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Everything posted by IM

  1. Ochanomizu is Akihabara of ski/board shops. The big ones are Victoria and Minami Sports and lots of small discount shops in back streets and alleys. The train station is on Chuo/Sobu line that straches between Shinjuku and Kanda. Plan on spending half a day exploring the area. Have fun.
  2. I don't know if there are shuttles between resorts around Hakuba area. If you don't have a car, it would make it hard. I know Niseko has busses between resorts (Hirafu-Higashi Yama - Annupuri) although they are all connected at the top.
  3. Also, Shiga Kogen, a bit closer from Tokyo. This conglamorate of ski resorts is as big as it comes and you can take the shuttle busses between them. Also higher altitude makes it a more chance of better snow in the early season. Like Nozawa, Shiga also has a lot of onsen. Save Sushi for Tokyo.
  4. On my wat to Tokyo Motor Show, I saw SAWWS is being taken down, half of the ceiling is gone now. An era has ended.
  5. Danz, There are a couple of way to get there by ferry. 1. Ooarai - Muroran As Snowflakes said Muroran - Niseko is a trip. 2. Niigata - Tomakomai Of course Tokyo - Niigata is a trip, but the ship was very nice equipped with Jacuzzi. The fare is not counting a car - look into JTB time table book for the current rate, it is not cheap.
  6. My plan is to fly out 12/19 nite for two weeks. Before Christmas is always good.
  7. NoFakie, I don't know where you live, but you can order the spare wires from places like ICI Ishii Sports, Yamato Ya, Rappy (in Hakuba) or any mounteneering shops. Since Black Diamond do not sell this type any more, suggest to get a several spares. There are lefts and rights-watch out. I usually carry the entire back end so that I don't have to disassemble the bidings in the snow. Good luck.
  8. NoFalie, Volant skis are very tricky to replace bindings after some holes being drilled. When my plate came off of the Cuhb, I had to thow away the skis. If you have a riser plate, it is easier but make sure to use epoxy to have a good bonding between the bindings and the plastic plates.
  9. NoFakie, Welcome to the origin of the snow sports! Yes, you did get a great deal. A pair of T1 brand new is close to 5man. Volant skis were never discounted. Chili is a proven workhorse bindings - but watch out for the wire snap near the pivot point. If you see an even a smallest break in wire, it will unravel in matter of hours. When I first started to tele, I had a pair of PKs and they are the easiest skis to lean tele in powder.
  10. Braveheart, There are many rental shops in Niseko (assuming Hirafu) and most of the shops do have good selction of boot sizes. But if you are worried about they may not have size for huge feet, then bring at least your boots.
  11. More info. Air Do is running 10000 one way campagin, but I don't think they have English site. You may need to get some of your J friends to make the reservation. http://www.airdo21.com/index.shtml
  12. The standard one way fare between Tokyo and Sapporo is 28000, busy season 30000. Air Do has s lightly chaaper fares (23000, 25000). I am pretty sure that the first part of December is still considered a normal fare period. 1. ana.co.jp lists cheap deals. 2. You can use miles with respective mileage club partner members (ANA is a part of Star Alliance). 3. From Sapporo to Niseko, bus fare is 2500 o/w. 4. Package deal is the most cost effective if timing matches.
  13. This may be an old news, but in the Arai HP, there was a blurb on looking for the winter staff.
  14. For 5 days, you pretty much have to spend a day to get there and another to get back especially if you are to buy a package deal on both locations. Both places do offer good set of runs with good snow, and about equally expensive. I think there are two things those places are distinctively different. Niseko would be busier than Hakuba and Hakuba night life is pretty much dead (assuming you meant Niseko as Hirafu).
  15. There are a few mountaineering insurance available and sometimes you can get a cheaper rate, if you apply through some ski club, or mounteneeing clubs. Mine suppliments what I already have through my company, with up to JPY 4mil on rescue.
  16. Ahh... the news of dusting of snow at different peaks now a days... exciting. But I still have to carve out a pumpkin, before hitting the hills. Japan Adventures seems to host a number of packaged tours at very reasonable price and they are English speaker friendly, too. http://www.japan-adventures.com/current-activities.html
  17. I don't know if this applies, but there is a cheap accom. in Kutchan. It was advertised as 2500/nite.
  18. As Neversummer puts it, further you go, costs more on transportation. Hokkaido being the most expensive (you have to fly, then take a bus) and Niigata the cheapest. Accomodation is about the same for all regions JPY7000 and up w/ two meals and Hokkaido lift tickets being the most expensive. My personal opinion is if for a week or more, I recommend either Hakuba or Hokkaido. They offer more in "value" than just money it costs.
  19. Sharpedge, If you are around Tokyo, Ochanomizu sitll have shops open year around for last seson's stuff. No gurantee on selection, but if you have time, take a peak down there.
  20. Anyone had experience on those? They were sold in US about $35 ea. (after a rebate) and has 1W output power to carry for 5 miles (9km). Look kinda toyish, and I believe those are illegal in Japan(freq. it uses). But hey, you will not hear the stupid trucker conversations. They seem to be very popular in North America.
  21. Not yet, hoping to go to Gassan somtime in June/July whenever I return to J from US.
  22. Im 43 and pulling over 50 days/season and my dad is 79 and still doing about 20. I hope I would beat him when Im at his age.
  23. I have used my Sony Handy Cam for 5 years, and it finally broke (Tele/wide swith no longer works). I used it only with a soft case, and just hang around my neck. When I filmed it, took it out the case and shot without any cover. Two problems: 1. condensation while wearing it, and in a cafe. at lunch time. But the camera lasted 5 years. 2. Batt. life. I put hot pads over the battery, it worked OK. I use the new one the same way, but this time, I made a case with insulation (you know the sivery kind at 100 yen shop) so that the heat from the hot pad will be trapped inside.
  24. New year is good, but a lot of people. Also any long weekend in Jan Feb are crowded. But I really like the Pre new year timing 12/25~ 29. Good snow, less people, much more relaxed.
  25. US: Supercuts $12 + $3tip = bad hair cut Japan: Local barber $15 = decent hair cut Now: my own clipper $0 = no hair Being a male, I can still find a decent local shop that does that for you around 1500~1700Yen. The salon that is part of some price fixing association charges 3000 minimun. There are 1000 yen shops in West Shinjuku, between station and Keio Plaza.
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