I didn’t know that when students in Hokkaido learn to ski they call the way you angle your skis: the “ha” shape.
The “ha” shape looks like this: ハ。 And it’s called “ha” because that’s how you pronounce the character in Japanese. It also refers to how you’re supposed to angle your skis when skiing down a slope! Skiing was amazing, and the students and teachers kept shouting “ha no ji,” meaning “the ha shape” as they skiied past. I’ve never been skiing in the U.S., but my guess is this would just be called a “v”.
The students went to a ski school and I got to go with them. But looking back going skiing at least once before probably would not have been a bad idea. One of my JTEs helped me learn the basics. I felt bad because he was outside in the cold teaching me how to ski when he could have been inside. But he along with all the other teachers were amazingly patient, and my students didn’t laugh too much when I fell on my face countless times.
My biggest challenge was stopping, which was really scary when I was flying down a slope. The students kept telling me to ski slowly, but I had no idea how to slow down. Even with my skis in the “ha no ji,” and me bearing as much weight as possible onto the skis, it was still too fast. In fact, it was a great chance for them to teach me how to ski, and I learned something new about them. It was so much fun and hopefully I’ll get to go again.