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By: James Gowans

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Saturday, 25-Mar-2006 19:58 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Snowboarding in Les Trois Vallees

Day one
View over Courchevel
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Me and me old uni partner in crime Nick got away for a week in the magnificent Trois Vallees, the largest ski resort in the world. We stayed at Courchevel 1850 and enjoyed some great boarding, apres ski and views of the Alps.

Tuesday, 10-May-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Golden Week in Tibet

The Shanghai Maglev train from the airport, the world's fastest
Last meal before going to the land of unsalted fried rice!
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This year in the Japanese Golden Week, we set off on the biggest of our adventures yet, venturing to Tibet with Mt. Everest as the final goal. It was a fair old trip to get there, flying to Shanghai, then Chengdu and finally to Lhasa. But it was well worth it as we saw magnificent monasteries and spectacular mountain views (and a load'a yaks!).
Overall, it was a fantastic culture with great, friendly people. Sometimes the food / lack of showers / thin air / exploded toilets with poo all over the floor could be not as comfortable as we may have wished, but that just added to the adventure of it all!
We journeyed a long way, from the capital Lhasa, to the monastery city of Shigatse and then to Everest base camp at all of 5200m before turning back for home. But we had great company in our fantastic driver and guide who never let us down, despite some scary moments driving treacherous mountain passes.

Thursday, 7-Apr-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Miranda's visit - part 2

The classic Osaka food - okonomiyaki
Osaka's Dotonbori district, the centre of the city night life
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After heading back into the freezing cold of Niigata, it was good to head back south, this time to the Kansai area. I still can't believe how much we did - Universal Studios, a day exploring Osaka, a day in Kobe and a day in Kyoto.
All this means, of course, plenty of pics!

Wednesday, 6-Apr-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Miranda's Visit - Part 1

View from the Tokyo Metropolitan Govt Building, Shinjuku, Tokyo
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Following weeks of entries of pictures of snowboarding, drunk people and a giant wooden penis - now for something completely different (and considerably more tasteful).

My old university buddy Miranda came over to Japan in the Spring holiday and we did lots of travelling all over Japan. First we had a weekend in Tokyo and saw the bustling modern centres of Shinjuku and Shibuya, as well as pleasant gardens and lively temples. Senso-ji temple was a great temple to visit, not just for the buildings, but for watching the people carrying out religious rituals.
On our final day in the Tokyo area, we took a trip over to Kamakura, a place with fantastic temples to rival Kyoto or Nara and the second largest Buddha in Japan. This place really is worth a visit if you are ever in the Tokyo area.
Then it was back to Niigata for a few days and it was freeeeezin, so there wasn't much we could do really, other than my favourite pastimes of eating ramen and sitting in a scorching hot onsen!
Then, we left the sunny warmth of Tokyo and headed back into the Niigata winter (I had to go to work!!). But we got to do the good old winter pastimes of sitting in hot spring baths and eating ramen!

Wednesday, 23-Mar-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Last Pearl Jam Ever

Cupid Valley
Me doing my stuff
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Yes, the sad day finally came when the place I have enjoyed drinking in for almost 2 years has closed. This bar has become legendary in the Sanjo area for great people and great booze. We've had many great nights here, but Sunday was the best of all. It was packed and everyone got completely crazy, with mass nudity (waist up!) and crowd surfing. The bar is run by Fumi, a great guy who has given us so many great times and has been super kind to us gaijin. So a big thanks to him and to all the people who we enjoyed spending time with there.

Melissa and I also went on what will probably be the last snowboarding trip of the year, into the deep inaka to the small but superb Cupid Valley ski-jo.

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