow World.
I have never been good with skates on my feet. I can’t skateboard worth a damn, never put roller blades anywhere near my feet, and if you want me to ice skate you better get me the buttocks attachment. I have good natural balance, until you put me in these sorts of situations. I become like those cats with socks on their feet, totally spastic. Andrew is a snowboarder, but he admits this shit was difficult for him as well. We were like the old people you see struggling to perform the most basic of tasks, new born giraffes trying to get up, totally ridiculous.
The course we chose was 3kms and it was a very basic incline/decline system because we knew our limitations, or so we thought. I think I crashed around 8 times properly, and each time got funnier and funnier. Andrew had one really good crash, and a few tumbles, but mostly kept his feet and had plenty of time to film me flailing about. All the stuff ups will be in video form below, please enjoy.
After the ice and snow had won the day and my butt was frozen solid we crossed the finish line and made our way back into town. Our late lunch was this fantastic gyozo in main street Sumikawa, 700 yen for 16 gyoza, rice, soup, and a full stomach.
We were under a time crunch as Andrew had to collect Ash and head to Niseko so saying goodbye was short but sweet just incase I don’t get to see him again tomorrow in Niseko. It was a great day, the day we should have had a week ago!
If you’re in Sapporo make the trek to this winter wonderland park. It’s worth it.