Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Day 6: Chickurintei Ryokan, Takeoonsen

Day 6: Chickurintei Ryokan, Takeoonsen

Weather:  It did not cool off much last night, and did not warm up much today, comfortably in the high 60s, maybe a bit warmer in the sun

Pictorial Pop Quiz #6: So, what is this in Japanese?

Take a walk around the property this morning before breakfast. Has THB become a slug after 5 or 6 days of travel, eating and little exercise? We’ll find out in a few days when the Kumano Kodo walk begins. (Note: Actually, THB finds out later today)

It’s pretty on the mountain:

And, this is what a light on the water looks like during the day:

Breakfast is extra good this morning; something to do with exercising instead of soaking beforehand? Y and YT join us, which will be the norm for the two days here, we’ll take our breakfasts and dinners together in our “living” room, with a view of the garden.

THB has been practicing a position of eating at a low table for weeks now, and it seems to be paying off. His knee and hip joints aren’t aching (mind you, THB is not exactly in a deep yoga position…or a shallow one either).

In the morning we drive to Arita (known for porcelain work) to see several very upscale ceramicists followed by a visit to a town where a large number of stores display mostly production lines for sale. Not THB’s thing and eventually he wanders around outside, dreaming of …. dreaming of…. Who knows? Baseball, most likely.

Pop Pop Quiz: and this is....?

Utility box:

Pop pop answer: a paperless coffee filter?

Lunch at our second choice (the first is closed Tuesdays), for udon done a couple of different ways; $25 for four.

After lunch, a longish drive to the Shrine of the Fox, one of many in Japan. This one is considered the number 2 or 3 shrine, maybe 4, known for its many torii (gates); the top one is in Kyoto, and we hope to visit it at the end of the trip.
Inari = Fox

The gates, THB, DB and Y walk through them all, all the way to the top of the mountain, YT stays behind (he is NOT a hiker). THB is feeling in Kumano Kodo shape afterwards, even doing the hike in his city shoes!

A sponsor of the rest stop at top of the gates

Drive back to Takeoonsen for yet another hot springs experience. THB soaks for longer than usual, then spends a lot of time tossing cold water on himself, thus feeling much refreshed. Well, at least feeling more righteous.

Back in time for tea, and some time to catch up on the blog and do a bit of reading (and looking up how the Jays did vs the Royals…a boy can dream, can’t he?).

During the drive today, we discussed tipping in Japan. Basically, never is the norm (even though several times at the Ritz-Carlton we thought someone was waiting for a tip….YT said they weren’t). However, we agree at YT’s urging that both couples give gratuities to the two women serving our meals. YT has found out their average age is 30 (one is 40, the other 20, and at first we thought they were both closer to 30). They are delightful (meaning they laugh at YT’s jokes/explanations), courteous, attentive, and delightful (meaning they are cheerful even when YT isn’t making a joke or two).

Donna and Y present the gratuities (as is the custom in Japan, in envelopes with matching sealing stickers), and the women are very gracious, accepting while explaining that the gratuities are not expected, service at the ryokan (and in Japan as well) is included. They accept, and everybody parts delighted!

Dinner en suite again, with YT and Y joining us. As last night, the meal is extraordinary. Here are a few pics, no words needed:

Pictorial Pop Quiz #6 answer: Chickurintei translated is bamboo forest, and the picture is taken just next to the front door of the ryokan!

Signage for the day: sorry, didn't catch the password....

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