Today was essentially a “make it up as you go” kind of day. I was supposed to meet up with the apartment manager guy, Makoto-san, for some interesting sights and a visit to a real Japanese Onsen hot spring bath. Because of his work schedule and other logistical problems, it wasn’t exactly the most productive day I’ve spent here. We did a little shopping, he took me through the “Otaku Heaven” of Nakano Broadway mall where there is so much manga and anime stuff I thought my head would split! Speaking of which, since in the apartment the air conditioner blows right down on me at night, I seem to have developed a cold.
After a little rest while he went out to take care of some other business. he picked me up in his car and we were off to the Hot Spring. It ended up being quite a ways away, so we drove for what seemed like forever. BUT, there was an absolutely beautiful sunset and at one point I had my very first view of Mount Fuji—AWESOME! Two years ago the weather was so bad it was always either cloudy or raining so I never saw it. It’s truly inspiring and I’ve GOT to come back and tour Hakone next time—and someday climb to the top.
The hot spring was also awesome. I think the Japanese really understand how to bathe. It was so relaxing and actually helped my cold a little. I wish we had these back home—I really enjoyed it. Of course, most americans would blanch at the idea of getting naked and soaking in a tub with strangers (the sexes are separated), but I thought it was great. I think I lost that fear after my time living in Europe. Anyway, after a lovely soak for over an hour, I finished off with the traditional bottle of milk, drunk with one hand on my hip (see any anime with a hot spring visit in it…). On the way home, we stopped for Yaki-niku (grilled meat) which you do at your own table. It was tasty and the restaurant was a really cool, modern design. When I got home, I dropped off to a relaxing sleep, though it was pretty late.
Now that I’ve discovered the relaxing time that can be had at an onsen, I’m even sadder that it’s almost time to go home…