A Travellerspoint blog

Mt. Fuji! (is covered in clouds) Part 2

This morning we got up and got ready to see Mt Fuji AND! It was cloudy again. "Well, lets try and see what we can see," Mochan! suggested.

First Mt. Fuji Viewing Spot:
The Shinkansen (bullet train) in front of Mt. Fuji

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We couldn't see Mt. Fuji, and Eelke randomly asked if people were just allowed to grow their own food there since it looked kinda disorganized, and so Mochan! ran out to ask (always the good tour guide). And they are private gardens, but you have to get permits.

Second Stop:
Mt. Fuji viewing museum:

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Look how amazing Mt Fuji looked!
...

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And it was spring time!
...

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And we got to see the Shinkansen... and a dolphin cloud?

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And we made it all the way to the top and got these great shots of kids playing in the snow...

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Yeah, I took pictures of Mt. Fuji from the museum.

This is what Mt. Fuji looked like to use:

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(Its that thing inside the clouds)

Moving on, Mochan decided to move us on from Mt. Fuji to the "waterfalls" that Shizuoka is not famous for (sounds nice... with a hint of disappointed sarcasm)

2 Words (there is a poem/ story about that)
anyways,

2 Words:
A - Mazing!

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They just kept going! It was an entire canyon of waterfalls!

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And it had this surprisingly strong river flowing from its coral pond, and it was simply stunning.

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Then Mochan! started walking us to another waterfall through the canyon of waterfalls, and it was like we never had to leave the first group of waterfalls.

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"WOW"

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Mochan!... you really know how to make a slightly depressing day completely Awe- (and wait for it)... -Some! (Brittany has got me watching How I met your Mother, so I apologize for the Neil Patrick Harris-isms)

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I heart Mochan!

Bjarke and I standing over the river that flows over the falls:

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Next Mochan! took us back to Mt. Fuji to have lunch at the lake with a picturesque view of Mt. Fuji.

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That last one is of Mt. Fuji... yeah... I want to eat lunch back to the waterfalls.

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But at least it was warm here (very cold and windy at the waterfalls)

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And then, it was time, time to see if we could beet these clouds by climbing above them... with the Wish Bus!

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Its serious driving time!

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Especially because at parts you couldn't see 10 ft in front of you.

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But we made it to like 2,000 something or other, the highest point you can drive to.

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That path is for the hikers... yeah, good luck with that one. Eelke is cold, we have to get back down!

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Then Mochan! took us back down the mountain into town to tour the Sake factory. I guess he does this all the time, and the owner didn't speak any English, so Mochan! just took us inside and talked us through the entire process.

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Eelke was still freezing.

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They sealed the takes with old accounting notes, so you could really see how long these barrels were sealed off just by the paper being used.

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Then we got to go Sake tasting in the shop.

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We ate Sake candy (non alcoholic, just the left over rice made into squishy candies), and tasted all sorts of different aged and treated Sakes before buying 2 bottles of the 10 year old Sake (very young, but sweet tasting and kinda rose colored).

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(This is why we had to buy 2)

Then it was time, for our most momentous undertaking. Mochan! took us the a construction workers shop where all of us except for Joe and the Italian guy, bought Mochan! pants!

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(Back at Mochan!'s place:)

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We hung out for a bit (and shared the Sake like a good communal group would) after Mochan! made us all another wonderful meal. Eelke had Hitome give her a massage b/c she was a professional masseuse, and I gave up hope. "Sweetie, I really need this, so we can do the regression afterwords, okay?" "Yeah, sure, no hurry." I told her, but I didn't really mean it. I knew she was going to blow me off again. Then, after the massage was done, I walked up to Eelke and asked if she was all relaxed and ready, and she told me that they were actually going to head upstairs now so she could lye down and get a facial massage. Yeah, I guess not all of me believed that I was being blown off, because now I was pissed.

About an hour later, Eelke came down stairs and whispered for me to follow her out to the bus. All the guys were again very excited to know what the two of us needed to go to the bus for some private alone time, and we played it up.

I couldn't believe it, this was actually happening.

Relief swept over me. If she had blown me off, that would have been it. Every other spiritual experience would have been tainted by this last straw. I would never again believe in the supernatural. I would never want to. Now, I had hope. This wasn't going to be an awakening, but it was someone willing to try.

She put on some relaxing music, and had me lie down along the back seat. She started off by getting me in a relaxed state, holding no tensions in my mussels (I could have used a massage as well, but all I had to do was follow her lead, she was the one who needed to be tranquil to get me to where I was going).

