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Question Skiing Honshu and the non-skier

Discussion in 'Japan' started by MrT, Oct 22, 2018.

  1. MrT

    MrT Hard Yards

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    Hi all
    I visited Niseko last year with the family and it was awesome for all but one of us. For that same individual, Falls Creek this year was purgatory. Time to adjust plans for ski holidays because someone isn’t as enthused about the skiing as the rest of us...

    This year I’m looking for a Japan resort / town where everyone is happy ! Something for dad and the boys on the slopes, and something for she who shall remain nameless... Aiming for early Jan.

    I’m hoping someone can give me some advice this year please.... My preference is to be close-ish ( i.e. max a couple of hours or so on the Shinkansen ) to Tokyo, but mostly lots of local / village / town things for the wife to see or do.

    Having visited south west Japan many times, i’m comfortable with the public transport system there, or maybe driving a car.

    From what i am seeing Hakuba would be the best bet ? Just not sure where exactly because it looks like its spread out right ? Would love some advice please.

    My 2 boys are both capable skiers, as is my nephew who will also be in tow. We are looking for powder, but not super precious about it. Mostly precious about keeping the wife happy :)

    Thanks kindly in advance
    T
     
  2. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    This sort of question has been asked a few times. For Japan though I don't think there are many really good options for this scenario. Japan ski areas are very snowy and generally away from larger towns, non skiing activities. Depends on what sort of activities the non skier is happy with for an extended period. I mean you can do onsens, shopping visiting castles, temples, reading but is that enough.

    TBH I would say Europe would be a much better bet in this situation.
     
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  3. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    While you are skiing, your wife can stay in Tokyo:p. How long are you going to stay in Japan?
     
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  4. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Not sure Hakuba would do it.
    Does she like shopping?
     
  5. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Hakuba still struggles a bit to look after non skiing guests and I think may still be the pick of them. Its one of our greatest challenges at the moment in my opinion.

    I've always thought Nagano would make a great base for a week or so with so many resorts less than an hr away by hire car. Its the small ones that would really intrigue me though. Plenty to do as well in the city and your Mrs can jump on a train and day trip to heaps of places to should she tire of Nagano itself or even better do a day trip etc with her one or two of the days in the car.
     
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  6. MrT

    MrT Hard Yards

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    Aiming for at least 7 days actual skiing, but I guess about 10 days all up. If we have time a snow monkey tour might be in order..
     
  7. MrT

    MrT Hard Yards

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    hehe - :woohoo::woohoo::woohoo:
    yeah, just a lot !
     
  8. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Snow Monkeys are meh IMO.
    Better off Matsumoto / Nagano tours
     
  9. MrT

    MrT Hard Yards

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    I like the idea of that - it's quite a sizable city right ?
     
  10. MrT

    MrT Hard Yards

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    Gotcha - will look into it..
     
  11. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I don't know much about Nagano city, and I have never been to 戸隠スキー場 = Togakushi ski resort, but Google says it's about 45 mins by car, not too far. And Yamanouchi is where Shiga Kogen and snow monkeys are. So staying at a hotel in Nagano, you go to Togakushi and Shiga Kogen. I don't know what Nagano city can offer your wife, though. It's the biggest city in Nagano Prefecture, so I think she can find something to do. But the best is, you let your wife shop in Tokyo:p
    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I'd rather stay in a ski resort and tour to attractions
     
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  13. Nozawaman

    Nozawaman A Local

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    LEAVE HER AT HOME !!!!!!

    I tried for years to get my ex wife enthused about skiing , all to no avail . She was a virtual wet blanket on every ski trip we did . Kids and I loved it , she hated it , we even dropped her at Queenstown airport 5 days into a 2 week ski holiday so she could go home , while the kids and I stayed on .
     
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  14. travelislife

    travelislife One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Otaru and/or Sapporo and hire a car. And then Furano with the same potentially.
     
