Sunday, January 13, 2013

In Japan: Be Back Soon!

Sorry for the silence...we are in Japan traveling right now, and thus I still don't have regular access to a computer. It's been a great trip so far: R saw snow for the first time (it was love at first sight), we got our sins cleansed by going through a pitch-black tunnel in the bowels of an ancient Buddhist temple, and we journeyed deep into the countryside to stay at a 300-year-old traditional inn.

The inn used to be the retreat for the Akita nobility (yes, like the dog, which is native to this part of Japan) and was built on a natural hot spring. Guests get unlimited access to the outdoor and indoor pools, which are filled with milky white mineral water. Sitting in the perfectly warm water as snowflakes fell on my head was an incredible experience, and because the inn is so traditional I was able to share it with B and R (they have mixed bathing, which since all hot spring bathing in Japan is done nude is not standard thanks to Western influence: 19th Century missionaries and their hangups!).
I like Japan even if I have to wear a coat here!
Now we are in Kitakami, a small city whose main claim to fame seems to be having one of the "100 Best Cherry Blossom Viewing Areas in Japan". We're here so that I could see the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hiraizumi, which I spent all day doing. (It was really awesome.)

Tomorrow we are off to our final destination, a small town famous for its castle and samurai history. Then it's back to Singapore (boo, I love Japan).

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