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The Inner Workings

Insight = Intimacy

Jun Ting Chau



December 31st, 2015

"Christmas" message

Yup, another year another year another late Christmas message... More like New Year's message now. Oh well, here it is:

I can't believe another year is about to pass us by. It's kinda concerning. They say that time flies when you're having fun or as you get older.... Let's just say I'm having a lot of fun!

I'm pretty sure I say this every year but at the beginning I always wonder how I'm going to top the year before. I have been incredibly blessed these last 5 or so years with things getting better year after year after year. Maybe it's that I'm easily satisfied but somehow I have managed to keep the ball rolling this year. Lots of milestones this year made it a year that I will not soon forget.

I think the one that firstly sticks out in my mind is finishing uni. It's definitely bittersweet. Uni's been a hard slog, especially that last semester, but it has also provided me with the time to do my other endeavours & allowed me to meet an amazing bunch of smart, talented, funny now-physios. McPhys 1.0 is going to have an amazing impact on the world of physiotherapy! I can't wait to see what everyone does with themselves in the industry.

With finishing uni naturally came work as a physio. It may be one of those things where the shine wears off but I still get excited when I fill out forms & I can now put "physiotherapist" down instead of "student" or not being able to fit "snowsports instructor" into the allotted boxes. The first time I did that for my first official job as a physiotherapist was going over to South Korea with a bunch of 12/13 year old football players. What a trip that was.

Then came the locum position in Bairnsdale. I have learnt so much there & was so lucky to be part of such an amazing team. It was definitely a great work culture where morning teas were treated with the utmost respect haha! As my first full-time job as a physio, it's amazing how quickly you learn the areas that you're comfortable with & the ones that you're not. Definitely makes me appreciate the value of other people's expertise & professional development opportunities! Now I know it may be a cliche but it was great to know that you were making a difference in people's lives. And another amazing thing to come out of working in regional Victoria was the opportunity to explore the East Gippsland area. I can see why it's a holiday destination for many people. A big thank you goes out to the great people I got to meet & hang out with. Thanks for making my time there so much fun.

As always, family is the foundations for everything. Although still probably not any more time than the previous years has been spent with my immediate family, I was lucky enough to spend more time with my extended family abroad. Visiting the USA was a highlight but my cousin's wedding can be a highlight in itself! So much fun. We really don't get to see each other often enough but that is the unfortunate tyranny of distance. Lucky that means that when we do, it means travel & excitement!

Next year is sure to be no less exciting although I am anticipating having to be more "grown up" & travelling less. I don't know how I got so lucky but I was able to get allocated The Children's Hospital at Westmead for my grad year so although it means giving up one dream job of teaching snowsports, it's moving onto another with working in paediatric physiotherapy! I am dreading the day that this string of luck runs out but until then, I'm happy to just enjoy the moment & take it for all its worth!

I've definitely already got a few resolutions in mind for 2016 but more on that in my New Years post

As I spend another Christmas/New Year in the beautiful village of Nozawa Onsen it just makes me feel very grateful for all the opportunities & everyone in my life. I hope everyone appreciates what they have & has an amazing holiday period spent with friends & family.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year...


September 6th, 2015

New Chapter

Revival time!

Been lazy on the entries big time but seeing as I've made a move, this is probably the easiest channel to update family & friends & process the happenings of my new life.

What a crazy few months it's been! Absolutely non-stop. So there was finishing uni. Such a long semester, such a hard slog but looking back it was definitely very rewarding. Final placement was at the Children's Hospital at Westmead & I loved it so much. It's where I want to end up for sure! So fingers crossed that I can get back there through allocation! Research was the other part & my final presentation was a bit of a disaster but more on that a bit later.

Had another few weeks working down at the snow before heading over to the USA, which was pretty awesome. Our family headed over for my cousin's wedding & while over there I thought I'd take advantage of the time off to travel a bit wider as each time I've been, it's only ever been LA & Vegas. In addition, this time I hit up Seattle, Portland & San Francisco as well.

