Sunday, May 22, 2011

20,000 steps and a Japanese Bath House

Today I walked 20,000 steps.  I know this because my place of employment gave me a pedometer a few weeks ago and I brought it on the trip.  Right now my legs and feet are throbbing!  It is 10:30 pm and we are going to bed but first I had to recap our day. 

First off we found an awesome bakery and had a hard time choosing from the many options.  I got a sandwhich thing and a cream filled croissant.  Soooo good.  I will lobby to go again in the morning.

Best bakery in the history of bakery's.

Next we were off to see a Shinto Shrine.  While there we were able to catch a drum show and a traditional wedding.  

You could FEEL the sound from the drums.  These drummers must get a great workout! 

The main gate to the shrine.

Entrance to the shrine.

Several seconds after sitting down to patch up my blistered feet,  we were shooed off this ledge and told we could not sit there.  Japan is strict!

The wedding.

The Bride.

The thing about this Japan is:  very few places to sit, everyone walks a ton and all the women are wearing high heels.  Also, the fashion is awesome.  These ladies are all about the socks.  Tons of cool tights, thigh high's, fishnets and leggings.  All paired with short shorts.  It's like their all on their way to roller derby!

No where to sit but on the ground.

Then we walked down a street that is the Japanese Champs De Le Elysee's.  Lot's of high end shops, etc.  Zack found a toy store and bought a Bay Blade and he is very excited to show his friends at home.  We also found a little stand selling octopus balls which we all love so we sat and ate 2 orders.  It was a beautiful sunny day.

Octopus Balls! (Tiny pieces of octopus meat with a breaded coating and sauce)

Fancy cars on a fancy street.

We had been told that there was a good revolving sushi bar in the area so we spent about an hour trying to find it and then ate there.  It was fun, you sit around a circular bar with sushi chefs in the middle and a conveyor belt circles in front of you.  You just grab a plate of whatever you like and at the end they add up your plates and you pay by the plate.  Steve ate 15 plates, I had 7!

The revolving sushi bar.  You can see the drinks on the plates right there.  They don't have rolls like we do.  It' s all just fish.  It was delish.

Even Zack partook of some sushi.

Next we were off to the Ghibli museum, which Zack was excited to see since we love Hayao Myazaki movies at our house.  When we came out of the subway it was pouring rain and cold.  So much for the beautiful day.  The museum was fun, but everything was in Japanese so we didn't know what we were looking at all the time.  Steve says his reading skills have waned.

The museum gardens.

The Ghibli Museum in the background.

**Post-Edit Warning:  The following may contain TMI, read at your own risk.
Now for our bath house adventure.  Steve has been wanting to take us to an authentic bath house.  I was not so hip on the idea.  First of all it's totally nude.  Second the men and women are separate.  That is good and bad.  Good because, well, you know, it's nude!  Bad because my translator and guide would not be with me to tell me what to do.  Thirdly, we were all jet lagged and exhausted.  Do you know what I do when I'm exhausted and stressed?  I cry.  So yes, there were a few tears shed.  I got over it quick and Steve asked a worker to help my mom and I. 

We went in and rented a towel and wash cloth, stowed our shoes in a locker and then to the women's locker room.  You're supposed to shower and clean up before you soak in the hot water baths.  We just bit the bullet and stripped everything off, just like everyone else did and headed in the direction everyone else was going.  I tried not to stare, but at the same time I needed to see what the others were doing so we wouldn't commit any no no's, so I stared alot.  We got into the bath area and there were little stools in front of shower head things and soaps and a big bowl.  Everyone was soapin up and scrubbing down so we sat down and did the same.  After a while I realized my naughty bits were touching the same plastic stool that everyone elses had touched.  I tried not to think about it. 

After we were thoroughly clean, we couldn't decide what to do with our washcloths.  So we stared and noticed everyone was carrying them around with them and some were covering their bits a little so we did the same.  This made me feel better because I recently had some laser hair removal done and there is nothing covering my whoo hoo, if you know what I mean.  Annnnyway...We enjoyed our time flitting from pool to pool, some indoor some outdoor, some salty, some scalding, some freezing.  At one point we were told by a nice Korean lady who spoke English that we were not supposed to put our wash clothes into the baths, just to keep them on our heads or on a nearby rock.  Ooops. 

After we were sufficiently dizzy and overheated, we decide to go back to the locker room and change.  While changing, the valet lady from the entrance came in holding my mom's backpack. She had left it in the cab on the way there and the cab driver realized and brought it back to us.  We were very surprised and happy that he was so caring and honest. 

So, it was a bit awkward of an experience but not as bad as I thought.  Sorry, no pictures of this!

Now we are nice and clean and relaxed and going to bed!


Samantha said...

love the updates...keep them coming!

Becca Jo said...

Russia has bath houses too and I loved going. In Russia you beat yourself with these re-hydrated branches. It was too get the blood flowing I guess. We just followed along with what ever we saw other people doing.

Then there was the one time a lady made an announcement in Russian and then a man walked through carrying a ladder. I kinda wished I'd understood Russian at that moment.

Myranda, Shaun and Anna said...

I'm so glad you're blogging and keeping us updated. As always, when I read your blog I have a good laugh, thanks!
Just wondering...are octopus balls the balls of an octopus? I don't do any kind of sushi or swim in the water kind of food and I know that kind of food can get sketchy... :)

The Turleys said...

LOVE this post! You are awesome Diedra! I also have the same question that Myranda asked about the octopus balls.

Tiffany said...

So proud of you Deidra! Thanks for the updates. Can't wait to hear more.

Deidra said...

Octopus balls are PIECES of octopus cut up and baked inside of wheat batter and then covered with mayo, sauce and fish flakes. Yum. But no, not the testicles of the Octo.

Angela Maddock said...

You were always were more adventurous than me! :)

Interesting to hear about fashion in Japan. I remember when we went to Europe we noticed all the thick tall high heels! Keep blogging!

Remember you can always soak your throbbing feet in a bidet! Ha!