  15. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Karuizawa. The skiing's not fabulous, but it has the largest shopping outlet in Japan, and other things to do.

    https://taiken.co/single/10-things-to-do-in-karuizawa-a-unique-mountain-resort-town-of-japan/

    And get the JR East Nagano/Niigata train Pass. (18,000yen adults, 9000yen kids to 11yo, for 5 days within a 14 day period)
    You can do day trips to ski at Myoko, Nozawa, Yuzawa with a minimum of fuss.
    (or hire a car at Karuizawa)
     
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  16. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Its a nice little town but very quiet in winter from what I have been told. I reckon after 2 or 3 days she would be done with it and have spent a LOT at the big shopping centre there, especially if give a few days to walk back to it each day. :) :)

    Its an easy day trip from Nagano though if you decide to go that way too. If you do end up spending a night in Karuizawa make sure you find Kevin's Bar. Local legend. You cant eat there but he will point you in the right direction and stop there on the way home after dinner. Standing bar with cheap drinks and a great host. The gelato across the road from his bar is excellent too.

    For you guys the resorts within an hr drive of Nagano are numerous from the 9 resorts in the Hakuba Valley, Nozawa, Shiga, Myoko, Lotte, plus a plethora of other ones. Oh man I want to do this myself!

    For her, day trips to Matsumoto, Karuizawa, Day in Nagano looking at Zenkoji with lunch at one of the great resturants in town, Tokyo is a 90min shink away if she wants to go there. Bang there is 4 full days without even trying.
     
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  17. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    If she was unhappy in Niseko then she is not going to be happy in any other ski resort in Japan (it’s probably got the most options for a western non skier).

    If you want to combine skiing and her, then Europe.

    But better yet make a deal with her that you and the kids get to go skiing and she can do a girls trip of her desire (shopping, swim up bars and massages I guess).

    Write bucket lists of the things you each want to do on holidays/in life and wherever you have an overlap go together. Otherwise take separate trips.
     
  18. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    Why not split up - you do the skiing trip - she does the culture trip? I know not together - but may be best option in Japan. She can make the classis tip Tokyo - Kyoto - Nara- Hiroshima - Miyajima, and do the Hakone trip and onsen stay. (may be take a friend alonge).

    Can even have a Temple stay.
    She might even return enlightend (to ski) :whistle:
     
  19. fennekeg

    fennekeg One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Contrary to what other folks around here might think ;) there are lots of things to do in snowy winter Japan other than skiing! This winter my husband and I are going to do an all-non-ski winter tour of Japan, 2,5 weeks touring around Hokkaido and northern Honshu by train. Lots to see and do for us, but we're rather outdoorsy types and my husband is a train buff as well (and I happily tag along, it takes you to interesting places you'd otherwise never think of visiting).

    Thanks to this forum I learnt that a non-skiing winter holiday in Japan is a lot different from Europe though. In Japan the snow is much deeper in most ski resorts, so you can't just go for a walk and tour the forest and small towns while the rest of the team is out skiing. However there are quite a few places where you can rent snowshoes, we've never done that before but apparently it's fun and not difficult to learn :) And in lots of places they have guided snowshoe tours as well, which might be more fun and safer than going alone. But you gotta like going out in nature in the snow and cold. I myself hate being cold, but I love the beautiful sights when everything is covered in snow, so I've learnt how to bundle up well with thermal underwear, merino socks and padded ski pants.

    This time we're going to do everything by train, but I already have a list of things to do in winter Japan for next time when we can rent a car. There are lots of quaint villages (with plenty opportunity for souvenir shopping) that look adorable in the snow. There's onsens of course, for the spa retreat feeling, the ones that are open all day are nice and quiet when most of the people are out skiing. The Japanese often go out for a weekend in a spa resort in winter, soaking in open air onsen surrounded by snowy mountains, and endulging in delicious kaiseki meals.

    Like others suggested, Nagano sounds like a good base town. It's a sizeable town with a direct shinkansen connection to Tokyo. Things we'll be doing there, have done in the past, or want to do in the future: Zenkoji temple, Togakushi Shrine (by car), day trip by train to Narai and walk a part of the old Nakasendo trail, snow monkeys (we've already seen them in summer so we know it's not a big deal, but the area is nice for walking in winter) and the adjacent Yudanaka onsen town (stay for one night), Obuse (an old town with nice shops and the Hokusai museum), and Matsumoto castle.

