A Walk in the Snow

Some people do their thinking in the shower. Some in the other bathroom. Me? It seems I get most of my brainstorming done on the streets. More specifically, when I’m out walking, trying to get from A to B.

A walk in the snowI, like anyone else have many places to go but I tend to get there not by public transport (which costs money!) but often on my own two legs. The biggest advantage that comes about from this thrifty mode of transport is the time it affords me to think. Of course I could do this thinking in the comfort of my own home but as I’ve mentioned before, I tend to get distracted by the computer and the internet while I’m at home. I need to get out of the house and away from my computer in order to get productive.

So why walk? Well, again it’s about those nasty distractions. When I take a bus or a train somewhere I usually use the opportunity to tune out completely from the task of navigation and read a book. When I’m riding a bike or driving a car I definitely don’t have the chance to tune out like that and reading and daydreaming are out of the question. When I’m walking, however, I can generally set my legs to autopilot to get to where I’m going. Assuming I stick to my lane and the cars stick to theirs, then it’s pretty safe to start mulling over plots, fleshing out characters and in general, the work fantasy, fantasizing.

So, like tonight, when I’m faced with a choice between taking the bus home from the supermarket or walking home with my grocery bags for half an hour through the snow, often I’ll be walking home, hard at work dreaming.

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In the Snow Country

Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side of the fence and sometimes it’s fine just where you are. More than fine in fact.

I’m currently wintering in snowy Hakuba, Japan, a ski resort village chock full of Aussies. While that in itself is not the best thing for trying to immerse oneself in Japanese culture, it does provide me with a way to make a living and thus able to spend the season honing my snowboarding skills.

When I originally found out that I would be able to extend my visa and thus have plenty of time to spend 3 months of it in a resort town I was excited by the opportunities. I wanted to head to Hakuba as it was a place my friends had been to before and loved. As luck would have it a friend I had met earlier in the year in Nara had an acquaintance who was a manager of one of the hotels in town and there appeared to be work available. It’s good to have connections.

After multiple attempts to get details and confirmation of the job, however, the hotel manager seemed too busy to talk to me and that prospect fell through. I may have missed some vital communication due to the language barrier but I felt like I was being strung along a bit. I decided not to wait any longer hanging my hopes on that job and went back to the internet to attempt to find a job on the ski slopes. That proved to be quite troublesome as all the resort jobs were listed in Japanese and the task of translation was more than a little daunting.

In the end I found an older job advertisement for work in a ski rental shop. I filled out the forms and fired off my resume with photo in hope they were still hiring. One phone interview later I was offered a job and my winter prospects had gone from uncertain to great. I had originally come to Japan to experience its four seasons and what better way to appreciate the winter than in the snow country.

I feel truly fortunate that I’m working in the rental shop. Not only do I get the chance to learn about all the different nuances of ski and snowboarding gear, I pretty much get to take that gear out and try it out on the mountain, every day if I really want to. When I ride the chairlifts and see the workers sitting in their little operator huts or standing in the wind and snow keeping the snow clear of the chairs, I think to myself how lucky I am to be able to work in a nice and warm shop only 5 minutes walk to the chair lift. Life is good.

During the season I got a chance to assist a hotel that was short-staffed for one day. My job involved cleaning the small bathrooms each room had on one of the floors. While it was a new experience for me and even a little enlightening, it certainly wasn’t as fun or as profitable ideas-wise for me as my ski rental job. Had I gotten that first hotel job I would have never have learned all that I have about snowboarding and skis. Hotel work is hard and a little boring I think. Whew, dodged a bullet there.

When things fall through in the first place sometimes they really can end up working out for the better. You just gotta keep riding it out till the end.

Living the dream.

A Memory To Look Forward To

It’s almost been 3 months since my last post and I have been to so many places, seen so many sights and done so many things. I’d like to say I’ve been so busy that I’ve not had time for blogging but that would be a lie. So what does it take to get me to stop watching One Piece and to log on to blog.

A MEMORY OF LIGHT

Living in Japan means I’m a bit removed from English books, libraries and bookstores so I’m a bit out of the loop but I received an email saying that the ultimate book in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series is finally out. It was released a few days ago and by the time I am typing this, no doubt many people have already finished reading the final book. I’m sure some of those people finished in one night in fact.

Still, as I said, I am currently in Japan, and not even in one of the larger cities where I can go to a Kinokuniya to pick up a copy of the book. Hakuba does not even have a Daiso. So I guess I’ll have to wait until the winter is over and I move back to the big smoke. Ooh but I liked the previous book. I’m sure looking forward to seeing how my favourite author, Brandon Sanderson wraps up this legendary series.

For now I’ll just have to be happy with OneĀ  Piece.