Monday, March 8, 2010

Thursday- Ginzan Onsen and Tokyo

to the left

I managed to sleep until five, and then got up to monkey with the photos from the night before- I wanted to see if any post processing could make some of the user-error of my nighttime photos, and write down about the day before.  I worked for about an hour, and then Tim got up and I crawled back into bed to get warm (I had been sitting next to the window)

I rested for awhile, then got back ready for the hot spring, and went down for the bath. It was blue sky again in the morning, so the view was great.

We had our last breakfast:

We got back to the room, got dressed, and cleaned up our stuff.  We checked out, and had about two hours to kill before our driver came to get us. Tim went back into the town, to check things out, and I stayed at the hotel, writing and listening to music.

As tiny as Ginzan Onsen is, (and it's small) it is really beautiful.  The service at the ryokan was fantastic- even though there was a pretty large language barrier, Tim and I were definitely able to communicate with a few shared words, a lot of gestures, and facial expressions.  Everyone we ran into there, from the tiny Japanese old lady who giggled  at Tim for being so tall to the couple at the next table over at dinner who heard us speaking English and kept smiling and waving at us and trying to speak to us in Japanese were excessively kind and friendly.  In retrospect, it could have been a very terrible and isolating situation- two English speaking American amidst a sea of Japanese-only speaking staff and guests- but it never felt that way.  We were welcomed, and treated very kindly, despite a few looks of surprise and curiosity at the ganjin that were invading their hotel.

After a 40 minute ride to the airport, we  had some truly lackluster (uh, spoiled much?!) udon noodles and coffee, which Tim thought was so bad that it assaulted him. (he added four packets of sugar to an espresso size cup and claimed it was drinkable) I did not object to my coffee nearly as much as he did, as mine came with a scoop of ice cream over my iced coffee. Ice cream can cover a lot of bitter coffee sins.

terrible iced coffee float 2

I opened up my computer to see if there was any wifi, and lo! THere was! So we hopped online and checked email and facebook for the first time since monday. Our plane boarded, and it was a quick 40 minute flight back to Haneda Airport. After walking the entire length of the bus terminal, we found our bus port, was informed it would be a 20 minute wait, and headed back into the airport to wait. We found a convenience store, and bought some snacks for our friends to try- Gentlemen's pocky, Wasabi and green tea kit kats,  and Tim found the waffle flavored snacks that I loved so much! (I had completely missed them, RIGHT NEXT to the pocky I had picked up)

Also found at the airport: in the bathroom stall, a small child restraining device that you can put the kidlet in, while you are doing your business. Handy!
child restraining device in the bathroom

We got on the bus, and began the hour trek back into the city.  Once we got back and settled into the hotel, I tried to repack a little (not so successful) and then we headed out to the city to get something to eat. It was raining, and we were tired, and we both had a case of the don't-know-what-we-want-to-eat itis after walking around for far longer than we wanted to, we indescriminately picked a place that had some medium food, but some great drinks. I had a lychee drink with seltzer and some kind of liquor, and Tim had a grapefruit drink that was really awesome.  We finished our drinks, and headed back to the hotel to crash.
kind of what the restuant felt like

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