    And this is only in the Nagano area, lots of things to do in the rest of the snowy area of Honshu as well! I found most by googling for 'top 10 things to do in winter Japan', 'hidden gems in winter Japan', or narrowing it down to 'winter <insert specific area>'.
     
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  20. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Winner!

    Don't compromise your trip by staying in a town where you have to commute daily to ski. Do what works best for you and the kids and let her arrange her own trip to where she wants to go.
     
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  21. gaz35

    gaz35 One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    yep - drop her at Hong Kong or Bangkok on the way over
     
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  22. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Will be interested your post trip report on how that all went.
     
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  23. BoofHead

    BoofHead One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I have to agree with N-Man. If it’s possible, suggest that she sitout the ski trips and take her on a seperate holiday or suggest she go on her own trip with her mate/s. Or as suggested, maybe consider A different OS destination that would suit a non-skier.
     
  24. MrT

    MrT Hard Yards

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    To be honest, that was our first plan, but i was getting some silent treatment over it... so i relented from chasing Niseko powder to something that was more supportive of “everyone”
     
  25. MrT

    MrT Hard Yards

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    Not a bad idea - a JR pass will have her anywhere pretty quick.
     
  26. BoofHead

    BoofHead One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I love the silent treatment. So peaceful.
     
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  27. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    This is the best suggestion IMO. Get her a rail pass and she can explore that whole cultural side while you guys ski. Meet back up in Tokyo.
     
  28. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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  29. andrew7

    andrew7 Addicted

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    Nozawa Onsen is one of the few Japanese ski towns which seems to fit the bill: I've been a few times and on each occasion have met couples where the +1 is pottering around quite happily whilst the other half ski's- on each occasion they have returned to Noz multiple times.
     
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  30. PMG

    PMG One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    How long is the trip? Never mind, just found it. A week is a long time pottering around the same place by yourself. M_G's link above has some good options. Depends on how adventurous she is re public transport etc.
    Good luck.
     
  31. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    The problem with :emoji_arrow_up: is that it takes a certain kind of person/attitude to get enjoyment from off snow activities in a ski resort on your own while others are off skiing.

    And this :emoji_arrow_down: tells me that MrsT is not that person.
    Not that there is anything wrong with that but you’ve got to have realistic expectations to reduce the incidence of unhappiness.

    We are not all the same, our likes and dislikes are not all in harmony, there is absolutely no problem with finding compromises that suit everyone.

    Why was your wife giving you the silent treatment @MrT ?
    Was it “fear of missing out”, simple jealousy that you were going to do something fun and she had nothing planned, disappointment that you were excited about an activity that didn’t involve her?

    The reality is she did not enjoy Niseko. And she felt like Falls Creek was an eternal damnable punishment. WHY would she want to go on a ski trip to Japan again?

    If you are offering an attractive alternative then you should be able to find a solution.

    If she wants time with you, take her to Fiji for a week separate to your ski trip.

    If she just wants to laze around a pool and a friend for company is just as good as you, then send her and a friend to Bali while you go to Hokkaido or Honshu and do what you love.
     
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  32. rugbyskier

    rugbyskier One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you base in Nagano, another place she can do a couple of day trips to is Kanazawa, which is a fantastic place to visit. The city has a castle, one of the top three gardens in Japan, historic geisha and samurai districts, a very large covered food market, a modern art museum and large shopping district. The city has a population of 400,000 and has enough attractions for a 2-3 day visit and it's an hour from Nagano on the shinkansen.
     
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  33. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Well said LMB. Falls has a nice ski-in-out village, and Niseko has quite a lot of non-ski related things to do. If the non-skier strongly disliked both of those experiences I can't see them enjoying any Japanese ski resort based holiday. Even being based in Tomamu with their resort wave pool would get old after a few days.

