First day of skiing

I wasn’t sure what to expect for our first Japanese breakfast this morning given the Japanese breakfast option on the plane was fish. Luckily the Japanese buffet style breakfast had a bit of all to offer even though some of the things we know for breakfast were still a little different. After a big meal it was off to hit the slopes for the first time, but first we had to organise some ski’s, poles and lift tickets. Luckily it was a bit easier than our enquires the day before as the attendant had some basic english skills. Once that was sorted, it was off to check out the mountain. We caught the gondola up to the mid station, and decided to play on some of the runs around this area making use of the smaller chair lifts. The first thing we noticed was the terrible visibility through the falling snow, fog and cloud, and not knowing the mountain or being able to read the Japanese signage made it quite scary not knowing whether that next right turn is going to put you on one of their steepest black runs which would likely put me (as a beginner) in the hospital (some of these runs can be seen in photos). After stopping mid slope to consult the map, which basically turned out to be useless still when you can’t see where your going and you don’t know where you are, I ended up resorting to ask a passing Japanese guy who had no idea what I was trying to say. In the end pointing down the slope with the word “easy” got my question across and resulted in a reassuring “yes”. Proceeded slowly and cautiously, we eventually found ourselves back at the chairlift. Not being game enough to try anywhere else, we simply did the same loop a few times. As time went by, visibility decreased even more, however it was not until I decided to take my goggles off for a minute that I found my goggles were half of my problem. The lenses were lightly fogged, and the chrome tint on them was blocking quite a lot of light. After persisting with them I got to the point that I could not see any more than 10 metres in front of me, and it was not possible to ski without them through the sideways falling snow, so I decided to call it quits and go back to find my spare goggles (with different lens) to give them a go. I caught the gondola back down and headed back into the ski shop to leave my gear there while I returned to the hotel (something which the guy this morning had said we could do). Well the problem now was that he wasn’t there any more, and the guys in the shop had no idea what I was trying to achieve. Between a lot of head shaking and continually writing 8:45pm on a piece of paper which was the time at which the gear is due back if it were rented for one day, another customer finally decided to help me with his extremely limited english. It took quite an effort to communicate, and even then we still only got to the point where they were going to let me leave the gear there but were not expecting me back until the next day. Given the difficulty in getting to this point and not going to be able to get back to meet Denise and Scott at our predetermined time, I decided it was now time to call it quits for the day and start fresh again tomorrow.