The grimace says it all. It’s the kind of face I imagine doctors pull right before they tell you your leg is irretrievably infected and they’re going to have to amputate. This might sound like an overreaction but after flying all the way from London to Hokkaido, via a connection in Helsinki, the thought that maybe we’ve travelled this far for nothing is a tough one to take.
“Snow, not good. Snow, very bad,” our guide tells us, on the coach from New Chitose Airport near Sapporo, “It’s normally much, much, higher.”
“The kind of face I imagine doctors pull right before they tell you your leg is irretrievably infected and they’re going to have to amputate”
We all try to palm it off, and stay stoked on the fact we’re literally in Japan and that literally being in Japan is an undeniably cool thing. But as we roll on up to Rusutsu, our first destination of the trip, there’s no denying the sense that some of the pre-trip buzz has been deflated somewhat. It’s still there but it’s now splashing about in a ramen bowl of lurking disappointment; trying desperately to stay afloat on nothing but desperate, desperate, hope.
If all this is coming across like a childish, spoilt-brat type, response to being lucky enough to be invited to visit Japan’s most northerly island I’ll try to defend myself by saying that for skiers and snowboarders today legendary tales of Japanese powder (aka “Japow”) are part and parcel of winter sports’ mythology; as awesomely real, and yet simultaneously unreachable, as the dragons and knights that made up the nursery rhymes of your childhood.