I was relaxed, I was comfortable, I was thinking of a comfortable, tranquil location. I pictured myself on a grassy hill underneath a tree, gazing up at the stars. "Feel the sun warm your skin," she implored. Crap, no sun, what do I do?

I liked that she was not a professional at this, so small things like not realizing that someone's peaceful spot wasn't a meadow on a sunny day, can slip through. But I just made the sun peak out over the horizon, and I could feel the warmth of the sun begin to heat my body from the cold of the night air inside of the Wish Bus.

She kept getting me more and more comfortable, more and more relaxed, more and more distant from where my physical body was. Then she made something happen to me that no0one had been able to do ever before. I felt a surge of chi encompass my entire body! She had this ball of bright energy engulf me, and this would be my safe place I cold retreat to if needed, and in that moment of having all of my good thoughts and intensions encase me in light and warmth, I felt a surge of electromagnetic energy course though my body and radiate like a magnet from my body. Chi rushed in circles from the tip of my crown, through my legs, and back up my spine, then another circle down my arms and pooling in the palms of my hands. I realized my hands from their folded position on my stomach and heat plunged from out of my dontien and seemed to flood the air around me, and yet my body never cooled. Like I said, by body was incased in this light, and even though head was poring out through my belly button, no heat was ever waisted or lost from my system.

Whatever else Eelke did this evening, it didn't matter. She did this, unknowingly as far as I could tell, and possibly even unintentionally, but she did it regardless, and I can never repay her for this moment.

"Picture the glob, rotating on its axis... does the rotation ever seem to slow down at parts?"

I thought about it.

"Yes, around Africa and Europe."

"Picture Africa and Europe on a map, does any land mass seem larger than you think it should be?"

"Ummm, yeah, Europe seems disproportionately large."

"Zoom in on Europe, is any country particularly brighter than the others?"

Spain was actually glowing golden on my sepia and blue colored map.

"Ha, yea, actually Spain is glowing."

"Get a closer look at Spain, can you read any town names on your map?"

"No, my map is only topographical."

"Thats okay, can you zoom in on any particular area and see the landscape?"

I did, and I found myself in a little town with cobble stone pathways through narrow alleys. There was a grassy landscape just outside of town where the hill I was laying down on before was located.

"But that might just be me influencing the landscape with things I already know from my imagination."

"Your imagination is your subconscious, and that is what we are trying to access. Maybe this place you came up with in your imagination where you felt safe and calm was a place in a past life you used to go to when you needed some space and time to yourself."

"What time is is?"

"Sunrise."

"What year is it?"

"It seems old, maybe a few hounded years ago, or it could just be a small village that has kept its quaintness, and it would be only 50 years ago."

"What is your name?"

"I don't know."

"Are you male or female?"

"Ahhhh, I assumed female until you just said that, but now... I'm not sure."

"Look down at your hands, are they a man's or a woman's?"

"Crap, I don't know, I feel I'm influencing this again b/c I am a woman, so I see woman hands, but they could be a man's hands just as easily."

"Walk down the street a bit, until you get to a shop."

"Okay, I'm at a shop."

"What kind of shop is it?"

"I don't know, its in Spanish."

"What does it say?"

"Its like in a dream, I can't focus on the worlds."

"What does it smell like?"

"Bread, it smells like a bread shop."

"Can you see in though the window, or is the sunlight reflecting off of it too much?"

"Yes, a little, but I mostly see reflections from the street."

"What do you look like?"

She caught me off guard. I was a woman, black hair done half up and half down, red shawl around my shoulders over a white cotton shirt.

"Now look down at your hands."

They were the same woman's hands I saw the first time.

"Do you have any jewlery?"

"I have some rings and bangles."

"How about on your left hand?"

"Rings"

"On you ring finger?"

"Yes."

"Are you married?"

"No, I don't think I am, but I think I am engaged. The ring has a small diamond on it."

She tried to have me walk to my home, but I couldn't figure out which way to go. So she just had me walk down the streets, and see what I could find. I ended up going up this staircase to a second story apartment, but it wasn't my home. I didn't feel like it was home, but it was a place I'd been to often.

"I want you to picture yourself in a moment when you were very frightened."

I was suddenly in my home, in my bed. It was a place I had never been to before. The white room was tinted blue in the night.

"Where are you?"

"In my bed."

"Where are your parents?"

"Not here."

"Are they dead?"

"Not dead, but not here either."

