Monday, May 21, 2007

Day 6 - Did I hear someone call their swami stupid?

The next stop on our long journey was to take a bus to board a pirate ship… the Victory!

There were many more foreign tourists on this boat than we had seen on the whole trip. But who wouldn’t want to sail on a pirate ship, right? The ride was also very windy. Here are some photos that illustrate the journey.

The funniest line of the trip occurred while we were at one of the stops. There was a group of older Indian tourists traveling together, and as I went to the restroom, I heard a woman exclaim, “The swami left the boat! He is SO stupid!” and she ran off to get him. Good times!

We had a lunch of soba and udon at a local eatery, where an old lady with a bad wig served us tea. She reminded me of Sofia from Golden Girls, and really wanted to watch TV. But the food was good and the mountain vegetables in the soup were delicious.

Rob was still hungry, so he stopped by another shop he had seen earlier.

Bratwurst in Japan! Rob said it was very tasty.

We took another bus to an ancient teahouse down the road. It is famous for serving Amasake, a sweet rice wine that was perfect after our journey.

We got back to the ryokan, where we checked in and got our room. It was much bigger than we had thought and it was like being in a treehouse. The ryokan, Kansuiro, was like a rabbit warren, pieces being added on over the years. It’s not in the best condition, but it had character and was still very comfortable.

One of the things we had been looking forward to was soaking in the hot springs. We took quite a journey getting to the outdoor baths, which were right next to a river.

There are strict rules while using a communal bath. In a Japan bath, you wash yourself outside of the bath and enter the tub nice and clean. You also have a “privacy towel”, which you use to scrub yourself down and cover your private parts while walking around. However, the privacy towel cannot touch the bathwater, so most people put them on their heads.

The women were separated by the men, and I went to go visit Rob in the men’s bath. It was much bigger and nicer than the women’s bath (all of the men’s facilities were nicer and bigger in the ryokan, by the way). Rob was by himself so I got into the bath. I was in there maybe a minute and a man (we called him “skinny guy”) walked in. In horror, I jumped out of the bath but left my privacy towel on my head! I quickly changed while skinny guy politely turned around. Poor skinny guy – he must have been mortified.

And to top it off, Huay accidentally took a photo of skinny guy over the wall.

Before dinner, we took a photo of us in our yukatas.

Next, a meal that was beautifully made and enjoyed by all.


yumi said...

Oh, that's funny about the onsen with Rob and "skinny man" and the picture "accidently" taken of "skinny" man. The room at the ryokan reminds me of Obachan's house.

MinaG said...

The ryokan looks great, how nice that you can experience modern Japan as well as the traditional side. You all look great in the yukatas!

Anonymous said...

oh wow, you must be the first ever person to barge into and use an onsen for males. Poor chap. Wonder what went on in his mind... there's lots of rules to using a onsen and I won't be surprised if he had a nasty shock. Like you wrote, 'There are strict rules while using a communal bath'. If you prefer, most ryokans now offer 'family bath' for small groups or couples to soak together for a small fee or sometimes free.

Vanda said...

We actually WALKED the Tokaido highway from the place where the pirate boat moored to that tea house. The mochis were VERY welcome!

Gah, I miss Japan :)