Thursday, March 10, 2011

Yudanaka Snow Monkey Experience Part niban

It took me a few days to get back to this Nagano blog...I was catching up on the 100 loads of laundry that trip caused....

Anyway, after our fun snow monkey tour, our guide took us to a special session with a Nagano ninja. It was authentic--not a tourist thing. He's friends with this guy and he agreed to teach our boys a few tricks.
He had his own son and a student help out.
There were real swords.
And some one-peg geta to practice balance.

They practiced ducking this real sword.

They practiced playing with these sticks.

"Mommy? Can we get a stick when we get home?"
They practiced defending against attacks. This one's called "breaking your bamboo." It made Max squeal like a.....little pig ninja.
At the end, Max got strapped into this real samurai armor.

It's kind of hard to top that, but we also stopped by the small art town of Obuse, where the artist Hokusai once lived and worked. This street is made of pieces of chestnut tree:

Chestnut snacks: (I can't get this to stop underlining....sorry).
Giant sake barrels:

This is what Hokusai's work looks like upside down.

Later, we went out for chanko nabe. Loved the sumo decor.
Every time I've had chanko nabe, it has been completely different. And I gain at least one kilo each time.
After dinner, we got into yukata...
And got ready to go outside to one of the super hot, super old fashioned public onsen in yudanaka. The highlight for me was getting to wear geta on the way. These make a tremendous noise when you walk around on the pavement.
It was below freezing outside.
But the bath was nice and warm. Okay, hot.
Finally, on Monday morning we woke up to fresh snow! We went to a local ski slope. They let you go sledding there for free!

If you want to take this lift, it's 300 yen to the top of the bunny hill. We each did that once.

The boys got into a snowball fight with a bunch of college kids from Osaka.
They were beat.
But did you know you can buy warm cocoa in a can here?
After lunch, we got back on the trains home. Here's one of our ekiben: (Train bento)

Yep. Never gonna get tired of Japanese train travel.
Bye bye, Nagano ken....


  1. Amazing, amazing, amazing. And that's just describing how I feel about the train bento box. I'm speechless about everything else. So fun!

  2. Hope everything is OK with everyone over there.