Fairly recently a couple of people asked me if I have written any more blog posts. Of course, my answer was no. So, since I am at the airport waiting for my flight to NY, I figured I’d write about some Japan adventures. First let me update on how I’m feeling these days… Very content and comfortable. Misawa has definitely become my home, and I am happy. I really love this country, or at least what I have seen and experienced. I know some people hate it here, and I think it might just be because they are like hardcore American or they are not generally open to things that are different than they’re used to. And that’s fine. I just don’t relate to that. So yeah, big change from when I first got to Misawa.
A lot of time has passed since I have written last, so I’m not sure where to begin…
I’ll start with camping late August. I met my friends out at Lake Towada, which is about an hour drive. Camping is kind of a big thing in the Aomori Prefecture. It probably is elsewhere too, but I have not been to other prefectures, so I wouldn’t know. Camping in Japan is very different from camping in the US. First of all, the Japanese are more into “glamping” than actually roughing it in the woods. Most places require that you stay on a campground where you can drive up to the spot you want to pitch your tent, or there are cabins you can rent. I wasn’t there, but the first night my friends were there, they just found a random spot by the lake, and they ended up getting in trouble. It is also illegal to collect firewood at a national park. So what you do is go to a little building where you pay for however many nights you plan to stay, and you can rent a fire pit. You can also buy kindling there, but we bought it elsewhere, like Homac, which is basically the Japanese version of Home Depot. Of course Homac is much nicer. Also at this little building, you can buy ramen, other food items, and drinks. You can also rent chairs.
You don’t hike to your camping spot, so everyone has heavy, giant tents. I have seen a lot of people put cots in their tents too. We just had sleeping bags and lightweight tents. They also usually bring their own little (or big) grill. I have seen people bring those grills to beaches too. Oh, it’s also popular to bring a little tent to the beach to keep away from the sun. How smart…
So at the campsite there are cabins that have bathrooms in them, so you don’t just go in the woods. There are also lamp posts around, which is kind of annoying. It is difficult to get that woodsy experience if that is what you are looking for. I had fun anyway. My group of friends are really great. Unfortunately Dan didn’t come because he was on nights at the time and didn’t want to be up all night while everybody was sleeping. I ended up not sleeping much at all, so I guess he wouldn’t have been alone. Oh well. We ate MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) and it was actually good! I think I had pesto chicken pasta. A lot comes in the MRE. Dessert, a drink, coffee, bread, etc. I think you can buy them anywhere, even though it’s more of a military thing. Anyway, the little amount of sleep I got was disturbed at like 0600 by an American woman shouting out orders to the group of kids she had with her… The Japanese are quiet people, so it is embarrassing when Americans are loud and rude. It makes every American look bad.
Right by Lake Towada is the Oirase Gorge. It’s so green and pretty there. There’s a river that runs through the forest, and there are a couple of waterfalls.
I’m on the plane right now, watching The Good Dinosaur. It’s cute, but not very entertaining. And I think a little boy and a dinosaur just got high off of rotten plums that they ate. That was odd… There was this psychedelic scene where they both grew multiple eyes, and the boy’s head was on the dinosaur’s body, and the dinosaur’s head was on the boy’s body. I usually like the subtleties in Disney movies that are for adults, but this wasn’t subtle at all.
Another side note, the bathroom on this plane is big! I was surprised when I walked in. I’m flying on ANA. Whenever I flush airplane toilets I brace myself for impact because when I was little I always thought it was scary. It’s so loud! It’s not scary anymore though.
Okay so what else other than camping… Oh man! I forgot that this happened… Dan, Ryan, Jackson, and I went to Morioka. It’s like two and a half hours away. I think that’s really far for a day trip, but that’s just me. I drove and was booking it. The speed limit on the highway was like 70 kilometers per hour, and I was going like 150 kph. Whoops. It’s just so slow! And I wanted to make the trip as short as possible. It’s different in Japan than in the US. There aren’t police waiting on the side of the highway waiting to catch you speeding. This is probably because people tend to follow the rules. The speed limit is slow but it makes sense because there are way less fatalities due to car accidents than in America. I usually don’t go over the speed limit that much. It was really just because it was a longer trip. And I had a fast car. The Subaru Forresters in Japan have a freaking turbo engine. It’s awesome. Speaking of cars, they have sone funny names for some. Like That’s. There is a car called “That’s.” I think that’s hilarious. Other fun facts about driving in Japan… There is no roadkill! And I never see any animals. On the sides of the road where there is construction, instead of cones, there are barricades with plastic giraffes, bears, ducks, and hello kitty. It’s cute. And you know how there are usually people waving a flag to slow down or be aware that there is road work being done? THEY HAVE ROBOTS. Except they look like people and they wear the same thing that the real people do that work on the roads. So occasionally there is a live person and it freaks me out because you expect to see a robot, and then bam, it’s moving.
Anyway, Morioka. We went to a Gamesuko place which is like a thrift shop with clothes, accessories, toys, video games, phones, manga, anime stuff, etc. They’re pretty cool. We ended up spending more time there than we had wanted to though. So I’m just walking around, minding my own business, when a middle-aged woman approaches me. I have no idea what she is saying other than “police” and “questioning”. I was trying to think if I did anything wrong, and I was sure I didn’t, other than speeding over there. But how would they know? I’m a good person!
