Day 5: leaving onsen; Shimokitazawa shopping

The photos on the last post are actually from the morning we left the onsen. To match the theme, we tried watching Spirited Away, but we only made it halfway before getting too tired.

Last night we visited the grocery store — not too different from the US stores, but more fish and less bakery.

I’m pretty behind on posting.. Sorry. We have been packing in a ton of sightseeing and are too tired at night to hook up Internet.

These photos are from the shopping we did after the onsen. We stopped at a burger joint to rest our feet and Vince got a caramel drink.

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Dad, if you are reading this… This picture of a shirt is for you!

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Not in the running for the best worst english, but still good. One of my favorite shirts has a college-style round logo and the words, “fabric purple.”

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I love all the bicycles everywhere, parked in stalls or in giant parking lots.

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Here are Vincent and Dain talking about where to go next. This is a hipper area with lots of boutique shops. We were all tired so we decided on grocery store take out and pajamas.

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Vincent and I resting at a table outside Freshness Burger. The caramel coffee was very good. We got a chance to rest, check our email and read.

I cannot possibly pack everything into this blog… Certainly not while typing on the iPad! I cannot wait to share all the photos. I have taken at least 500 so far and just opened a new 4 gig card!

Day 4: my favorite place, onsen

Yesterday was day three, and we slept in till 10:30ish then packed for the onsen. Dain made yummy French toast strips and tea for breakfast then we got on the train and headed toward another train–the romance car!

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Vincent is waiting for the bus. This is the stop outside the apartment.

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We ate at a bagel sandwich place. Vincent and I got lox, and we all got coffee and these teeny tiny creamers. The bagels were delicious. And like the rest so far, the perfect portion.

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The boys tried on my sunglasses. I kind of think the sunglasses look better on them!

Here’s Vincent and I on the train. The ride was an hour-ish so I popped a Dramamine and read a John Wyndham novel Dain let me borrow. Vincent and Dain played a computer game with an adorable little robot.

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It was evening when we arrived at the onsen (hot springs). I signed up for a massage and we reserved a private onsen too.

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Before dinner we changed into robes and 2-toed socks. Since you are not wearing pants (we kept underwear on) you kind of have to shuffle along in small steps to remain modest. A little more than half the people at dinner were wearing robes. Vincent and Dain wore vests so they would have pockets to carry things like my camera.

These robes are so comfy. Made me sad to put clothes on after spending 24hours in a robe.

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We went to the women’s onsen while Dain and Vincent explored the men’s. You get 2 towels when you check in at the front desk, along with your robe. We undressed in a locker room area, tied the key in our hair and then went to the bathing stations to wash. I was pleasantly surprised to find makeup remover! No raccoon eyes here.

After we washed, we took our towels and went into the onsen. The hot water steamed from 4 hot springs soaking areas. A long rectangular onsen had a thatched cover, two looked like jacuzzis, and the other long rectangular one had a view of the open sky, the moon, and the gardens behind us. We went into the covered onsen first. It had little dividers so you couldn’t see the naked bits of the person next to you. Next we went to the open air onsen and sat there until all our muscles relaxed. …

After we dried off and rinsed again, Vincent and I headed to our private onsen. Then I went downstairs for my massage. 40 minutes of bliss later, I floated upstairs, climbed under my fluffy blanket and went to sleep like Ricky and Lucy Ricardo, in separate twin beds.

In the early morning, Dain visited the men’s onsen again while we slept, then we donned our robes again and went for breakfast buffet. We checked out by 10, grabbed sandals and went to explore the gardens. I almost wish we hadn’t gone to the onsen so late, because this would be the perfect place to sit after a long soak.

In the morning everyone was walking around snapping photos.

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There are HUGE colorful spiders all over. Dain and Vincent are on a quest to find the biggest one. They stopped a few times to harass the arachnids.

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The stairs wind up and down and around. One set dead ends at a wishing well. Sort of. You throw in your coin, ring the bell, and pray for your wish to come true. Hoping my prayer is answered!

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