Today involved heading to Hakuba on the Shinkasen or Bullet train which goes via Nagano. Brendan and I had sent our main luggage and skis forward with ABC Takkyubin service. I think this service is unique to Japan, though haven't been to Europe yet so might not be. Basically you dro your luggage off with them, provide the address (preferably in Kanji script) of your destination and they courier it there for you. For 2 bags and 2 ski bags it cost around 8000yen (roughly $90AUD) not cheap, however it meant we didn't have to deal with it and could now wander around Nagano once we got there without the hassle of luggage storage.
More importantly it meant we were free to sit in a tiny Ramen bar to devour the best Miso ramen on the planet! I was holding my chopsticks for anyone out there not familiar with chopstick ettiquette, to leave them in your bowl as in the photo means death in some Asian cultures.
Seriously excellent ramen!!!
The other reason we stopped in Nagano was to visit Zenko-ji temple, which is a Shinto temple and quite stunning. This guy interested me more though and I took a series of 3 shots with different framing and zoom and I can't decide which is my favourite, but have chosen the mid distance shot for now.
Below is the Soba noodle man, he was ensconced in a preparation area that was glass on 3 sides making Soba noodles for consumption in the next door cafe/restaurant. Fascinating process and takes years to master apparently.