Tuesday, February 21, 2017

That Time When I Fell in Love with Winter

I was never a winter fan. Coming from a tropical country like the Philippines and now finding myself in a country where it's cold most of the time, there were days when I couldn't help but curse the cold weather. I resorted to layering clothes (which I eventually got around to and liked), using heat patches, wearing masks to at least cover my face, not to mention scarves and beanies that I didn't even own up until I moved here in Tokyo. But still, those weren't enough and so I loathed winter more and more; spring and autumn are seasons too beautiful for my life to hate haha! And so there goes winter, absorbing all my, well, winter hatred.

The only time I think I loved liked winter was when I went to Hokkaido two years ago for some snowboarding action. And that's it. But you know, life always has ways of surprising people, myself included. Never thought I'd say "I love winter" but yeah, I love winter. 

 There, I said it. 

And it's because of my three-day trip to Niigata with friends last January; good company and I've probably acclimatized to the cold or it might be because of the place's peculiar winter breeze, I don't know, I'm loving winter now~

I hope I can give even half the justice to Niigata's winter beauty through these photos. 
Warning: Text- and photo-heavy ✌︎


Met up with friends early in the morning at Nakano Station. Our friend Cris has a car and he drove throughout the trip. Going to Niigata by car is cheaper than riding the Shinkansen/bullet train. But yeah, if you have limited time and cash to shell out, then by all means, use the bullet train. The car trip to Niigata took us 4hrs or so; might take half the time if you ride the bullet train.
Stop-over at a random parking area we passed by on our way to Niigata.
The crew (L-R): Ditta, Aira, Cris, me, Kenji.
 Cutiepie spotted!
 Hello, Niigata! Nice to finally meet you!

Wanted to go to a nearby lake but unfortunately, the entry to the lake was closed that day and throughout winter for safety purposes. Ended up at a dead end in search for it but that didn't stop us from enjoying where we're at! And why would we? Look at thissss!!!

Afterwards, we went straight to Sportsment Yuzawa 2, our home for three days and two nights, to leave our luggage. The house was spacey, clean, and functional! It's great that we didn't spend any yens for our stay, thanks to Aira!
Ahhh that view~

Left again for Echigoyuzawa Station where we ate lunch and tried sake- and salt-tasting. And yeah, some exploration by foot, too. It's a nice little place that sparked my interest. Walking along the streets around the station, my eyes were so full. Beauty is everywhere, unconventional at that. I'm glad we went for that chill walk; nevermind my fingers numbing 'cos of the cold.
 Sake- and salt-tasting experience!
How drunk can these sculptures get? Haha!

 When you pay 500JPY at the counter, you'll be given 5 coins that you can use to buy a small cup of sake. Some cost a coin, others two or more.

 First time to try salt-tasting (which sounded a little weird to me but yeah I like weird things haha).
This comes with a cucumber, by the way.
 Dessert time~
 Stumbled upon an exhibition inside Echigoyuzawa station
 Found a free "hand onsen" while wandering 'round the town.
It was definitely a much-needed treat for our already-numb hands!

 A random store
Walking in a winter wonderland~
(Tip: bring waterproof spray, your shoes will thank you for it)

After all that walking, we then headed to a supermarket to buy all the stuff that we need during our stay. Had to walk a few meters from the supermarket to a patisserie to buy the "surprise cake" for Aira. Actually, this trip was done to celebrate her birthday. Thanks to the supermarket guy for the patisserie tip. Ended up buying the last cake and yeah, bought a cheesecake for myself to try and it tasted hella great (so I asked my beau to buy me more to bring back to Tokyo on our last day)! And as for the surprise cake thingy, it was kinda fail 'cos Aira came to know before the surprise even happened haha! But well, it's the thought that counts!
Patisserie Sphere: home of my now favourite cheesecake everrrr~

Settled in for the night over some home-cooked nabe while watching Kimi no Na wa/Your Name.


Day 2 was greeted with a hearty breakfast c/o Cris! Second day was meant for snowboarding all day and so after eating breakfast, we headed to the rental shop near Iwappara Ski Resort. Luckily, the house we're staying at is just a five-minute walk to the ski resort! How convenient!

All set for snowboarding! But of course we took a group picture first before we make a mess out of ourselves haha!

Great view! It's not everyday you see snowy mountain ranges so I made sure I breathed in the sight for a little longer!
When you've had enough of the falls... play dead hahahahaha!!!!
Hi, love! ♥

Went back to our house for late lunch! Aira and Cris decided to continue snowboarding 'til night. They bought a night pass for this. Kenji, Ditta, and I decided to return our snowboards and just go sledding instead. It was a first for us three and we had lotsa fun, I believe! We even made a snowman! やた! ٩(๑❛ᴗ❛๑)۶
Chicken adobo for lunch!

After all the snowboarding and the sledding, we went home and had a yakiniku party while watching Kimi no Na wa for the second time!


Day 3 was spent chilling indoors, breathing in the view from the window, and cleaning the house for it's our last day! How I wish we could stay longer but we all have work the following day... ugh
Breakfast c/o Cris ♥

Nevertheless, it was a lovely three-day chill weekend! ♥ 
Niigata gave us a send-off present in the form of snow!!! It snowed heavily while we were on the road so we needed to stop by the nearest gasoline station to ask for help in putting up the snow tires on Cris' car!

After a few more hours, we're back to Tokyo, and well, back to the fast-paced lives we normally have. Thank you, Niigata! I loved every bit of you! 

P.S. We went back last weekend and I'm gonna share Niigata 2.0 with you guys in another post!☆彡