    Sounds like the vibe is really bought down by the non-skier which is a downer for all those on the trip!
     
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  34. smackies

    smackies A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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  35. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yep.

    And I say all this having entertained a number of non skiers in ski resorts.

    Most are fabulous.
    But if you hate it the first time, you’re unlikely to like it the next.
    If you hate it the second time - YOURE OUT!
     
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  36. PMG

    PMG One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    The conundrum may be she just doesn't like skiing all that much (if at all) but still wants to holiday with the family. Which is entirely understandable but very inconvenient. ;)
     
  37. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    That was certainly a concern for me.
    I saw that my family took to it like ducks to water, so decided I was going to launch in boots and all despite my fears and lack of natural ability.
    (Fast forward 12 years and I am more addicted than them).

    But if you’re hating it.
    Making the others alter their plans to accomodate you.
    And leaving them knowing you have had the worst time ever.
    You’ve failed at integration.
    Do other things together, or get better and finding the joy in what they love.
     
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  38. LDJ

    LDJ One of Us

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    This is the time where I realise I'm super lucky to have met my wife in a ski resort so ski holidays are our default :thumbs:. While obviously not on Honshu or close to Tokyo. Have you thought about Sapporo? You could base the group there. You could always disappear for 2-3 days/nights at a time to visit Rusutsu, Kiroro or the resorts around Sapporo for day trips. You can also do long day trips via the resort shuttles if you wanted to. Your wife has plenty of shopping and sites (Museums, Olympic ski jump, brewery etc) to see in Sapporo. She can also do day trips on the train to places all over Hokkaido like Noboribetsu/Jigokudani etc.

    Outside of that its Europe or somewhere like Banff in Canada that would suit.
     
  39. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    But that is probably too much of a compromise for the skiers. They would likely prefer to be in a ski resort rather than have to do daily commutes.

    If she didn't enjoy Niseko or Falls Creek, then I can't see any ski area in japan working and the only real option is to have separate trips. I think the JR pass suggestion was a good one. Have a couple of days in Tokyo all together, then go their separate ways, then meet again back in Tokyo for the trip back home.
     
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  40. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    So what non-skiing activities would she be happy doing? There are a lot more options than people realise. We have had a reasonable number of non-skiing guests who have done a range of activities. If you stay somewhere with reasonable access to the Shinkansen then perhaps every 2nd day she could do a trip to somewhere else. And aslo stay somewhere that has staff that are around during the day and other things happening.
     
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  41. rugbyskier

    rugbyskier One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    The alternative would be Madarao or Nozawa Onsen which are 15 minutes from Iiyama shinkansen station. I know there are regular shuttle bus services from Nozawa to the station. As someone mentioned earlier, Nozawa is a good option for non-skiers.
     
  42. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    There are regular public transport buses from Madarao to Iiyama.
     
  43. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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  44. fennekeg

    fennekeg One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    just out of curiosity, what exactly entailed this 'pottering around', do you know? we'll be there for 2 days (3 nts) not skiing, and I don't know if we want to go snowshoeing both days. I did see that the town has some sights with the springs and all. I'm sure that we can find something to do/see there, but tips are always welcome.
     
  45. ojisan

    ojisan station master Ski Pass: Gold

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    I am sure you can waste a few hours in a nice outside onsen
     
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  46. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Noz is a lovely traditional village. I dragged my mum there for 4 days when I first went skiing in Japan (she doesn't ski), and then she enjoyed the village so much she dragged me back there the next year LOL
     
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  47. Zimbooo

    Zimbooo One of Us

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    Shiga Kogen would be good...............:out:

    USA - drop some coin in Aspen. :D
     
  48. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    This is tongue in cheek, right?
     
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  49. Zimbooo

    Zimbooo One of Us

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    100% tongue in cheek MG.
    In all seriousness, if OP's wife doesn't ski but loves shopping, then maybe line up a week of tours out of Tokyo for her. Shopping tours, day tours etc etc.
     
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  50. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    She would have loved my Tokyo shopping tours, when I did them some years back....
     
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