"Are you alone?"

"No, I don't live alone, maybe I live with a friend."

"Can you hear them?"

"No."

"Can you get out of bed and walk down the hallway?"

"No."

"Why not?"

"I'm afraid to get out of bed. Its dark, and I think someone is outside."

Then we hit a road block. I couldn't answer any questions for a few minutes. "I don't know" over and over.

"Tell me the first 5 words that pop into your head."

"Calm, fear, dog," and there were 2 others, but I didn't write this down afterwords (even though I remembered for a few days latter) b/c I don't think that the words were what was important, but it was the way they came out so unintelligible, but then blended into the story perfectly.

"Now rearrange them into an order that makes sense."

And just like that, I reordered the words, and it came into a story about a dog barking at the rustling bushes outside my second story bedroom. She had me go outside to my stair case, and then search around the bushes to confront my fear, but I couldn't find anything. Dead end again. But no matter, there was much else to talk about.

"Think of the last time you saw your parents, try to remember what it felt like, how old you were."

"I was young, maybe 9 or 10."

"Were they leaving to go somewhere?"

"No, I was."

"Where were you going?"

"I don't know."

Then this turned into an elaborate 2 day journey in a black car through the country side, to a night where I slept over some relatives house, and then back in the car to the town where I started this "dream" in. I was dropped off at a large church looking building that reminded me of Hogwarts (and I told Eelke as much). It seemed as though I was going to a boarding school under my won desire to study abroad.

"Knock Knock Knock"

Someone was banging on the side of the Wish Bus window.

"You can go ahead and get that, I can wait."

"No, its alright," and we moved on. I met my best friend here, a little boy. This boy grows up to be the man who's apartment I went over rather than going to my home when we first entered this dream. He turns out to be a huge jerk, and he and I are in this fight. He is my best friend, but he has a temper. We are arguing about the ring. I am not sure if he is the one who gave it to me, or if he is upset about the person who did. I threw the ring at him, and he approached me and slapped me so hard across the face I woke up on the floor, looking at the rug.

This happens often in my life. I am shocked at how strong he is, and I have no strength in myself to defend or attack.

"I want you to picture yourself just before you died."

I was an older woman, thick grey hairs blew in the wind from under my hat. I was under a tree on a hillside looking over a field of those white spherical seed balls that are some kind of weed. I couldn't think of their name then, and I still can't now.

"How do you feel?"

"I feel healthy, strong, ready to face the day, bold, determined, and above all else, I feel free."

"Do you die here?"

"Yes."

"I want you to picture yourself leaving your body, ascending out of this world and onto the next."

I did.

"Now look back on yourself. What do you see?"

What could I see? The only explanation for my sudden death would be that I was shot, probably to the head.

"I think my reason an logic skills are influencing what I see. I can't imagine any other solution other than a bullet to the head, so I see myself fallen into the tall grass as if I had just been shot."

"Now tell me, what is the one lesson you wish to bring with you into your next lives."

I paused, and then something came out that I had not seen coming, that didn't seem to have any foreshadowing, but when you think about it, it makes sense for her life.

"Trust yourself as much as you trust in others."

She had me repeat this 5 times, and then she had me sit up, and we spent maybe 20 minutes discussing how I was feeling about the whole regression, and how I felt about everything she had been saying concerning spirituality, and how I thought it was all bull, until I realized that I wasn't thinking it was bull at all, but I was thinking my reaction to what she was saying was bull. Trust yourself, meaning, don't be down on yourself, and think you are not as good as others, or that someone else could do something for you better than you could do it for yourself. And trust in others equally, meaning if someone is doing something for you, believe in their abilities as much as you would believe in your ability to do it yourself. Don't be with someone you think you are better than, and don't be with someone who thinks they are better than you. Trust in each other, and trust in yourself.

Posted by - Rain 12:54 Comments (3)

On the Road Again

Mochan! woke up at the restaurant and got some pictures before coming to get us:

Sticks:

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Shinobu and Adam's place:

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Shinobu and Adam:

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All of us waiting for Joe:

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I think I might be growling a little bit in this picture.

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Nono practicing Kendo:

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Mochan!'s new club, the Kiss Club:

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Then, for the rest of the day Mochan! drove us all the way from Toyooka to Shizuoka. However, good news was, Bjarke was a gentleman and when Elaina asked (even though I told her to play it cool) if he was going to sit with her on the ride today. He said yes, and he gave up his really cool front seat just for me!

