If there is such a place up there somewhere… I hope it’s a Ryokan. For those who don’t know, a Ryokan is a Japanese style inn. I had the pleasure of traveling to Nikko with Maho for a two night stay at a ryokan. There were traditional tatami mats, open air hot springs and wild deer roaming the streets galore. The day before we left, we met up with Maho’s sister, Eri, in Ginza for some fine rice wrapped in seaweed. Flipping through the menu, something immediately caught my eye…. Whale.
This won’t help anyone back home… but whale is very similar to horse, in texture and in taste. Somewhat stringy and a little gamey. Not bad, but I don’t think i’ll be ordering it next time. After a copious ammount of raw fish and rice, it was off to the most famous and most expensive fruit shop in Japan. Remember that episode where the Simpsons go to Japan and Homer buys the square water melon? Well this shop has them in the summer. I’m talking a hundred plus for 6 peaches ( I can’t forget to mention the very cool wooden box the come in). I had the mixed fruit juice.
The following day, Maho and I left for Nikko. The whole place has been a world heritage site since around 2000 if my memory of that plaque is correct. We didn’t have ideal weather, but that was made up for with one un-freaking-believable incident. Across the road for the station where some nice maple trees in beautiful red, husky colours. As I was happily snapping away with my trusty fujifilm, I noticed a white person standing next to me, intrigued, I looked over. It was the french germ Jeremy! We were both on the same exchange programme last year in Kyoto and stayed in the same dorm! Talk about coincidences. It also turned out that he and his girlfriend stayed in the same ryokan as us. As our shuttle bus was waiting to take us to the ryokan, out reunion was cut short. We will be making plans to meet up in Tokyo a little later on.
After we got settle in the ryokan, we decided to head to the famous shrines nearby. By that time however, it was pretty dark, so we headed back for a nice dip in the hot springs. This was followed by an ice cold beer… heaven I tell you.
The following day we heading further into the hills to Oku-Nikko, where we saw one of Japan’s three great waterfalls.
Kegon Falls. 97 metres of falling water and negative ions, fun and refreshing. We walking around Chuzenji Lake, admiring the hovering fog behind us that seemed to shy to follow us. After some Nikko Noodles, or ‘nudels’ as spelled at one joint, it was back to the ryokan for me hot times.
Our last day was spent wondering around the grounds of the world heritage shrines that were a short walk from the ryokan. I don’t have the pictures just yet, I might upload some with the next post. I will say however, that at one shrine, is the stable of one of the imperial families horse. This stead is a gift from New Zealand. Very cool. I’m afraid however, that it may have well already been eaten. Nuricious.
I did find some cookie monkikkies, uki monster’s favourite.
Friday, I made my way to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine.
There was not much to the place. It was mostlt old people and suits. I did get to taste Japanese Nationalism in a way they do best, the mixing of indirect subtlety with a complete lack of remorse. I don’t know what I was expecting in a museum on the grounds of Yasukuni… an experience to say the least.
I went for a stroll through a nearby park which happened to be adjacent to the imperial palace.
Also! most reading this blog would have heard of or know Alex very well, well, I met with the crazy funking monkey tonight. We managed to find a place with 生ビール for 157yen!! It was a pleasure to drink with you sir! and yes, keep the tequila chilled for me in Kansai.
Tomorrow I make the journey to Kyoto. I don’t think Kyoto is ready for this…
Also, Yokohama is the shizzle.