She crouched down next to me and imitated taking a picture of my shorts. I wasn’t really sure what to think. I thought maybe my shorts were too short? So she takes her phone out to use a translator. She typed something in and there popped up “voyeur.” I was very confused… Then she typed man with blue shirt. Then “secret picture.” She pointed to the man in the blue shirt talking to the police. TURNS OUT that this dude was following me around taking pictures of my bum! My shorts weren’t even that short! I ain’t no hooch. I guess this woman saw him and called the police. This dude was going to jail. I was surprised, because I don’t think cops would do that to a pervert in America. I wouldn’t know. So the cops wanted me to stick around for questioning even though they did not speak English. They asked for my ID and I was thinking, “Wait, am I in trouble?” They just wanted my name and where I was from. They made the man apologize to me, and let me tell you, I have never seen someone bow down so low. He was crying. Probably because he knew he was in a lot of trouble. The whole thing was awkward. We were all just standing around waiting for it to be over. Dan was just like, “We can’t bring you anywhere!” I think that is a much better reaction than getting pissed off at the guy. When we walked out, we saw the police searching the guy’s car. That was an experience. We proceeded with our day walking around the malls in the area.
Oo! Another somewhat funny experience… I was invited to go hiking and go to a hot spring with my neighbor and somebody else that lives in our building. I’ve never hung out with these girls before, but they are nice and I want to make more friends. Plus I’ve been wanting to hike and go to a hot spring anyway, so this was perfect. For whatever reason, it takes a very long time to get to places, even if they aren’t even that far away. So we drove a long way to a mountain that we didn’t eve hike because it took too long to get there, so we decided to just find the hot spring. I didn’t mind just hanging out and talking in the car. I got to know the girls better and they are cool. So we go to the GPS coordinates of the hot spring, but we don’t see anywhere to park, nor do we see a trail. The only path we saw was one leading to what looked like a greenhouse or something. I figured it was just a thing on someone’s farm. We saw a man walk out of it, and I said, “Ok abort abort” and turned around. The girls noticed the man carrying a shower caddy thing though and said that must be the onsen. It turns out that it was an onsen, however, not the one we were looking for. The one we were looking for was public and you wore bathing suits. Not this one! There was a men’s side and a women’s side, meaning, you got naked. I barely even knew these girls, but we got close real quick haha. There were a couple of old women there at the time. What you have to do is bring soap to wash yourself before you get in. Luckily we did happen to have soap! So we were just kind of like oh well, I guess let’s just get in. We did drive all that way after all. So we got in and oooowee! It was hot! And it was naturally hot! I loved it. We were in a sulfur tub sort of thing. Our skin turned orange from the rock. We also got overheated pretty quickly. It’s hard to stay in there for a long time. I think I lasted 15 minutes if that. It was great though. Japanese people go to onsens everyday, usually at the end of their day. They are everywhere too. They are not all natural though. So that was my first experience at an onsen. Other places, bigger places that aren’t completely outdoors, have multiple pools with different temperatures. There’s one place nearby that provides you with everything: Towel, soap, shampoo and however long you want to stay for about 1500 yen, which is about 13 or 14 USD. Very cool. Well hot. But cool.
Shifting gears… I’m going back to NY for a month! Mugzy and Ashton are getting married!! I’m excited. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone I’ve been missing. I am overwhelmed by that though, because I want to be able to see everyone, but with the wedding and different parties, it will be difficult to, especially since those things are happening on weekends and most people are only off on the weekend. I really don’t want to upset anyone, but I think I am going to have to. I am usually a big people pleaser, but I don’t have much time back home, and I don’t think I will be visiting again until we are done in Japan.. The problem is that I want to be able to do everything and see everyone, and I don’t think that can happen.
I’m traveling alone, but Dan will join me in a couple of weeks and we will return together. Saying goodbye to him and Kumo felt difficult, even though it’s only two weeks away from Dan. I guess prior to getting married, we always had to say goodbye to each other, and that is something I never liked to do. Maybe I have some scarring from that haha. Now I get to see Dan everyday, so even two weeks seems like too much. Psh, back then, we would go a year without seeing each other. I’ve become spoiled.
About Kumo, it has taken some time, but me and him have become attached to each other. He’s my baby boy! I spend the majority of my days with him, and he follows me around everywhere in the house, lays on me to wake me up in the morning, and yells at me to play with him. I love that pup. I think he is attached to me because usually if I am gone, he will find something of mine and mess with it. One time he took every single pair of my shoes out of the closet, into the living room. Dan’s shoes were right next to mine, but he only took out mine. Well I guess that could mean that he either hates me or loves me. I don’t know. I was nervous about saying goodbye to him. I’m going to be away from him or over a month! I am worried that he is going to be sad or think that I abandoned him. Ciara (my roommate from college) brought up a good point and said that dogs think you abandon them when you go to the grocery store… So it won’t be all that different. I hope he doesn’t stop loving me! It took time to get where we are! I guess I’ll just have to see when I go back. For the time that Dan will be in NY, Kumo’s auntie Demi and uncle Edd will watch Kumo. They are the ones who have his sister and another husky who is a mammoth and a very good boy. Kumo loves all of them, so I know he will be happy. I just hope he behaves for them. For the longest time Kumo refused to poop anywhere else but our balcony. A couple of months ago he finally started pooping on walks and only on walks, but I am worried that because he isn’t all that used to their home, he is going to just randomly go. Uy, I hope not. Last time they watched him, he wasn’t neutered yet and he kept marking around their house. I felt terrible. Anyway, I am going to miss him a lot. But I know he will be in good hands.
The reason I won’t see Kumo for over a month is because Dan and I plan to spend a few days in Tokyo with some friends when we get back! Halloween in Tokyo! I’m excited for that. Dan has been working on his Marty McFly costume for a while, and now he finally gets to wear it. I think I will be Wonder Woman.
Well, there is turbulence and I am currently trying to accept my death or that I might puke, so that’s all I’ll write for this one. I’ll write soon. And soon most likely means after my trip 🙂
As always, thanks for reading all of my silly thoughts!