The alarm on my phone was blasting at 630 am and I was feeling drowsy. Hurriedly, i threw on my clothes want talked over to next door where kicklighter was. He generously offered to borrow his extra winter jacket to me to ski today. A1C Panic allowed me to use her snow pants, gloves, hat, goggles, ect. My future co-workers were so kind to me! Kicklighter drove us to the BX to meet the group and promptly left around 0730. Everyone except for I worked in the Urgent Care Clinic. I suppose they invited me because I was new, even if I working in the adjoining unit at the Multi-Service Unit. The scenic 2 hour drive went smoothly. One of the guys brought a bag of spicy beef jerky and gummy bears. It was a satisfying breakfast! Tolls on the roads stopped us momentarily from time to time and one cost us $28! The Japanese charge a lot to pay for road construction and repair (citizens don’t get it docked out of their taxes like in America). The skiis I rented from Outdoor Recreation Center were in the trunk while most of the snowboards and skiis were on top of a rack on the car roof. One ski pass for Hachimontai was about 50 Yen. The dollar equivalent is what it usually cost back in the States depending on how big the mountain was. Huge mounds of snow surrounded us. Flakes of fluffy balls of snow lazily fell to the ground in multitudes. They instantly melted on my warm skin and converted into water that tricked down my face. Just like in the movies, I stuck out my tough to catch random pieces that flew in sight. Japanese people were everyone to be seen and it seemed as though we were the minority. My snow gear covered me pretty well, so that no one could tell who I was (gender, nationality, or origin). A Japanese citizen even greeted me in Japanese probably thinking that I was from that area. By now we were sitting on the lift going up. The world slanted almost 90 degrees going up and I felt like I would fall off the face of the earth. At the top of the lift the Japanese ski personal would say “ohayo gozaimasu” -good morning, to each person passing by. Going down the first hill was a piece of cake. Skiing was like riding a bike for the reason that you just don’t forget those skills. When I first tackled mountains I would use snow boards, then later in the years I switched to skiing because it felt more natural. Going down a hill sideways on a snowboard vs strait on with skiis makes a huge difference. Strangely, the weather was not cold. In Wisconsin it is alway so cold that the precipitation becomes trapped in the clouds and leaves the freezing, dry air near the ground for the rest of us to embrace. Sadly enough Wisconsin did not snow much; just the cold conquered. Northern Japan was more of a winter wonder land. After a few rounds up and down the mountain we went to a ski lodge to chow on lunch. Various types of dishes like ramen were at our disposal and everyone slurped up their portions. It was a nice break in the day. Everyone was friendly and happy (who wouldn’t be at a ski resort?). Kids ran around everywhere. Groups of them followed their instructors or parents around like little ducklings learning to fly (well, not fly but ski if you know what I mean). Back on the mountain I watched a line of them go down the hills one by one following each other in zig zag lines on the paths. The group agreed to move on to the next, more challenging mountain and hopped in the car. 5 minutes after we were back to skiing and snowboarding. Black diamonds dominated this mountain. The easier paths are green, then red, and black diamonds being the most difficult and steep of them all. Black diamonds give you the sensation that you are falling off a cliff. It took every ounce of technique and power to make it down. Only the Captan and I were on skiis. Nowadays people snowboard more than ski. Eventually, snowboarding will go out of popularity and skiing should take over..at least I hope! Our group had too many people, therefore we split apart unknowingly. 5 of us, including myself, mostly stayed together while random people from the group would show up and disappear on the mountain. The 5 of us stopped at the lodge because the others wanted to go back to the other mountain. Many people from our group were missing still, moreover we could not leave until they were found. About 45 minutes passed before the last person came to meet with us and the ski resort was about to close. Luckily, 2 guys and I really wanted to continue despite the time crunch. We left for the other mountain and slid down the hill about 3 times before the ski lifts shut down. It wasn’t much but just enough for me! The goup hung out at the ski lodge and lazily milled about. An ice cream machine was nearby and we indulged a bit. Japan also had a beverage machine with little cans of hot chocolate that would actually come out warm! During the 2 hours ride back home the guys couldn’t stop gossiping about people at work. It almost felt like I was in a soap opera. Once again at the BX I hopped out of the car and ran to the bathroom. I had been holding it the whole time! The snow gear slowed me down expedientially and standing in front of the toilet without being about to just get your business done is taunting and cruel. After I got dropped off I met with Wick from the surgery clinic. We explored Misawa; particularly the bars.spirytus rektyfikowany, and dekuyper butterscotch liquor and lit it on fire. He sprinkled cinnamon on it causing little fire works to fire off over it. To eliminate the hazard the bar tender blew it out before we quickly drank it down. The shot was smooth and left a burning sensation in my throat. It was like drinking a very defined flavor of liquid cinnamon tinted pumpkin pie. Nearby was a Hawaiian restaurant. I bought a strawberry margarita with salt on the rim and Wick got a Fuzzy Navel. My drink was ok, but I liked Wick’s better. Many people from the hospital were out because everyone was invited to a going away party for a girl named Devan. We walked into the bar where she was standing near the bartender with the rest of the people. Wick had this terrible idea of introducing us. I’ve seen her before from afar, on the other hand it was another thing to just go up to her and say hello. He dragged me before her and I stood there stalk still not knowing what to say. My mouth was gapping for a few seconds while I tried to collect myself and spit out “hello, nice to meet and and have a great trip.” It had been a while since I have embarrassed myself to this degree and this one took the cake. Over in the corner a game of Jenga was in full swing and I joined in. Many people around me introduced themselves (people who worked at the hospital) and I can’t say I remember half of them. I am better with faces rather than remembering names. It was getting late and curfew was near. People wandered back on base. I was getting super tired, so I went to bed and fell asleep instantly.