Crawfish Madarao guestroom – room 202 renovation in pictures

So proud of my husband for all the hard work he’s put in. This is one of the biggest changes as Jake had to re-set all the flooring as well as the “typical” stuff like installing toilet, shower, jacuzzi and knocking down walls. One of my favorites, room 203…

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…and looking at the other corner…

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Now accepting reservations for all rooms at Crawfish Madarao.

We hope to see you soon!

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Madarao Moutain Resort open!

…and Crawfish Madarao Lodge, too!!


How beautiful is this place?! Today Jake and I took a break to check out the activities and check with the main hotel and ski resort about discounts and other information for our guests. It was a beautiful day with lots of fresh snow and about half of the lifts running.

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It was my first time to really see the mountain and understand the design. I think it is an excellent set-up for families and groups with all ski levels. At the main hotel (Madarao Kogen Hotel), there is childcare available and a free kids park which includes a gentle slope for sledding/tubing and a guard watching so that too many people don’t go at once. There is also an area that’s flatter for making snowmen and probably forts when there is more snow. From there, “big kids” can also ski/board down to the first lift. If you are a beginner like me, you will only use this lift and go up and down the modest hill all day (the hill is behind Jake and Fio in the photo above). The serious stuff starts from the bottom of that bunny hill (where Jake is gazing!). Today the higher lifts weren’t open, but apparently you can see the ocean from the peak!! There is also a tree course and a few other ungroomed courses for powder junkies. There is a half pipe for boarders that should be open this weekend as well. There are 25 courses in all and 17 lifts. An all day lift pass is only 4200 and kids under 11 can ride all the lifts for FREE! We asked about discounts and found that you can buy a meal and lift pass in advance by registering online. This is 4300 and includes 1000 yen cert for the restaurant (good soba! and beer is also available), so it’s like 900 yen off. You’ll have to “sign up” at the Madarao ski website by clicking the pink button on this page and sending an empty email (Japanese only). If you stay with us at Crawfish, we’ll help you sign up! 🙂

We are CRAZY busy putting on the final touches to be ready for open tomorrow. Everything is 90% for three rooms, but those last details seem like so much. All the big stuff is done though: heat and hot water, beds, toilets, jacuzzis, carpets and drapes. I am cleaning and doing laundry all day with the babe on my back, but it was nice to take a break at the mountain and see other people enjoying the beautiful surroundings today. We just put up the Crawfish sign out front and still have a lot of shoveling to do (the snow got too high for the snow blower, so we need to shovel once before we can really use it!).

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We have rooms open from this weekend onward. Only one Jacuzzi room left on the 2nd and 3rd! If you are free at the beginning of the year and want a last-minute getaway, try Crawfish Madarao! You will NOT be disappointed!

For reservations email myself or my husband. or

And check out the Crawfish Madarao English website for some more detail on pricing and services.

Also on FACEBOOK! 

Poison the host, stop the parasite

As I type this entry my mother is preparing for her first of many chemotherapy infusions. Chemo-therapy, chemical therapy. And later we may try radiation. It sounds so crazy. Especially after the last two years of people screaming over radiation risk and mutant bees and fish and inedible cucumbers and even today people asking if I am really comfortable drinking the water in Tokyo. Now my mother is putting toxins into her body intentional and will likely zap it with some radiation as well.

I found a strange way of embracing these poisonous methods. Years ago when someone’s body fought off disease by heating up, many doctors believed the heat would kill the patient and would bleed them. We’ve come to realize that it is actually the bodies ingenious design. It will heat up until the intruder is gone or dormant and then return to normal. People have died of fevers, but many more died of bleeding out and among them may have been people who could have lived through the intruder but not the doctor’s knife. I guess I see chemotherapy as a man-made evolution of that natural defense of the body.  So that is how I see it, accept it, embrace it.

