There has been a lot of blogging about Japan, but no background on what spawned this trip and who the characters involved are. Therefore, I'll give it to you now.
The chain of events that landed me in Japan, and bound for India yet, initially began with me finishing up with Biglines.com. In order to pursue some other oppurtunities I realized I had to free myself up and make myself available. Finishing Biglines on a Friday and starting something new on Monday just wasn't going to be a reality, so I made the call and gave up the reins at Biglines.
Once I found myself unchained from my computer, or at least less chained, I had the epiphany that I had my time to myself and why would I be stressed about finding a job when winter was about to get underway and I had some funds put aside that would allow my to travel.
The plan was hatched after a loaded email from Nic Waggoner. Nic is the director of Sweetgrass Productions and has rented 2 apartments for the winter in Kutchan, on Japan's north island. He is producing a ski and snowboard film capturing the scene and backcountry around Hokkaido. The loaded email essentially entailed an invite to come stay with his crew and ski powder.
That was enough to convince me to visit one place I have thought about exploring the past 2 winters. The other place that I have been inspired to visit after reading the book "Three Cups of Tea", is Kashmir, India. "Three Cups of Tea" is the biography of Greg Mortensen, a high altitude mountaineer who stumbled into a remote valley below K2 (the world's 2nd highest summit) and was inspired to build a school after recieving care from the local people. Mortensen's initiative lead to the foundation of the Central Asia Institute that has built over 50 schools for girls throughout remote parts of Kashmir and Afghanistan.
Other than a general desire to explore and travel the world, that book got me hooked on going to Kashmir in particular to ski and see what that part of the world is about. Kashmir was always one of the few places I couldn't take my work with me to because there is no internet, but now I was freshly unemployed, I was free to book an open ended ticket.
Stevie B was eager to get out of Whistler and take a trip. Stevie is a good friend I actually met in Chamonix and reconnected with when I came to Canada. I also slept on his floor in Whistler for the last 2 winters. After I let him down the last 2 years with big plans of road trips and adventures, I hesitantly mentioned the idea to him, hoping he wouldn't think I would change my plans at the last minute. He said,"Where do I pay," and I didn't change my plans at the last minute.
And now we find ourselves in Japan, staying in 1 of 2 condos housing at present count, 12 people. We have Caroline sleeping in the closet, Forrest and Matt sharing a room, Stevie and I on the floor in the living room, 2 other athletes on the floor in the next condo and 3 filmers, one photographer, and Yuki, the Sweetgrass Japanese production manager and translator in each of the 5 other bedrooms. The apartment ceiling is far to low for we hormone infused children of eggs and milk, and the smell of boot liners is heavier than a backcountry hut. The fridge is tiny so we utilize the space btween the Japanese double glazed windows as extra fridge space and it seems to work. Despite how close the quarters we keep are, we all get along... by and large.
So that is the background of how I got to where I am at present. What comes next is India, and after that, well, I'll let you know when I find out myself.