Upon returning to Australia, I had a weekend before having to present at the Australasian Cystic Fibrosis Conference. It was basically a modified & refined version of my uni presentation but it went infinitely better & it felt so great. My supervisor at the end was like "why didn't you just do that at your uni presentation?". Haha... It was seriously a hard slog & a bucket load of stress to get it to that stage so I'm so happy & relieved it came off.

Two days later I was off to South Korea for sports coverage work with the under 13s Football NSW Institute team at a tournament. Didn't even know this trip was on the cards till I was a week into my USA trip but it's all about taking whatever opportunities came up... that's unemployment. Really funny boys & I had a great time.

So now, a week after I got back from South Korea, I'm in Bairnsdale (Victoria). scored a locum position at this regional hospital which will take me up until mid December. If all goes well with allocation, it'll also mean that I can squeeze in a month & a bit back in Nozawa... one last hurrah!

So there you have it... all up to speed on the latest events.

But yes, starting work tomorrow. Super excited & super nervous. Hope it all goes smoothly!

April 24th, 2015

Forward Planning

Wow, I've really dropped the ball with my blog. Meh.... that's alright. But true to form, whenever it gets busy at uni is when I return haha! I've yet to do a season wrap up of my time in Nozawa but considering the season is still officially going I'll leave that for later.

As some of you know, I actually (finally) finish up uni this year... this semester in fact! So it's definitely something that's been in the front of my mind: what's gonna happen after? The answer really is that I'm not sure. Get a "real job" one would assume. But you know what they say about assuming :P Anyway, I've gone as far as planning 6 weeks after my last exam & none of it has anything to do with physio work haha! I feel it's slightly too early to apply for jobs but I've started to look around & put some feelers out.

Anyway, onto these plans: After the last assessment comes our graduation ball. That should be fun. The day after, I'll be heading back down to Perisher to work a bit. Those that know me know I waste no time to fit in snow time! So I'll be working for 3 weeks before heading over to the USA. My cousin's getting married in LA so it's going to be a great to be able to catch up with family from around the world. And I thought while I'm over there, I may as well travel a bit. So I'll be spending 3 weeks travelling around America. I'm actually pretty excited about it. It's definitely a step out of my travels within Asia so it'll be completely different. Last time I was over there I was 18, so not even old enough to drink haha!

Haven't done much planning yet but clearly I'll be starting off in LA. Las Vegas is on the list, for Cirque purposes clearly. Other than that I've been told San Francisco, Seattle, San Antonio, New Orleans & New York. I'm actually not sure how much ground I can cover in 3 weeks... I really don't have a sense of scale of the US like I do for Asia. Does anyone have any other suggestions or tips for travelling the US?

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So that's my detailed 6 weeks post uni plan. After that, it becomes a little more vague. Another reason I decided to travel was because our physio registration allowing us to work doesn't come through until mid-late August anyway so I wouldn't be able to work as a physio officially anyway. The only other thing I have in consideration at the moment is the graduate program in some NSW hospitals known as allocation. I'm really keen to do this as you get lots of good experience within the public hospital system & it's a year contract. But that doesn't start until February & gets all confirmed late in the November before. So methinks that I'll work some locum/casual/part-time contracts in the meantime & if I get allocation, I may be able to head back to Japan for a month & a half before the contract starts. Just putting it out there.....

Any way you look at it, there are big changes & lots of uncertainty ahead. I'll just ride it out the best I can :)

December 27th, 2014

Christmas Message

So this is now the 2nd year in a row my Christmas post has been late. Apologies but I thought I finally had a Christmas day off for the first time in 4 years but then people booked in for lessons last minute so I didn't have the chance to write.

This year has gone by so quick! It's ridiculous... no seriously. I feel like it was just not too long ago that I was sitting down to recap 2013. Is this a sign that I'm getting old?! It has honestly been a crazy year. Some very fulfilling moments but at the same time lots of very frustrating ones too!