I hope that I will come to thank chemotherapy and the great doctors at Mayo Clinic years from now when my daughter still knows her grandma.  I like to think that way, that the extended time is real and can be long, but I know that even a few years would be a true blessing (as have the 31 years I’ve had with her already! Surviving childbirth is another thing that humans have improved on!). I suppose I should be grateful even to see my mother again at all, or that I could have the knowledge of her illness to cherish each conversation a little more. I am so grateful that she had the sense to get her body checked out at the first sign of suspicion. If she hadn’t discovered the cancer, she may have died suddenly in a matter of months with no more symptoms than a smaller waistline and some mild cramps.

On the other hand, now she may suffer and still not have extended time. I appreciate the time for closure, but I don’t have any regrets and though we’ve had our share of fights and we still bicker on occasion, my mother knows how much she means to me and how much I admire her (she taught me to be open and celebrate the things I have and the people I love and let them know). So, if we could see the future and know that this treatment won’t work and will just give her the same time with more pain, vomiting, hairloss, lethargy and God knows what else, maybe we would look back at the great times we had the month before she was diagnosed and say, “Ignorance is bliss”. But she has decided that even though that is possible, the possibility of that is the bet she has to place on a longer a life. Though doing nothing might result in less pain, it is a much more certain and near death.

I can’t get over how amazing my mother is and how well she is handling everything. She has such a lightness of being about her current prognosis. She is so upbeat and positive. I am so incredibly amazed by her and in awe of her strength and positivity. I KNOW positivity and calm are probably two of the best natural medicines for this situation, but if I were in her position, I fear I couldn’t keep it up like she has, just taking it all in stride. I want to quote an email she sent a couple days ago as a PostScript to another email about her morning plans:

I DID just realize that I can’t have a protein drink in the morning.  Can’t have anything until around noon or later when they put the port in!!!!!   EAT EAT EAT Starve starve starve.  Follow directions.  Follow the yellow brick road.  I do feel a bit like I fell down the rabbit hole.  Need to read Alice in Wonderland again.  Didn’t she get small & then big.

Don’t worry.  Your mom still has a grip on reality.

I can hear her saying it and almost crossing her eyes as her head rolls in a circle and her tongue comes out crooked. In fact, I know exactly where I have captured that face in an image, but I will keep that image to myself and those who can picture it. 🙂

So, as my mother sits down in the room that will become all too familiar and she hooks up to those medicines for the first time, I pray that it is just the right balance of poisoning the intruder and sparing the host. I also pray that whatever happens, she never regrets fighting. Actually, I am confident she won’t. So what I really mean to say, if I’m honest, is that I pray cancer doesn’t give me the chance to resent that she fought so hard and lost some good time. She must live and get some more good time. I really want to hug her again and see that goofy expression and let my daughter be held by her grandmother. I am praying for her, but I am really praying for all of us around her…

Poison the host, stop the parasite, save my mother!



The dangers and joys of a big screen TV


The kids are mesmerized!

…until they hear the camera click!


Milestones : baby chair


Now Mom can use the bathroom even when she is out with baby alone! …and even if the baby doesn’t sit in the seat properly… Next sitting milestone… Grocery cart!

Energy efficient cars : uncomfortably quiet

I am definitely in favor or renewable energy, but I am not a fan of a 1800 pounds of steel gliding down the road, turning corners like it’s on rails and pulling out of parking spots …silently. 

There are a lot of narrow roads in Tokyo and despite there being millions of people who walk on them, there is not always enough room for cars and people (sometimes not even for the cars without people). As the popularity of the Toyota Prius and then other hybrid and even electric vehicles have soared, so has my anxiety about them. Am I the only one? I hate to add a sound. Like that obnoxious shutter on a cell camera, but after a few years everyone is used to it. With my baby, I even welcome it because she likes the noise …and the flash, and anything bright, colorful or rhythmic. 

Your thoughts?

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“Those mommies are always following me around and trying to take pictures, especially when I have a scratch on my nose and my hair is a complete mess!” -Fio Hosokura