mamajelli’s mumbo jumbo

What it looks like on a sunny day! To ski, or not to ski, that is the question.

Well, it never used to be a question — once upon a time. Once upon a time, like, 30 years ago.
Having started skiing at the late age of 26, I was a late bloomer in the ski world and the passion of the moment was to “catch up” to all my friends who could ski anywhere without fear of the speed or falling down. And having never been the athletic type, that was a challenge in itself. The only way to stay on course was to clock in the number of hours and days that one spent on the ski slopes. Like in any sport or hobby, the more you do it, the better you are.

 Although I had gone skiing with my Mama as a wee one many times, and had learned how to lace up the ski boots (yes, once upon a time, boots were made of leather and had to be laced up, just like ice skating shoes) and snow plow, I was never very good at it. In fact, the only thing I can remember is being cold, wet, and miserable, so skiing was not considered to be one of my favorite pasttimes. Who in the right mind wanted their extremities to get frostbitten and enjoyed their legs contorting into different angles? No, I couldn’t see what was fun about wearing three pairs of thick socks and still getting cold feet. But I loved the snow. I loved to step outside and look up, feeling the soft touches of wetness on my nose and cheeks. But I loved it the most when I was next to a warm potbelly stove inside, while watching the flurry of angels falling from the sky outside. So maybe it doesn’t come as a surprise when I ask when it’s worth going skiing or not. After all, it is said that people revert to their “original” ways as they grow older. And as babyboomers, we are constantly reminded that we were pampered with diapers and one day, we shall depend on them again!

So, here I was, three decades later, watching the dark sky from our favorite ski resort lodge, Roli Hof, in Norikura Kogen, Nagano Prefecture. Was it cold? Would I need an extra vest? Did I want one of those hand-warmy-things that had sticky tape on one side so you could stick it onto your t-shirt and it would keep your back toasty warm for 8 hours? Did I even want to be out there for 8 hours?

And as I wondered, I saw. I saw, not little whisps of feathery white flakes from the heavens, but big droplets of water. Yes, tears from heaven, making vertical ice rinks on the perfectly manicured ski slopes.

And with that, the question of to ski or not to ski was answered.

I had graduated from lace-up shoes.


I live in the land of earthquakes, so a bit of rattling doesn’t rattle me much, except that a little prayer is always said, in hopes that no damage was done at the epicenter and no one was hurt.

The Japanese archipelago is sitting on a bed of potential onsen (hot spring) geyers, and it’s just of matter of “when” it’s going to create some excitment. Each year, someone will send a reminder that Mt. Fuji is “due” soon, so we need to be prepared. I haven’t a clue as to how one is to prepare for an eruption, other than to leave, but we’ll take our chances and hope that the volcano will be contented and quiet — for a lifetime — our lifetime.

Yesterday morning, I was awoken by a little jiggle. I didn’t think much of it as I have always imagined that Mt. Fuji’s shake would throw me off the bed, versus this one that was no more than a wake-up lullabye. Then, I heard the news that Mt. Asama, near Karuizawa, was “growing” and might decide to let off a bit more than just some steam in the near future.

Well, that near future turned out to be this morning.

Shake, rattle and roll. And pop!
The mountain which overlooks the “upscale” mountain resort with skiing in the winter, coolness in the summer and historical homes of one of the first summer cottages for the foreign community, has decided to grace her presence on the front page of newspapers.

It had a “medium” eruption in 2004 and the ash caused considerable damage to the agricultural business.

The wind is strong today, coming in from the north.
There are reports that there’s volcanic ash on cars parked in Tachikawa, just a “few” (give or take 30) stations away.
Looks like there’s going to be more “damage” than just to the farmers and consumers.

Better not hang the laundry out.

Or wash the car.

Once upon a time, when I was just learning about computers, our instructor asked the class (only 4 of us) what we wanted to learn. I was just about to raise my hand, when he said, “No one needs to know about starting their own homepage, after all, what do YOU want to share with the rest of the world?”
What do we want to share? What do I want to share?
That was a good question. And 10 years later, I still ask it.
Why start a blog?
Why talk to myself?
Wouldn’t it be nicer to be talking to someone else and carrying on a conversation?
But sometimes, one can sort out a lot of thoughts by writing them down.
Then again, in Japan, there are more blogsites than anywhere else in the world. Everyone seems to be sharing a bit about themselves — well, not really themselves per se, as many of the blogsites are about FOOD! “My Favorite Lunch” would be a choice title. And you’d find someone had posted a picture of their lunch with a description of the yumminess.
Not sure what I’ll do today, but this is a start.
When I was a wee one and would start to ramble, Mama would always say, “Don’t mumble or jumble.” For the longest time, I thought she was saying “mumbo and jumbo,” and wondered what dancing and Dumbo’s mom had to do with my chattering.
Now I know.
It’ll be a good title  for food for thought.

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