So what's been new this year? First thing that comes to mind is definitely starting aerials. It's been so much fun but also such a challenge. As many of you know, I've been a huge Cirque fan for many years & to actually do aerials gives me a seriously new appreciation for the artists. They make it look so easy but it is so tough! One trick is hard enough let alone trying to string a few together.... so tiring! It's been also nice to meet different people too. I feel like circus arts brings together quite an eclectic mix of people. It's great! Contortion has also remained a constant & I really wanna start making more progress in that.

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Uni has been the most predominant thing of the year. And it's been two hard slog semesters, more from an organisational point of view rather than content. It's just been so tough to get into any sort of routine when there's been so many out of hours placements to do. But despite this, I'm still very grateful for the course & how well they're taking care of us. I realise that more & more as we move towards the end of it all. This past year has been great at showing us a different side of physiotherapy. Also feel totally chuffed getting noticed for some of my work. And definitely what has got me through these last two semesters are the amazing people I go to uni with. Such a vibrant group of people! One more semester & it's all over.... into the "real world". That's surely going to be a game changer in 2015

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And speaking of "real world", that potentially means that I've done my last seasons.... possibly ever? Scary thought. It's such a hard thing to walk away from. I guess it all depends on if I get a job or if I wait for allocation.... ah! Adult talk..... But I guess that's a big reason why I started working at In2ski, in preparation for when I enter the real world it'll be my connection to snowsports. I'm definitely gonna miss the travel & immersing myself in a different culture for an extended period of time.

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Of course snow has again played a vital role in 2014. I felt really at home going back to Jindabyne & had the most amazing housemates. I love them all dearly... well 7 out of 8 ain't bad :P Getting my ski certs may have been the biggest mistake of my life haha! No, but in all seriousness, it's a nice challenge to both improve my skiing & teaching it. Returning to Perisher is always nice but for the first time, I've returned to the same place for the northern winter. It's a pretty big deal for me as I was certain that was something I would never do. But Nozawa Onsen has a magical pull. Just too good not to come back! I had such an amazing season last time my only fear is that this one won't fill its shoes but if things continue as they have the last few weeks I have nothing to worry about! Ridiculous amounts of snow, fantastic crew..... I love my job :)

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Something that has been surprisingly absent from 2014 is Karate. I do miss it. Hopefully that will make a comeback in the new year.

I think I've done pretty well with my 2014 goals. Managed to stay major injury free, picked up an aerial apparatus, definitely getting better with my health & fitness.... I don't think I got the whole financial side of things though... that'll be for 2015 JT to figure out. I'm actually really looking forward to next year. Scared but excited. It gonna be very interesting, that's for sure. I'll have a post closer to new years about goals & all that.

And last but not least: my dear family, whom without their support I couldn't be life I'm living & doing what I'm doing now. Thank you for putting up with my absence over this holiday period that's meant to be spent with families for the last 4 years. I will endeavour to be with you guy for Christmas of 2015.

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And with that, another year has been & gone. I hope everyone is spending time with their loved ones & recuperating from all the festivities!


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December 2nd, 2014


Since I always roll from my exams into travel, it just always feels stressful pre-departure. That moment where the plane takes off is bliss! You've got the destination to look forward to & there's nothing you can do if you've forgot something so it's a big relieving breath out after what feels like holding your breath for a long time.

Currently in HK. It always feels good to be back here. There's something very nice about it. It's foreign but familiar, it's not home but it is, it's different but it's the same. I think best of all it gives me a bit of a buffer to wherever I'm heading next.

Just a random thought that I had today, I can totally see why some people in Australia choose to stay within their own racial community. There's something to be said for being the same, blending in & not having people make judgements upon you. It's subtle but it's there.

Some other random social commentary: I went passed one of the "occupy" sites here in Hong Kong. It is & will continue to be very interesting to see how this will all play out. I do definitely sense a fear in the older generations & rightly so... you are dealing with China afterall. If I may just add my little piece, I feel like their cause is worthy but it was definitely a mistep losing some of the public support. I truly hope they can continue on a non-violent path!