People crossing sign:
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Yeah... most people who live in these little villages are old. Old, but not without a sense of humor.

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Then I really liked what the back of this semi had to say:

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The 5 S's:
Seatbelt
Signal
Speed
Sake
Safety

I'm not sure if this is a lost in translation thing, or if they were going for don't drink sake, but don't begins with a "d" and in Japanese to not do something comes after the subject... but any way you look at it, it was great.

When we made it back to Shizuoka we dropped Elaina off at the train station. I went out to give her a hug and wished we had more girl time to talk about what went on with Bjarke, and then David and Eelke got off to smoke, and Nono had to stretch his legs. I was trying to be inconspicuous while at the same time trying to get their attention "GET ON THE BUS AND GIVE BJARKE AND ELAINA SOME PRIVACY!" But, they didn't get it. Luckily Elaina is more outgoing then I would be in the same situation, and she got her good bye smooch.

This evening, I brought up with Eelke that I was still interested in doing a regression with her. This is where they put you in a relaxed state and you let your subconscious remember your past life. I've had several people tell me in my life that they would do this with me, thinking that I would say "whatever," but when I say "Yeah!" and tell them how I've always wanted someone to help me experience something other worldly... all of the sudden they have to "wash their hair." And what happened? Eelke was too tired. We did nothing but sleep in the bus all day, and I was really ready to do something other than eat dinner and go to bed some more. But, she said maybe tomorrow. I wasn't holding my breath.

Posted by - Rain 01:48 Comments (0)

The Beach... of Japan

Avatar reference, the real one (the cartoon The Last Airbender), not M-night's or Cameron's)

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This morning we checked out of our hostels and headed to Hyogo prefecture to stay with Mochan!'s friend from Canada.

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First stop:

The Sea of Japan

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Yeah, thats Bjarke already in the ocean in his boxers. And thats Eelke and I... thinking about it.

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Thats Nono, not thinking about it, just stripping down and doing it (the water was really cold!)

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Eelke and Elaina singing one of Eelke's favorite songs. I believe it may be a song in Yiddish, but I'm not sure. Elaina learned the melody and the words (even though she doesn't know the language) about 10 min. after this first shot at it. (Yeah, she is really a professional singer.)

Then we left Nono and Joe to hike up to the top of the local mountains so we could see the land bridge we were standing on from a more panoramic view. Mochan! drove us to the trail entrance, then we had about a 20 min stair climb to the top.

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Bjarke ran up the stairs, then passed us on his way back down the stairs on his way to run across the land bridge. The rest of us, 3 breaks ladder, finally made it to the top.

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Then Mochan! told us that we had to look at the land bridge from between our legs...

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I guess he wasn't kidding. And here is the platform you are actually supposed to do it on:

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(The cement block behind the bench on the right next to the post.)

And then we would be able to see the swimming dragon.

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This rock was cool, all the letters have a silver glint b/c people stuck money inside for good luck:

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Then we went back down the stairs and hopped on the Wish Bus to head back to the parking lot to meet up with Nono, Joe, and Bjarke. When we get there about 5 minutes late, none of the boys are there. "Maybe they got confused b/c we weren't here?" Mochan! and I jogged back to the beach to see if we could find them. "I'll run and look at the shoreline, you check the men's restroom." I called to Mochan! as we hit the forest of pine trees right next to the beach. No luck, and then we heard voiced. "I hear Be-ya-ka" (Mochan!'s pronunciation always makes Bjarke laugh, although I don't know why. Its close enough I think. European's are funny that way. Maybe they're just jealous that American names are taught more in English classes so they are easier to pronounce. At least he isn't Ba-ne-sa. Well, I'm not either, b/c everyone can pronounce Re-i-n.") The guys were all eating noodles together at a little shop! "I've been trying to get them to hurry up." Joe said in his own defense. "Ri-ight."

Then we drove to Mochan!'s Canadian friend's place.

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We basically came in, said hi, dropped our stuff off, and then Adam ran us all over to his hometown's tourist attraction. He backed out of his driveway (which was a bridge over their little canal) faster than I would recommend going forward, and then he bolted out of his development at a speed that Mochan! couldn't possibly ever catch up with since he also had to turn the bus around before he could head out.

