This year, I asked to go with my ichinensei on their skiing trip to Myoko in Niigata. This is a trip that most of the middle schools in Fujioka take, so I had seen and heard how fun it was at my last two schools, and was finally ready to go with the kids and experience it myself! I’m glad I waited, because my current ichinensei are my favorite group, and I don’t think it would have been as fun if I had gone with anyone else!

The trip would last three days, leaving early on Wednesday, all day Thursday, and getting back Friday afternoon. The drive to Myoko was about two hours, so this gave us plenty of time for all sorts of fun activities!

Wednesday morning dawned very bright and early! Kenji was nice enough to drive me to school since I was bringing my snowboard and couldn’t bike with it, and we got the kids settled and loaded onto the buses, then headed out with most of the teachers there to see us off!

The bus ride. Entertainment on the way there included bingo and terrible comedy stories the kids came up with!

Arriving and handing out the skiing clothes most of the kids were renting.

Then lunch! This is a view of the mountain out the window. The snow is RIDICULOUS this year!

Then back on the bus to get to the first skiing lessons, and a meeting to introduce the instructors.

After that the groups split up to begin their lessons. The kids were generally split into “have done this before” and “have never done this before” with the teachers either watching and helping, or off on their own.

Oguma-sensei, my awesome JTE, the Myoko Gondola, and mostly nice weather!

I decided not to go off with the other teachers, and instead concentrate on taking pictures and videos of the kids while they were learning. (Click last image for video)


The two hours passed quickly, and then we headed back for a brief meeting and then dinner. After dinner, baths, and bed for the kids and a meeting for the teachers *yawn*

The next day after cleaning and breakfast we headed back to the same area for a full day of skiing. But first, sunrise! *yawn*

All the kids headed up the gondola to see the view and take pictures, then the ones who were still iffy headed back down to the easier areas, while the more advanced groups stayed to tackle the harder runs. I attached onto some teachers and we spent most of the rest of the day enjoying ourselves.

You could see Mt. Fuji, but my camera couldn’t catch it. (It’s right… there! Yeah, there, that vaguely mountain shaped blob to the right!) And a fun snow sculpture of an anime character, at the top of the mountain. Random.

Snow drifts on the bus ride home. Keep in mind we’re in one of those giant buses. These drifts are ridiculous! (Click for video)

After dinner, the kids had games. One was “how many people can you fit on a newspaper”, which was hilarious!

The next was some sort of amoeba game which I didn’t understand completely, and last was a jump rope competition. Then off to bath and bed and, of course, a teachers meeting!

The next morning we got up and cleaned up and packed up, then brought everything to the room with the amazing icicles.

I took waaaay too many icicle pictures!

Then off to breakfast, where we found out it was snowing for the first time since we had arrived! Luckily it tapered off before we went out for the other activities!

I attached myself to a group of girls and stuck with them, so first up for us was tubing. Whee! (Click the last image for video)


Then snowshoes which soon lead to burying people in the snow.

Last was walking skis, which are slightly different from regular skis. Falling seemed for most girls the only way to stop, so there was a lot of screaming going on!

This amazing cabin? House?’s roof.

Last was lunch, then we packed up and headed home. Kenji picked me up, and then I relaxed my sore muscles and enjoyed a bit of peace and quiet that weekend!