|Day 4 Thu May 19, 2005 Waterfalls
We are up at 4:30 AM, jet lag. Not bad though, we're just up early and tired early, but we both feel really good.
First we go downstairs to take in the natural hot springs with a beautiful view of the lake. I am by myself in the outdoor hot sulfur springs. Then three Japanese ladies join me. Harold calls over the wall to me. One of the ladies says something to me, it sounds like the Japanese word for husband. I smile and nod, and answer Hai. Next I think she is asking where I am from, so I say "Chicago". Oh, she holds up two fingers. I shake by head no, and hold up four fingers. Then I hold up two and say "Chicago" and two again and say "Fukusima". Nods all the way around and smiles. I'm encouraged that I'm making my point, so I add, "Harley Davidson", I try to pronounce it the way Kyoko does. For a split second the three ladies look at me blank, and then a flash, and the first one goes "Ah, Vroommm, Vroomm" and she is holding up her hands pantomiming riding a Harley. Now I am sitting in the hot springs with three naked Japanese ladies all smiling and pretending they are riding Harleys, hands held on handle bars, and "vrooom, vroom, vroom" and we are all laughing.
Our room has a beautiful green tea setup. Harold makes us tea. We're sitting drinking tea, and enjoying our lake view, and we notice people walking around outside in the hotel kimono's. Harold decides to go out and take some photos of the hotel and the lake. When he returns he tells me, "I've already done something wrong". So I ask him what happened, he went outside wearing his inside slippers. "There's inside slippers and outside slippers?" "Hai". "Oh", I ask, "did someone yell at you?" No, he answers, Kazuo caught me. "Was he mad?" "No, but he seemed pretty concerned." So, Slipper Etiquette is very important. You never enter a sacred place with your shoes on. And when you enter someone's home, immediately remove your shoes. Slippers are provided. Oh, but it doesn't end there. When you use their bathroom, remove your house slippers, and put on the bathroom slippers. And when you are finished place the bathroom slippers with their heels to the door. Don't wear the bathroom slippers in the house or the house slippers in the bathroom. And don't wear inside slippers outside, change to the outside slippers, they are provided at the hotels.
I am doing poorly with the chop sticks. Its a good thing I decided to learn, but it's been several meals since I have even seen a spoon, knife or fork. Harold, on the other hand, has become a Master of the Chop Sticks. Except for one problem, he actually has marks on his right hand from the chop sticks. Kazuo says to relax.
Time for a little nature viewing today. We mount our Harley's and we're off for some waterfall viewing and photographing.