Just as a warning, this will probably be the most photo-intensive entry Haru has written so far. Who knew one could do so much in just one day of pure fun?
One Sunday not long ago, Haru shot up out of bed just before the crack of dawn and ran out the door by 5:30am. She took her hour and half commute from the Yokohama area into Tokyo, where she left with a bus full of her classmates and friends before the clock hands struck 7am.
Excited, but tired, the kids on the bus spent most of their time trying to keep each other awake. Sleep won out, but before long, a few hours passed and everyone found themselves in Izu, Shizuoka, Japan.
What did we do first here in Izu? We picked strawberries!
And the further we journeyed into the greenhouse, the bigger and juicier the strawberries got. The white stuff on the left is condensed milk. It’s popular here in Japan to eat strawberries dipped in milk sauce. We’ve gotta do that in the States! I wish could’ve tried some.
And here are a few of Haru’s friends enjoying their strawberries.
After the 30 minute time limit of strawberry picking was up, it was time to thank the strawberry farm owner, wash off sticky red fingers, and hop back onto the bus.
Next up was visiting Joren no Taki (浄蓮の滝), a famous local waterfall here.
It was pretty cold and humid, and on top of the rocky path being so wet, Haru couldn’t take me out. But there were so many things to be seen! I wish I could have come out, but here you can get an idea of what she saw on the way down to the waterfall.
The further they journeyed down the slopes, the more… spiritual things felt. It wasn’t just that we passed an old shrine that gave it away. All you have to do is watch Hayao Miyazaki’s film, Princess Mononoke (もののけ姫), to understand the feeling. There was a powerful quietness there, a silent strength in every fiber of the wood.
It was as if there was a fine line separating this world and the outside one where all the tourists came from.
On the way back up the slippery, rocky slope, it was impossible to leave without checking out the area’s famous merchandise: wasabi ice cream!
Up next, it was time to experience the Dogashima (堂ヶ島) beach and boat ride.
To the docks, people – Captain’s orders!
I didn’t think a doll could feel seasick, but it was all I could do to stay in Haru’s bag and keep myself together. As for Haru, she didn’t want to wear a life jacket or get wet, so she stayed inside the boat and took pictures from there.
Apparently, we passed by a lot of amazing island structures, and even went into a cave. The drivers here in Japan are amazing! Be they bus or boat drivers, they can maneuver through the tiniest of spaces.
Once we made it back to land, it was off to see the trails.
The sun-dappled walkways led straight to a resting area, where even the Showa emperor came and sat down for a bit. But I wonder if he went rock-climbing like the rest of us!
Not too many people were climbing up and down the slopes since it could be steep and dangerous at times, but boy was it a great view.
There weren’t just tourists on these rocky faces though. We even saw a fisherman at work on the other side. How he got there, we’re not really sure. It would have been quite a jump from our rock to his side of the neighborhood.
Here’s a photo of Haru looking like she’s about the fly off the side of the cliff.
And here’s a photo of two guys who actually did. :D
After seeing Dogashima, it was off to the hot onsen baths. Now, this onsen was a lot bigger than the one the girls had the luxury of using at Zao in Yamagata prefecture. Unfortunately, Haru didn’t have the luxury of taking photos of the baths here in Izu this time, because there was a never ending queue of naked bath-goers. Even I didn’t get to see it, but according to my friend here, it was pretty amazing.
They had a salt bath, in which it was practically impossible to sink to the bottom of. It also stung any open cuts, so don’t go in that one if you’ve cut yourself shaving. There were tea baths and baths with water the color of white rice. From what we heard, some of these baths contained healing properties, like the various medicinal baths they had… Although to Haru, they smelled more like chicken soup than medicine. How about that?
By the end of the onsen visit, it was evening. To a horde of hungry, wired college kids, that means the unhappy sounds of grumbling bellies. However, thanks to Nahomi here, our awesome event coordinator, everyone’s painful, talking stomachs were taken care of. We ate at a kaiten-zushi (回転寿司) restaurant, or a restaurant that serves sushi on a conveyor belt for those who don’t know.
…and this is just the beginning of the feasting frenzy.
Here are just a few of the dishes that our group of seven snatched off the conveyor belt. Just watching everyone eat plate after plate of translucent, succulent fish makes my hollow, resin middle feel even hollower.
The dessert also looked scrumptious and ready to die for! Cream puffs, pudding, and chocolate cakes – I could really have some right now!
Here’s a photo of Yuan with about half the amount of plates we piled up during dinner. Workers and other dinner guests who passed our table kept giving us these curious, mystified looks – and I’m pretty sure that seeing a resin kid standing on the table had nothing to do with it.
Cheers to a dinner well devoured!
After everyone stuffed themselves, a long ride to Shinagawa station awaited us. While much of the time was spent on singing really out of tune karaoke, the rest was spent catching up on homework for some people.
For others like me though, it was time to hit the sack. Lights off, please!
And in my sleep, I dreamed that all was well, and that Komame had been there too. Boy, do I hope I find him by the end of our stay here in Japan.
Only one month left…
Good night all,