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Jack Brown: Blog

Hello, yeah, it's been a while

Posted on March 23, 2013 with 0 comments

That blog title -- recognize it, 70's friends?  It's the first line of England Dan and John Ford Coley's hit, "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight".  It works for this blog too.  I don't imagine you've all been sitting on the edges of your seats in antici . . . . pation. ;-)  But, yes, I'm alive and mostly well in Korea.

Or actually, in Japan -- for the week.  Korea has much wonderfulness, but cross-country skiing is not on their list of wonderful things to do while there.  Even downhill skiing is only okay in Korea, according to downhillers I know -- and the flight over, which was filled with Koreans going on ski holiday, attests to that.  Anyway, I'm at Asahidake, one of the higher-elevation and colder locations on Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan's four main islands.  Hokkaido is one of the five snowiest places on Earth -- the populated spots (like Niseko, probably the most popular ski resort here) get around 50 feet/16 meters of snow per year.  And I'm higher, farther north, and farther into the mountains than Niseko.  I arrived Saturday March 23 and it's been very cold, windy and snowy all day.  I didn't skate-ski at all today -- too many other little things to do, and I hadn't planned to anyway.  But I have six days of that wonderful activity ahead of me!  Brought the skis, the clothing, the wax gear, everything.

This is my second trip to Japan; I went to Happo One, in Hakuba, above Nagano, for three days in February.  They get a huge amount of snow there too -- they are also among the ten snowiest places on Earth.  The skate skiing there was unbelievably awesome.  I'm hoping Asahidake -- more remote, wilder, windier, colder -- will be the same.  If not, I'm booked for only three days here and can spend the next three at other spots.  But it'll be hard to leave this place -- I'm staying at a hostel where, for the equivalent of about $75 USD, I get a private room with toilet and sink ensuite, breakfast/dinner daily, and I'm literally across the street from a trailhead.  The street is covered with snow too, so I can really, truly ski in and ski out if I want.  I'm only a few kilometers from the main ski resort here, which also has its own cross-country trails.  I'm sure other guests will show up soon, but for right now I have the place to myself.  And the food, both quality and quantity, is quite nice -- I'll definitely have some pretty serious energy for the trails tomorrow after the gigantic Japanese dinner I ate tonight.

I also brought a guitar, lots of sheet music, some blank staff paper, and my songwriting journal.  I've decided that, not only is teaching in Korea a pretty cool way to pay for my son's college education; it's also been a nice break from the performing, scheduling, selling, etc., of the folk musician life.  It's been nice to come home at night and not be trying to schedule gigs, make contacts, plan mini-tours, and so on.  I did that for about 12 years, the last 7 of them branching out to the out-of-town thing, and although it got more and more fun, it also got more and more busy.  The break is nice.

But wow, do I ever have a backlog of songs and tunes and ideas!  This week, a few of them will probably find their way to paper.  Right now it's mostly holiday tunes I'm writing, for whatever reason.  If I throw in five or six traditionals, I'll have a holiday CD if I want to do one!  Still considering that.

I'll be playing a few gigs in Boise and Seattle this summer, maybe a few in the south, and a couple in New Mexico and maybe Colorado.  But it'll be my quietest summer in many years.  Yeah, that break thing.  I'm enjoying it.

But I'll be back.  I'm already making plans to be at the Folk Alliance West Regional conference in Irvine CA in October.  I'd have to leave a day early, but I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones there.

Meanwhile, though, there's an unbelievable amount of snow out on those trails.  I can barely see out of my room window for the pile of snow.  I think I'll go to bed, get up early, eat that Japanese breakfast, and hit the trails for some great skate-skiing.  More later this week.