About 2 minutes down there road we got out and followed Adam up a few flights of stairs to these basalt rock formations that first lead scientists to ponder the idea of the Earth's magnetic poles possibly shifting and even flipping from time to time. Japan was created much like Hawaii, from volcanic eruptions, and these basalt formations formed and cracked in a similar fashion to the hexagonal pillars you find in Ireland at Giant's causeway or in Wyoming at Devil's Tower. However, these ones were formed at a time the magnetic poles were shifting and they carried an inherent nature to always form angling towards the north, and here are the results:

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And that is only the first location. Moving on down the path, there are even more spectacular displays of Geology:

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(Above picture I like to call, "Story of My Life.")

Then we hopped back on the Wish Bus and continued to drive another 20 minutes or so north of Toyooka to Kinosaki which we've been told is a quaint little village known for its many hot springs and Onsen's (baths).

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This next pic I took as we crossed over a very long one way bridge. I thought it would have been cheeper to just make one bride wider, but apparently it was better to make multiple bridges very narrow.

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And then we hit town, and everyone was out with the cameras! The entire city was walking around in their Kimono's with their little wooden slippers that have the 2 blocks of wood on the bottom. None of us really got any good shots off b/c Mochan! parked the bus too quickly, and we were all ashamed to take pictures of people around this little town, so you'll just have to take my word for it. Or Joe's: "Oh my god! We have to come back here!" Referring to after the trip with Mochan! Joe has already decided one of our stops.

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Then Adam's wife Shinobu (Adam had to go to work) explained to us that people staying in the hotels here can get passes to all the Onsen's, and it is popular to walk from Onsen to Onsen wearing your Japanese bathrobes. So that was why all the people in the town had their robes and traditional shoes on. Because, they too, were tourists.

She led us through the town to her favorite Onsen:

Notice the hexagonal rocks lining the fence:
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Adam told us that this was one of the reasons that place was recently made into a national park b/c so many people were removing stones from it to use as bricks since they were so abundant and conveniently cut into little building blocks.

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We hung out here for about an hour, and then some of us walked around the city while we waited for Joe (in his defense, he missed that we said we would meet a half hour before Mochan! was going to meet us to drive us back so we could walk through town together.) Bjarke came out with a nasty grin on his face. "He is still doing naked Kung Fu by the waterfall. All the little old guys are getting quite the show."

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That evening Mochan! drove us to Adam's restaurant The Sticks and we drank and met some more local Japanese friends!

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I sat between Mochan and this little girl:

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She didn't speak any English, but I think we got along really well.

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But some of us couldn't afford to buy the alcohol at the restaurant, so we made frequent stops to the bus to refill on the beer and plum wine we had already gotten from the local convenient store.

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All the guys kept wondering, "What are you girls doing out there?" we played it on like it was a big girl secret.

Then, montage of how these two acted on this trip:

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And, the last one I refrained from photographing, but it ended in smooches. Bjarke and Elaina were very proper last night when they slept over the Japanese guy's house, but the Vietnamese couple who spent the night there too swears that they are together. Elaina and I were casually talking about it on the bus while drinking and filling up her water bottle. "I say go for it! Your a hottie, he's a hottie, and you have one more night to be hotties together." I am blunt, what can I say. I just warned her not to go and do something that she may feel hurt by the next day when Bjarke acts like nothing happened, not to say that I knew something like that would happen, but just in case. You have to commit to what your getting into, which since she lives in America, and he currently lives in China, and she was leaving tomorrow to say goodbye to Japanese relatives, was going to be a one nighter.

Back in the bar:

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These are all the Japanese girls freaking out about Nono's T-shirt:

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Girls: "Gundom!"
Nono: "Yeah, maybe, I dunno,"
Girls: "Do you know Japanese Anime?"
Nono: "Yeah, I watch some."
Girls: "Which ones?!"
Nono listed all the ones he could possibly think of, and they were all with English names, so the Japanese girls were loosing their faith in us foreigners, so I did what any anime watcher from America would do. I named the Japanese fav of being the first and most originally Japanese gundom (big robot costume) fighting anime.
"Evengellian!"
The freaked, and everything was cool again. Nono was talking about the movie at the end, and how tripped out it was, and the girls were just eating it up. Call me match maker.

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Then we were all getting a bit tired, so Shinobu took the first group of us back to her place. (Mochan! was drunk and therefore sleeping at the restaurant, so we couldn't take the bus back.) Then about 2 hours latter, I was falling fast, and Adam took the second round of us back to his place. We couldn't all fit, so Meri had to sit on Esa's lap, and I crawled into the hatchback's trunk, which would have been fine, if Adam wasn't a crazy driver!

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

We made it!