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So what's ahead? Catching up with family here, exploring Singapore, maybe another quick trip to Macau.... then it's Nozawa Onsen again for the season. Excited to catch up with all the returners & meet the newbies :)

October 30th, 2014


Despite the fact that my last few Cirque review could be read as cynical but most of you know that I am a huge fan & just wanna see them produce great shows like they did in their earlier years. Anyway, I was genuinely very excited for TOTEM. Since it premiered in 2010, in my mind it looked to be one of the stronger of the new generation shows, being strong both acrobatically & artistically.

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The lineup from last night was:

- Carapace (Bars & Trampoline)
- Hoop Dancer (A)
- Rings Trio
- Unicycles & Bowls
- Foot Juggling
- Handbalancing
- Duo Trapeze
- Manipulation
- Hoop Dancer (B)
- Roller Skates
- Russian Bars

This is the first time I've attended an opening night of a Cirque du Soleil show & I think it's a wonderful thing. There's so much excitement & energy. The audience ends up feeding off each other & of course this then washes over the artists. There wasn't an act where this was more evident than Unicycles & Bowls. The Chinese seem to be able to create acts that just keep escalating beyond belief. The gasps of disbelief from the audience just kept getting louder & louder. This was definitely the standout of the night.

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Other standout acts to me where the Rings Trio which I felt that the artists were having so much fun with & the Duo Trapeze. The original trapeze artists ushered in a new standard & style of static trapeze & these two trapeze artists that replaced them have carried on well (although I didn't find their acting as convincing). They did, however, provide me with my "holy sh*t that's ridiculous" moment with her doing a single knee hang on his heel. I like the ability of acts to change people's perceptions. When the Roller Skates artists came out, I definitely a few words of doubt around me but once they started, it soon shut them up.

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I really enjoyed the wide colour palette that TOTEM presented, from its costumes to its lighting design. Beautifully rich & varied. It's evident that in each act director Robert Lepage constructed a narrative that could make the act stand alone but which also contributed to the overarching theme of evolution & unity of all living things (that we are essentially all made of the same stuff). I also found that this show seemed to allow more of the artist's personalities to shine through rather than just being part of stone faced house troupe. The joyful & colourful finale reinforced these concepts of oneness in life.

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The centrepiece of the set was definitely what they call the "scorpion bridge". It's no Quidam "telepherique" but it is very well utilised & just a cool piece of tech. As I sat there looking at the set, I thought about past touring show sets of Cirque.Varekai's forest provided the context whereas TOTEM relied on pretty nifty interactive projections. The moments where the musicians stepped forward from behind the reeds are also really nice. I especially liked that they were brought to the forefront in the Manipulation act

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While I did enjoy the show immensely, there were a few weaknesses. First off is the lack of integration of the Handbalancing act. The costume was no where as intricate & didn't really match up with anyone else's or the overall theme. This has been an issue with Cirque lately, that they just plug in acts whether it fits with the show or not. The second is about the seating. It is claimed that all Cirque shows are designed to be appropriately viewed from all seating angles. I've sat in the side seats in other shows & from memory, there weren't too many issues but I felt like TOTEM had a few in that regard.The whole of the Foot Juggling you couldn't really see any of the passes to each other since from our view they were in line. That & dramatic tableaus were heavily front on. And just a little side not that I've heard the singers be stronger. Slight illness maybe?

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Overall, especially in light of the last three touring offerings presented here, TOTEM is a strong show that moves the Cirque brand back to its roots of quality touring productions. There were definitely a lot of moments where I was just sitting there & just couldn't stop smiling. It's playful, it's fun, it's TOTEM.

I'd give this a 4 out of 5.

October 13th, 2014

Season Wrap Up

With Perisher closing up for the season the week just past, I thought it'd be a suitable time to post about how my season went. It was an epic season for snow. People threw around terms like "best in decades" & whatnot. But it was certainly a good seasons for more reasons than that.

