Ski Season in Japan - by Patrick
So pre departure was a bit manic, there was lots to sort out before I left….
I started the Visa process roughly 4 weeks before my flight, it was generally quite straight forward, if you have all the necessary documents, you shouldn't have any issues. It is advisable to do a bit of research on festivals and events in Japan before you go to the embassy as they will want to make sure you're serious about seeing different parts of the country.
The only issue I had was making sure I had enough funds in my account, I would suggest booking return flights as this lowers the threshold to £1500 in cleared funds. For me it was just a question of timing, but considering the application typically takes around a week, there's no desperate rush.
So once the visa had been sorted, I started getting my equipment ready. Powder skis are a fantastic addition, but if you plan on teaching it is much more important to get a pair of directional, all mountain skis. Considering we are staying in Japan for an extended period of time, it's important to pack wisely. For me the main essentials are things like socks, and some warm clothes, obviously ski and snowboard equipment will use up a lot of weight allowance so try and cut down on anything unnecessary.
The Job Interview
The interview with Club Med seemed more like a formality than anything,(not too intense). They ran through the employee handbook and explained a little about what we would be doing in Sahoro. Once the interview was completed, we were sent a contract a few weeks later, it's a good idea to sign these and send it back as soon as possible to save any unnecessary stress once you arrive in Japan.
So once you have all the main things done like, flights, insurance, visa and equipment it's just a case of waiting for the big day! If you have a drivers licence, you can head down to your local post office to get an international permit, which can be organised immediately.
Arriving in Japan
First impressions of Japan were fantastic, you can tell pretty quickly that they do things quite defiantly compared to back in the UK.
The streets are spotless, even though there aren't many bins in Tokyo. The people have a lot of respect for their country, so you'll want to adopt this attitude as soon as possible (if you haven't already).
The best piece of advice I can give, is try to mirror the actions of the locals, don't get too rowdy and keep your wits about you, like any big city it has it's good and bad parts. Having a local to show you around is definitely advisable as you'll see a different side to Tokyo, more than just the typical tourist track.
After a great few nights in Tokyo, we headed to Hakuba by bus. The snow is on its way and we are enjoying getting to know each other a bit better as a group!
We're all looking forward to get started on what will hopefully be a great season!!