Posted by - Rain 00:38 Comments (0)

My First Mac Desktop Background

The next morning, I couldn't even bother with Joe. "I'll meet you on the bus!" I told him as I left him to do whatever it is that he does and I got on the bus. "Every thing alright?" Ida asked in her Norwegian accent. I was speechless. "I don't even know." "Don't even know what?" Now she was getting really concerned. Whats up with that anyways? Why are Europeans so much more sensitive to peoples feelings than Americans? "I guess Joe just has to be the last one on the bus, as usual." I tried to give her a smile, she didn't buy it. "Is that a problem?" She had a point, I looked at her, a little confused, but getting it. "No, I guess not, as long as everyone doesn't mind waiting for him. "NO! Not at all, we can wait for him, no problem, don't worry about it, okay?" The tension eased out of me, maybe they had a talk about last night and how it put me in a awkward place with the whole not being able to wait for us. I smiled for real this time, the grin making it all the way to one eye, "Okay. Thanks." "Anytime..." she trailed off.

Joe was running to the bus with my shoes. I was still wearing the hostel's indoor slippers. Fuck! Then I calmed down. I would get off the bus, change into my shoes, and then be the last one on the bus, and nobody would care. They would all wait for me. I wonder though, would they be so patient after years of having this happen? I wonder if I was ever this patient. Yes, I think as certain points I've been more patient.

First stop:

The Golden Temple (for all you mac users, this is the Japanese temple that comes as one of your desktop backgrounds)

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Then, ambushed by school kids. Still Bjarke was attacked the most, but instead of girls, it was the boys this time.

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Then Mochan! drove us out ofthe city a bit over to the river and let us wonder around for a few hours.

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First place we walked to we all got ice cream. Joe got sesame seed ice cream! Bless his heart! (We always share everything, so that's why I was so happy he got an awesome flavor!) Then some of us got lunch while the rest of us headed out into the bamboo forest.

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That last picture is of a girl pulling the two people in the carriage. (so cool)

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Then we walked out back into the little down and headed across the river to the monkey park! At this point we lost another part of the group, and we were just left with the Germans, Italians, Japanese, and Joe and I. (Yeah, I thought about that too. What do you think, too soon?)

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At the top of the hill they had all the monkeys just running around, not bothering anyone. Then they had a building where you go inside and you can feed the monkeys through the windows with cage bars. The monkeys think that only people inside the building have food, so outside they are calm and leave you alone. Much better than what happened in China at a monkey park (Joe was walking around with a friggin banana! A Chinese woman had to get out her stick and shew the monkeys away from him b/c the were grabbing and forming an attack formation. There you are only supposed to feed them the peanuts you can buy, and hide all other food. Yeah, that monkey followed us around the rest of the time, giving Joe this constant stink eye. And yeah, Joe was a little freaked out. He made us go back to that park to face his fear of these monkeys, but that's another story.)

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This is the queen monkey (according to this British girl who knew how to speak some Japanese):
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Joe was freaking out in love with how the monkeys groomed each other. I have like 30 minutes of video on these 2 guys with Joe commentating the whole time. Here is Sophie's video:

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Then we hung out at the playground in the monkey park next to the nature center where, yes, Joe played with the bones of an animal to make it look like it was talking. (I didn't tape that one. I try not to encourage foreigners to mess with things in other countries.)

I'm not sure if you can see these videos or not, but they are just me on a rope swing and Joe on a slide.

At the Park - me

At the Park - Joe

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This little kids shirt says "Lover"

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Then we walked to the river and tried to find some food, but weren't too successful, so we just soaked our feet.

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When we all met up Mochan! told us that since the Norwegians had to leave in the morning, and we were also loosing the Germans for a day or two, that it was group picture time!

First, Everybody!

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Then, the Italian's!

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The Scandinavian's!

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The Japanese!

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The Holland and German group!

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Finally, the North American's!

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And of course, people hooking up pictures, thats right, we all have seen the ay you to are.

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(Notice I'm not in this one, just Joe and his true love.)

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Then we all went out for dinner at the only place where Mochan! could park the bus. Joe and I ended up not having too much money, and I wasn't really a fan of any of the menu, so Joe decided he was going to get the all you could eat dinner. This left me with bout 4 bucks to play with. I decided to get the lima bean peas the Japanese like so much. Then, it ended up that Joe couldn't order that meal unless everyone else at the table did too (maybe they just made that rule up b/c we are foreigners. Japanese people are mostly really trustworthy.) We couldn't figure out what to do for the longest time, and I was in a bad mood. I ended up ordering the same thing, even though now that Joe wasn't spending all the money, I could afford something more. Then he talked me into these potato things, and they turned out to be french fry wedges. Everyone else had these amazing looking plates, and I got peas and fries, and I couldn't eat the fries, b/c they were fired, and I don't know if you've notice, but I've kinda exploded my body on fired food. Needless to say, I was not happy. Then, to further put me in a bad mood, the 2 other tables were in mad talks having a blast, and my table, maybe brought down by me, seemed to be in a sort of rut.

