Jul 28, 2011
This past weekend 5 teams of 5 battled for dominance in Hirafu’s 2nd World Cup tournament and summer party. With a half-dozen huge barbecues running, meat on sale from different stores in town, kebabs for sale, and beer on tap, the party was a great way to spend a Sunday, especially considering the terrific weather. Abucha even threw in a meal for the victors! The soccer was accompanied by croquet, and a large game of bingo finished off the day. Thanks everyone for coming out, and thanks to the organizers!
Jul 19, 2011
I’ve long lamented the lack of plentiful Mexican food in Japan. Where I grew up, Mexican food was cheap, plentiful, filling, and delicious. There’s a lot of fabulous Japanese food around Hirafu, but sometimes I just want a big plate of chips or a quesadilla.
You can imagine how excited I was to hear that Downtown Cafe would be renewed with a Mexican menu for the summer! A couple of days ago I stopped by for lunch, where I settled on a plate of nachos. As you can see, I was not disappointed. The oven-torched chips were perfectly singed and topped with a mix of onions, tomatoes, avocado, and cheese. Underneath, much to my surprise (and delight!), was more cheese as well as a layer of well-simmered, spiced meat. The meal left me full, and Sai (who enjoyed the rice and pork in the background) left satisfied, too. This is real Mexican, loads of coriander and mixed herbs to provide just the right hints of flavor.
Needless to say, Downtown Cafe comes highly recommended. Make sure to check it out as soon as you can!
Jul 04, 2011
This weekend, HANAZONO308 hosted one the JCF Japan Series MTB X-Country races, and it was quite the event. Competitors from all over Japan came to compete, and teams from major brands such as Cannondale and Giant were well-represented. The main course wound for 5km around Hanazono’s activity center and up towards the ski slopes and the nearby Tokyu Golf Course, leaving competitors muddied and tired, but the crowd loved it! Over 180 riders of all ages participated.
The elite-level race was a sight to see. The start of the race was a short climb then a cut back into the woods where things got tight and dusty. A number of racers fell over quickly, and even among these athletes their skills weren’t always enough to stay on the bike in such tough conditions.
There was a chance for all levels and ages to try out the course, too. The kid’s races were probably better attended than the ones with more competitive fields. Personally, I was inspired seeing those kids, from elementary school to high school, and I can’t wait to get back on my bike and try out the course later this week.
Our favorite platypus ninja, Kamonohashi, even made an appearance to help slake the thirst of tired competitors during the beginner race. Most riders took advantage of it, but a couple were so focused that they didn’t even know he was standing there! That’s serious dedication.
The HANAZONO308 Activity Center is open this summer, offering various off-site watersports, a wakeboard park, mountain biking, nature exploration activities, and golf. Stop by – everything you need is there. More photos are available from the event.