Last night I got naked and soaked in a natural hot spring with a bunch of Japanese women. How’s that for an opening line in a blog post? Now that I have shocked half of you, intrigued a few and caused at least 3 of my relatives to pass out… let me catch you up on a few other things before I explain my onsen experience (which was really awesome by the way).
Let’s go back to New Year’s Day. Apryl, Chris and I travelled to the Emperor’s Palace to hear the New Year’s greeting from the Emperor.
Most people are off the entire week of New Year’s. It is a HUGE holiday and everyone celebrates. Another cool thing about New Year’s is that all the store have “grab bags”. You pay whatever price it lists and they are closed so you can’t see what is in them. We all went shopping and spent 1,000 yen on a grab bag. Then we exchanged them as sort of a late Christmas/Happy New Year’s!
Shibuya is the “happenin'” part of Toyko. We hopped the train and headed to Shibuya for a night of eating (we do that a lot), drinking and taking in Toyko. If you have ever seen a movie that shows a really busy intersection in Tokyo, that is in Shibuya. People are everywhere… apologizing as the knock into you headed wherever they are going.
One Saturday we went to a party for the people of Fukushima. The devastation from the tsunami is worse than I ever imagined. Chris and I watched live coverage of the tsunami from Hawaii but being here we have learned much more about how truly, truly tragic it was. Entire trains full of people trying to escape were tossed off the tracks with no survivors. I can’t imagine that type of terror. We went to a party to eat, talk with some of the survivors that had to relocate and do crafts with the children. A school in Washington state sent letters, crafts and other things to the children of Fukushima. I got pretty choked up reading the letters from the children. Their letters were so pure and innocent. They honestly cared for the people that were effected by the tsunami. If only we as adults kept that pureness and love with us as we age. A child’s spirit is sometimes the only thing that can bring a smile in such trying times.
Apryl is super duper crafty so she is making a lot of cool things for the babies. She is making new covers for her baby carriers and wanted some Japanese prints. So went to a fabric district which was store after store of fabrics and craft stores. JoAnn Fabrics would be ashamed if they had a shop here.
Coming Of Age Day is when boys and girls that have turned 20 the past year all go to the temple dressed in full kimono for a ceremony. We went to a very old Temple in Kamukura and it was such a cool experience. After the temple we went to see a HUGE Buddha that was constructed 1500 years ago. Amazing.
Well, I know I opened with promises of nakeness and my first onsen experience but we are leaving soon to celebrate our friend Aya’s birthday. Chris has been practicing his ocarina to play for her. After dinner we may hit up a karaoke bar! Which I can’t wait for. So it looks like you will just have to wait a little longer for my Mount Fuji and onsen stories. We are loving life here and learn something new everyday. I hope you all are beating the winter blahs and trying new things in your own backyard. Life’s too short not to be learning, loving and playing in God’s playground.