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Mochan! dropped us off all together at the Kyoto train station b/c Joe set up plans to "party" with Elaina, Bjarke, Ida, and Jorn since it was Ida and Jorn's last night with us. First we went to get Ida and Jorn's bus tickets, and that was a mess! Jorn, Bjarke, Joe and I all ended up waiting at an internet bar (it was too expensive to use their internet), while Ida and Elaina went to figure out the tickets. It turned out that the place they bought the bus tickets from was so cheep that they don't have a person paid to deal out the tickets, not do they even have signs for where to go to pick up your tickets. Luckily Elaina was with us, so she spoke to enough Japanese people to get the tickets from somewhere, and then we all argued for about 10 minutes about where to go. Ida "I just want to go to a cafe or something to wait," Joe and Bjarke "Lets find a bar." Finally Elaina came up with an idea to go to the restaurant across the street that would have drinks of every flavor (good job Elaina, way to take control!) The night was fun, but the drinks were expensive, so I couldn't get drunk. It was nice though. I talked mostly with Elaina and Bjarke, and Joe talked mostly with Ida and Jorn. That thing gets me really confused most of the time, but for some reason I was able to handle it. Maybe it was because my brain said okay, lets not have a nuclear melt down tonight, lets give her a break and let her hold a separate conversation from other people at the same table.

When it was time for Ida and Jorn to catch their bus we dropped them off back at the station, and then dropped Elaina and Bjarke off there too. Elaina stayed with this creepy guy her first night. I guess he has a reputation for only inviting female CouchSurfers over, and then watching them sleep and things like that. Mochan doesn't like this guy. So the next night she stayed with a different guy, and he has a whole house just for CouchSurfers! So since Bjarke didn't pay for his nights in advance, he got to go and stay at this Japanese guys's second home! Then Joe and I tried to follow Mochan!'s directions to walk back to our hostel. I was still hungry, so I told Joe to just go to the hostel, and I was going to hit up a 7-11 for dinner. Yeah, I was getting tired of convenience store food, but you can never find a grocery store, and you can never order something properly at a restarunt.

Posted by - Rain 03:26 Comments (0)

Memoirs of a Geisha (American film, Chinese actress)

movie was produced by Steven Spielberg, staring Zhang Ziyi, based on a Japanese story

I had to almost hit Joe over the head with a cub and drag his unconscious body out the hostel door in the morning to meet Mochan! at 9am. Reasons? Absolutely none, just taking his time like the world only exists in his perception. Nobody is waiting for him (an entire bus full of people), and they will just magically appear when he steps out the door, coming into existence because he perceives them to be so at that point in time. But as long as they are out of sight, they are out of mind, and therefore, cease to exist.

"Ohio!" The bus announces to us as we board. "Yes! Ohio is in the house!"

Then we picked up a tun of people! 3 Italian girls who were going to chill with us for 3 days in Kyoto, and then another group of Japanese friends of Mochan!

First stop, the temple of many gates (and they weren't kidding!)

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(So many gates, they block out the sun! I have to admit, I got a little claustrophobic, not a lot, but a little.)

Each of these gates was bought by a business or family that want good luck or fortune, and I've been told to walk through all the gates it would take about 4 hours! Each one is labeled with the name of the donors, but its all in Chinese.

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Here we were waiting to have everyone catch up with us to tell them not to turn right, because the path to the right will take you another 2 hours to climb, and we were meeting Mochan! in less than one. But then Chris tells us that he saw Joe run up the stairs about 5 minutes ago! "Do you want me to go after him?" "Nope, if he wants to run off by himself, he'll be back, he knows when he is supposed to be back." "Are you sure?" "No, I'm not sure, but if I'm not willing to chase after him, I'm not going to send you." "Fair enough."

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This temple was dedicated to the frog. The 3 Italian girls we started hanging out with today:

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Then who comes running down the steps but Joe! "See? I told you he'd figure it out. Kids got endurance." Just in time too b/c we were at a shrine where we needed some prayers for Danielle's money! If you wash the money in this shrine's water then you will have good fortune.

