Kombanwa (Good Evening),
How is everybody? Let me say that it was pretty great to talk to my dad and aunts and uncles on Father's Day! Skype is so good, so good.
So I had a really cool weekend. Lemme start on Friday night and work through Monday. Sound good? Okay.
I've always been a person who enjoys Friday nights. Whether it was in junior high begging my parents to let me go to the football games or chilling with the boys after Little Caesars in high school, Friday just seems like the most appropriate night to go out and do something. So when Friday rolls around in the Land of the Rising Sun, I think my attitude towards them remains the same. At any rate, I decided that a trip to the sushi bar was a splendid idea for my night. Then, I would hang out around Big Hop, cruise on my two-wheeler, and jam to some music. I invited the girls but they weren't necessarily "feeling it." That didn't stop me. I made it to the sushi bar (about 20 min bike ride) and walked in. I think the people there get a kick out of me. There are probably so few "gaijin" or foreigners who eat there... During the day and early evening, sushi is displayed on a conveyor belt that winds throughout the restaurant. Then, you just check out the different plates and snatch what you like. Since I didn't arrive until about 7:15, they didn't have any sushi on the belt. That's okay though, ordering it makes it even more tastier and fun. I gave my man behind the counter a nod and pointed to a platter combination on the menu. Here's a video of my experience and new favorite place in Inzai...
After sushi, I grabbed my bike and headed for the Big Hop mall. It's pretty cool at night, especially when it's not raining. I usually don't really buy anything at the mall. Strolling suits me just fine. Friday nights aren't too busy. I got to the middle of the mall, sat out by one of the many fountains, and played some Solitaire--is that ironic, appropriate, or both? Oh yeah, I also snagged a Toblerone from the candy store. I know how to do it UPPP! haha. I traveled back home and read for the rest of my night. A couple pics:
Big Hop. me enjoying Toblerone by the fountain.
This weekend, we hadn't made any concrete plans. Since we traveled into Tokyo midweek, we all agreed that we should probably hang around here for the weekend.
I had heard much talk about Japanese hot springs or onsen. Onsen are super popular here. I read about the certain etiquette and procedures that one needs to follow. I thought it sounded pretty relaxing and talked to Keiko and Minako a bit about it. They had been a few times and said that they are pretty nice. I asked the girls if they wanted to go but the politely declined...
Perhaps four years ago I would have been a bit more apprehensive about the whole nudity thing that coincides with onsen etiquette. The thing is, when you go to these places, no one really cares that you are even there. They don't stare at each other. They don't make you feel awkward. Plus, I don't know ANY of them. Bonus!!! I went for it. And...
I don't regret it. In fact, I recommend it!
It was incredibly relaxing. The water in the big hot springs (inside) is actually trucked in from the northern part of Japan. It was sort of grayish but smelled really nice. I'm not sure what minerals were in the water but it said it was "good for aches and pains." The outside part had two smaller, round tubs. One had crystal clear warm water and the other had freezing cold water. They also had a sauna and a little garden area. I rotated between the four things and spent about an hour and a half. Here's a pic I found on wikipedia on the onsen page. It shows what a typical washing area looks like. You are required to wash and rinse extremely well before entering the hot springs... Some pics say 2,000 words...
I hope you are "cracking" up. haha.
Anyways, On Sunday morning we went to church with Minako. Every Sunday, we leave the kindergarten by 8:30 and then spend about an hour in the mall across the street from the church. I usually go to Starbucks and read/listen to music. Then, the church service starts at 10:30 and last until about 11:45. Then we go back over to the mall, eat lunch, and then buy our groceries for the week.
We went out for dinner with the Nishimuras for Father's Day. It was a cool traditional place just down the road from the kindergarten. We sat on the tatami mats, low table, legs crossed and all. It was great food and a great time...
That brings me to Monday. Here is a quick video of a class I was in on Monday morning:
Kiddies in class.
me with the kids!
Thanks again for reading!!!!