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It always feels somewhat like home heading back to Perisher & Jindabyne. And this year I thought even more so thanks to my amazing housemates. All so amazing & such fantastic human beings. I slept in a little nook in the lounge room floor & there was seriously nothing more homely than waking up to their voices & their hustling & bustling getting ready in the morning. I miss you all dearly!... well seven out of eight anyway haha! So much love <3

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Another thing that made the season more fun was the commutes down from Sydney with Ilsa. So much laughter & nonsense. It's a soul sucking drive but good times, discussions & sing-a-longs were had. Definitely appreciate our 90s pop jam :P

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Work was interesting. Quite different this year in the way that us snowboarders were organised compared to the previous seasons. I think it worked well for us kids instructors but I miss our snowboard morning meetings & the camaraderie that came with it. Interesting to witness how the kids meetings work although I still reckon we get left out of that for the most part... And I surprisingly didn't mind being on school groups during spring. It was actually really good to punch out 4 hours in the morning & have the rest of the day to either ride or head back into town & relax.

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Getting my ski certs was actually really fun. I really do miss training. There's something very satisfying about it. And while more relaxed this time round, I always find exams nerve wrecking. Didn't help having issues getting up the hill & ended up being late on exam day. Somehow, everything turned out ok & I'm grateful. It definitely feels like an achievement considering how unco I am on skis! Got my sights set on adaptive cert next... just gotta have the time... fingers crossed!

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Next year is going to be interesting. I don't actually know at this stage how much of the season I can do since I'll be done with uni by then... so much up in the air (but that's for another post). Only time will tell I guess. Til next season Perisher :)

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October 2nd, 2014

Ha! This post has been ages in the making. A lot of the decisions have been made now but I just wanted to note down my options for future reference :)

It's always a challenge for me to decide where to go for the northern hemisphere winter. And this time round it was made even harder by the fact that Nozawa was such an amazing experience. I've always thought to myself that I don't want to work at the same place twice but it was too good not to go back. So that's where I'll be again this coming season. There was definitely stiff competition though!

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Cambodia was probably my top option. "But there's no snow there" I hear you say. I'd say "correct". I wasn't going to be there for the snow. Uni came up with an opportunity to do a 5 week placement there for 2 students. It would've been really amazing to experience working in a developing country & forcing you to be more resourceful & to see how adaptable our profession could be. I really would have loved to explore the history & culture of the region too. Unfortunately, it was not to be as the people organising the placement couldn't guarantee an adequate standard of english of supervisors over there. I was definitely devastated when the opportunity got pulled but the whole time I was finding it hard to accept that I may not be able to do what would potentially be my last northern snow season.

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My other option was Whistler in Canada. It's a well known resort & they had recruiters come out to Perisher to hold interviews. I scored an interview & I think it went pretty well. Only thing going against me was that I could only teach snowboard. They were saying that they hired about 200 ski only & cross over instructors but only 5 snowboard only instructors. Crazy! And that's partly the reason why I got my ski certs this season. It had definitely been on my do to list anyway but it was just that last push I needed to get it done. When I got it, I think they were happy to have me but I was pretty set on going back to Japan by that stage. Canada would be a great experience & the mountain would be awesome but I just crave that cultural experience too. And there's probably waaaaay too many Aussies there. That's a bit of a turn off for me.

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Another decision to make is where to travel for the holiday portion of my time overseas. I've been meaning to hit up Singapore so I think I'll do that on my way to Japan along with Hong Kong & Macau like I always do. It'll be nice to have a bit of warmth before heading back into winter! On top of that I'll be heading over to South Korea for a friend's wedding so super excited about that. I really enjoyed my last holiday there so looking forward to going back!

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Another place that I'm really wanting to go to but am not sure of is North Korea. Sounds crazy I know but I gotta say that I'm just really curious. That & now they have a ski field there... you know how I always like to check those out, however random. I'm just not sure how ethical it would be to go. I've read arguments on both sides & now I just don't know what to do.... Hmmm... we'll see..... If anyone has any opinions about it, I'm all ears!

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May 14th, 2014

Just another day...


But no, very interesting day..... haha!

This semester's been quite stressful. Just so many things going on & it's just been doing my head in. So many assignments, so many things to organise... I feel like I have no routine & never know what's coming up. Anyway, enough ranting.