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Not sure what these kids were doing, but we loved the umbrella fort.

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Then we went shopping for lunch in Kyoto's outdoor/ covered shopping mall. My favorite advertisement for cigarets absolutely everywhere:

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Sometimes he has different poses, but always flexing something. Some people wonder if he knows he is a cigaret add b/c they think the cigarets may be photoshopped. I'm not sure, but I love the add regardless.

We split up for lunch, Norway, Denmark, half of Holland, some Japan, and me to the Raman store, then everyone else went to circle sushi! I was so jealous when I heard that I would have actually liked the sushi (wtf? I hate sushi.) and that it came on little trains and carts just like in the Pokemon game where you have to eat all the sushi and whoever gets the largest bill wins.

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Then Mochan! took us to the traditional geisha area of Kyoto.

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Then we saw a parade of geisha's walking by, so we ran and followed after them. Elaina said that they weren't real geisha's b/c some of them had their nails painted, and some of them tripped in their costumes (which a real geisha would never do), but they were dressed like traditional geisha's, so that was at least cool. She said that her kimono that was not even half as intricate, cost $300 just to rent.

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(Samurai protecting the geishas)

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Then we went and saw the outside of a temple b/c we were too cheep to go in. We noticed when we made it to the temple though that we lost Joe, Eelke and David. "Well, they know to meet us at 7pm at the Wish Bus."

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Coolest graveyard ever! And it is true, everyone in Japan must be cremated.

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This temple is cool. You put the thing on a sheet of paper that you want to get over, climb though one end, then climb back though, and you can move on from your old relationships. I thought about trying, but I am not ready to let go of my baggage (and yes, I did just refer to Joe as baggage**).

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At 7pm everyone was at the Wish Bus except for Joe. David: "Yeah, Joe was with us, but he left at one point and said something about meeting us back here at 8pm." Well, 8pm was now changed to 8:30 b/c some people were going to see a geisha show. It was really cheep as far as geisha shows go, only $30, and it included a tea ceremony, flower arranging ceremony, a traditional Japanese dance by a character actor, a geisha dance, a traditional Japanese music performance, a traditional Japanese puppet show, and a short traditional Japanese play. I was thinking about going, but now that Joe was going to meet us at the wrong time, I wasn't sure. Then Mochan! said he would drive us around a bit to see more of Kyoto, then drop people off for the show. Sophie and Elaina kept trying to convince me to go, and Sophie asked "So, if it wasn't for the money, vould you go?" And I tried to explain that I would do a lot of things were they free, but yes, if money wasn't so tight right now I'd go. "Well thats it then, I am paying for you, and when I come to visit you in New Zealand when you have some money again, you can pay me back." I liked Sophie, and not just because she took care of us with snacks the whole time either. She kept buying way too much food b/c she wanted to try a little of everything, so she would eat one thing in a pack, and then pass it around the bus. This got everyone started, so this whole trip every time we got back in the bus we would get some sort of treat passed around. This time I passed around this famous mochi that Kyoto makes where they wrap some sweet paste inside almost uncooked tasting sticky dough. Its my new favorite thing (and they had it in black sesame!)

When we got back and started walking for the show we ran into Joe and he took us to see the temple he was hanging out in all day.

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I explained that we were going to see a show, and Joe asked us where he could get the free samples of the mochi we all bought in the area where we followed the geishas. He agreed to meet us back at the theater after the show was over, and we'd walk back to the bus together, and until then he was going to get some food.

Parts of the show:

Where Joe goes when I'm not around:

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Tonight we unsuccessfully tried to hang out with the large group staying at the hostel near the Kyoto train station b/c Joe wanted to “party.” I wasn't too put off by that though, b/c like I've said before, when I'm in a bad mood, I don't feel like partying. They were in a rush the night before because of something, so we all got off the bus together at the Kyoto train station near to where the Scandinavians were staying. But then Joe was taking too long to get all his things together, and they just left. They told me that maybe I could catch up with them when Joe finally got off the bus. I told them, "Yeah, maybe..." but by the time Joe was off the bus, they were long gone. So Mochan! just let us back on the bus and drove us to our hostel. Joe was of course mad at me for not having them wait for us, and I was a bit touchy on that subject, so we spent the rest of the night in silence.

* * BTW, that was a reference to something Joe said about me earlier in the blog, and I figured that only he would catch it if I didn't put this comment in.

Posted by - Rain 19:20 Comments (0)

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