Tuesday, September 19, 2006

敬老の日・けいろうのひ・keiro no hi ・Respect for the Aged Day

Finally, a long weekend. I was supposed to be off to Lake Toya again for more welcoming parties for the newcomers to this fair isle, but I was still feeling under the weather, and not keen to get worse by heading out for a weekend of not enough sleep and too much partying. Fun, but I need a break.

So I took full advantage. I slept in everyday, I made breakfast, I watched movies, and generally did very little. I did make one excursion to a local-ish onsen in the mountains. It's still a bit early for the colours to have changed, but it was breath-taking nonetheless. I drove into the mountains before I got to my turnoff: a single lane dirt road. Yay! I only had to drive backwards at one point, when I met the shuttle-bus coming down the mountain.

I didn't leave myself a whole lot of time for hiking -- I was really just there for a good boil in the onsen. But I did have enough time to go look at the trailhead and kick myself for not having enough time to hike anywhere. Ah well.

I headed back down to the onsen for some soaking. It was a small place -- it really reminded me of the little ryokan/onsen in Aomori that I stayed at with Francis over Golden Week. It was busy for a place with only a small inside bath and three shower stations: lots of hikers coming down off the mountian and people coming up for the long weekend. I'm sure it will be busier in the coming weeks as the colours change. There were so many people using the showers that the flow of water to the bath inside (coming out of a wooden bear's head no less) was cut off.

Not outside though. The water was incredibly hot, and the view was pretty good. I think the other side had an even better view though. Maybe if the road is still open when I head down for the Fall Meeting I'll see it they've switched sides...

So that was pretty much all I did all weekend. It was extremely relaxing. I highly recommend a weekend off for everyone.

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