But today was good fun. Did a bit of uni work in the morning, the went wakeboarding. Haven't done that in ages & I've been meaning to get back into it & more regularly. Feeling quite accomplished with it too. Went off a few different kickers that I haven't tried before & did a bit of switch riding. So freaky at first but hope to get better at it. And I had a bit of a thought that that's what I want out of my riding at the snow too. Every time I ride, I want to get something out of it, I want to learn something, improve something. Hopefully that'll happen this season!

Speaking of getting back into things, got back to contortion tonight. Haven't been for a few weeks due to getting bogged down by uni work. OMG! So tiring! Maybe after wakeboarding, that's why. So now I'm just tired generally. Next thing to get back into is Karate. Haven't been since getting back from Japan. Hard to believe.... time flies.

And the big news is that I got a new job. Keeping the ball rolling of if I get an interview, I get the job :P This job is actually for an indoor ski centre in Sydney. It's a different system than the one I was on in Hong Kong. Actually more like our competition's. So that should be interesting. It's a casual position so it's just gonna be interesting to work it around uni, Perisher & other work. More to come on that front for sure :)

May 10th, 2014


So I have been meaning to do this post for a while... a long while. But seeing as they are only this week just wrapping up the season over in Japan, it seems like an appropriate time to do my end of season post.

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It was such a dream come true to get this job in Nozawa Onsen. Since going there on holiday back in 2009, I've always wanted to go back. Even more so when I started doing seasons. And working during this season has been an absolute dream. All "privates" style lessons, no groups, plenty of work, plenty of riding time, good team.... Working in a bar was also fun too. I really enjoyed that & as much of a push as it is when it's busy, it's just super fun as well. It's definitely been the best work/play balance I've had over any of the seasons I've worked. And this is all even before we start talking about the actual snow!

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The people of Japan are so nice. Lovely, respectful & the epitome of hospitality. You just feel super safe & the only time I felt unsafe was around foreigners :P One incident that will stick in my mind in regards to this is losing my wallet & really not being too concerned as you can trust people to do the right thing. It really rubs off on you too. You want to reciprocate & be nicer haha! And everything & everyone... So kawaii V(^.^)V

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OH MY GOSH!!!!! The snow was just absolutely incredible! I've never ridden in such deep snow before & at the beginning of the season, this was definitely a challenge. It was hard & tiring but once you got it, holy crap, the feeling of riding deep deep powder is just like heaven! There were incredible days were even on the groomers, there was knee deep powder. It's just insane.... absolutely insane. Not just quantity but quality of snow also. And getting to ride backcountry was an absolute privilege. So thankful for the people that I rode with back there. What a blast!

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As most of you know, I never go anywhere purely just for the snow. To me, the other half of what I get in northern seasons is definitely a cultural experience & boy did Nozawa deliver on that. If you forget about everything else & just had the Fire Festival, that in itself would have filled my quota of culture. Of course there was much more... sooo much more. Don't even get me started on the food! All the little traditions were just so interesting & Japan really has a great sense of pride in the maintenance of these. Something that strips everyone down in both a literal & metaphorical sense are onsens. I've had it told to me that it's not uncommon for trips to the onsen with work people & that's where you can speak frankly & honestly even to superiors as everyone is level in an onsen. I miss my daily trip to the onsen!

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But of course what really makes a season are the people. And this season was no different. I think it's just easy to get along with people when we're all there for the same reason. It was so much fun riding with everyone & I think the level across was just bumped up from the other seasons I've done, partially because of all the great snow but also because these guys were just all so passionate about shredding! I'd say it was definitely a different feel from the super tight knit group I had in China as there we were all forced together & were living in each other's pockets. This season, it was more "normal" & I hung out with everyone but there were particular people who were just special :P I must say I was particularly impressed with everyone's dedication when it came to the Chinese New Year family dinner. I really appreciated that everyone got into it! And all those nights at Stay Bar, all those nights at karaoke.... such fun haha!

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All in all, it was just a great, fun season. This is the first northern season I've done that's made me really want to go back to the same place. I miss it so much already! But yes, a big shout out to all those that made it so good!!!!

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