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Japan Journal Day 6: Stranded in Myoko-Kogen

Good news: I saw snow for the first time. Bad news: I'm starting not to like it as much.

Because I'm on a coffee ban, I settled for vegetable juice in a carton. You might think it tastes horrible, but it was actually really good. That's a dorayaki with chestnut in the middle. Honestly, it tastes like pancakes with red bean filling. To top it off, I rested well for the night and started my morning before the alarm clock. Also, I was watching Doraemon on the hotel TV while eating breakfast. Not a bad start.

I spoke too soon. We ended up running for a train. The Shinkansen no less. After that, we ended up skipping lunch, hopping from one line to another. We had to take three train lines in total to end up at Myoko.

So there were several types of seating on the trains that my brother and I were confused about. We were briefly separated on the bullet train as he booked me a seat with extra baggage. I ended up sitting with families that had kids because they stored their baby strollers behind these seats. It was pretty awkward for me, but thankfully, I kept in touch with my brother using the free wifi on the Shinkansen.

Just look at how fast this went!

The first snow that I saw in my life! It was exciting, but I also wished there was more. As we proceeded closer to Myoko, the snow started to accumulate and thicken. Yet, it was more rainy than snowy.

You can see how wet the ground is from the rain and some smaller piles of snow.

There is literally only one bus service in this town. I highly recommend not booking hotels without a chauffeur and transfer service from the train station because even taxis are rare here.

Beginning of my horror story in Myoko:

Due to the cold and rain, we had no other choice but to run to the nearest information centre for bus details since my brother didn't understand what Google Maps was saying. The only bus service in town comes around only once every hour.

After asking many questions, including finding out that the nearest convenience store was 15 minutes away, my brother had the dumbest idea to walk there in the rain at five degrees while dragging my luggage along.

Me not thinking right and depending on him to help me out followed his dumbass and horrible ego that prevented him from making sound decisions. We found a random supermarket about five minutes away and stopped there, but he refused to buy anything from it, saying we were not at a convenience store.

Right at this point, I had alarm bells of red flags ringing in my head. Why not? It made perfect sense not to suffer for the sake of being stupid. But as always, I let other people walk all over my opinions. However, halfway through that, I got sulky because I felt a headache and fever from the chills. It was so unnecessary!

Eventually, it took me screaming at him for him to give up his search for the fucking convenience store and turn back in the rain. I had to stop by that same supermarket of sorts to buy whatever shit I could get, then walk back in the rain to the information centre and back to the train station only to see the city's only bus service leaving.

Stuck in the rain and sick without anyone to contact because the hotel owner of Chalet Myoko couldn't be contacted and was of no help. I just sat on the bench, trying not to kill myself or my brother or both of us. I gave up. He upped and left to visit the washroom and buy a drink to show his twisted version of care for me, but it was too late. He's so fucked up, and I'm so done by this point. He said he was going to drop my ass there and then cause he felt like I was the burden here.

Please, do not date my brother. Just let him be single and miserable for the rest of his life until his DNA becomes extinct.

In any case, the desperate me used all my brain cells to talk to Japanese people regardless of who they were. Any and every bus that arrived at the stop to pick up other passengers to their respective hotels, I asked if I could hitch a ride.

Eventually, our saviour appeared. He was Michael, the owner of the Myoko Mountain Lodge. He was there to pick up his guests from the station, and the pain in his eyes when he looked at us, who told him we were guests from his neighbour next door, made me want to cry.

Michael was a nice person. He went out of his way to show us kindness and hospitality that not even the owner of Chalet Myoko had. I haven't met the man from Chalet Myoko, but the hardships we had to go through just to get to his inn have already made me uncertain about the rest of our stay.

After hearing that we were staying at Chalet Myoko for two nights, Michael offered us a room at his place if we didn't want to stay at his rival's inn. Unfortunately, the reservation from had my brother's card as ransom and would deduct the stay's amount anyway, even if we didn't show. So we had to decline Michael's goodwill.

However, the sweet man didn't stop there. He offered to give us a lift to town for dinner if we hadn't found a way to settle it and if the boss of Chalet Myoko wouldn't help us. Hence, we set an appointment with him at 6 pm. True to his word, Michael was there at 6 pm with umbrellas, neon jackets and headlamps for us to use. As he drove us to town, Michael cautioned us as much as possible against walking near the side of the main road due to the snow. There are very few street lamps, and it gets dark very quickly, so after leaving helpful advice, he wished us a great evening.

Michael's inn! The facilities and service are great, and the pricing is comparable to Chalet Myoko. I'd suggest booking at his lodge first if there are vacancies.

End of my horror story in Myoko.

The path wasn't shovelled or swept, so there was snow and leaves, making it slippery to walk on.

This is the interior of Chalet Myoko, not the best we've been to. Probably the least clean among Japanese standards for what an Inn should be like. It is two stars, so I'm not going to judge much. Moreover, it is the New Year which means we paid about SGD190 per night here.

This is our room, it has heating without a temperature remote control, but it served its purpose.

The bathroom is upstairs in the attic. Kind of weird, and the bathroom lacked many things. Toothbrush and toothpaste aren't provided. The shower door won't close properly, and hot water takes a long time to be ready. The hair dryer is shared among other guests, so the owner had to locate that for us. He's a pretty laid-back Australian man, so he doesn't remember many things.

The attic had a mattress that's not cleaned. The blankets were dusty, and the floors weren't vacuumed. There are even insects and cobwebs in the corners. It is not the best-maintained room, but according to Michael from the Mountain Lodge next door, all the staff from Chalet Myoko walked out last year. I don't know how much of it is true or what the deal is between them, but for now, I'll be happy to just sleep without someone snoring.

Simple shower, no bathtubs.

The view outside the window. Here, my brother mentioned how piled-up snow resembles ice-kaching or bingsu. He's not wrong. It's basically crushed ice.

I was free to explore this area, so I found the washing machine and dryer. The owner himself is a skier, so there is aroom for his personal skiing equipment that I accidentally stumbled into.

Nobody was at the counter, and from the state of how it looks, you could guess the owner's personality.

This is the view from the main living area that guests like to hang out in and chat. My brother and I decided to have nothing to do with them, so we holed ourselves in the room.

After explaining to the owner that I'd emailed them and contacted them on about skiing arrangements that he did not receive or know about, he drove us to the ski school, and we sorted out all the rental equipment today with a booking of 1 beginner lesson for 3 hours tomorrow. The total cost rang up to 64,000 JPY for my brother and I. It was very expensive, but I think we'll only be skiing once. This cost excludes the ski goggles and gloves we bought from a convenience store at dinner separately.

In the small town, we found a neat little diner with many anime-themed posters. I guess we're not the only anime lovers. Due to the many groups of tourists that booked out most of the other tables, we shared a table with another older gentleman for the meal beside these two ladies.

If you can't read Japanese, they have pictures and English translations on the menu beside the ticket kiosk.

My brother loves anything with a machine because it means he doesn't have to deal with people. Honestly, he should start getting used to socialising with others professionally more to become a better human.

They have special birthday arrangements too!

Pork cutlet curry for my brother.

Omurice for me! I wanted to try this for a while now.

After that, it was an icy walk back to Chalet Myoko for us. We'd likely take Michael up on his offer to stay at Myoko Mountain Lodge the next time we visit! For now, I have a headache and need to check on onsen arrangements because we missed that completely back in Tokyo thanks to someone's snoring, causing my health to decline rapidly.

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