Gloria moments and final thoughts on Japan

Trip Start Jun 24, 2005
Trip End Mar 24, 2008

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Saturday, December 17, 2005

We headed to a small town called Ito to try a Japanese Onsen (hot spring). Onsens are actually quite small and the men and women are separated. You strip down and enter a small room steaming with spring water. The water is darn hot and takes a while to get accustomed to. My experience was not quite as memorable as my Turkish bath incident: fortunately for me. Although a few businessmen did get angry at me for accidentally spraying some cold water on them when I was cooling off

Gloria had a tough time at the Onsen. The idea of being naked with strangers in a hot tub rattled her psyche intensely. We encouraged her to take a peek first and then decide. She did and when she came back out, her face was red and she was visibly disturbed. She giggled and mumbled words at the same time, completely incomprehensibly. There was no doubt this was outside of her comfort zone. She wanted the experience and tried to rationalize it but her emotions were beyond her control. Kiyo and I sympathized but can't help but be amused by the whole ordeal. After a long struggle, she agreed to try. However, we do not actually know whether she did because we entered through separate entrances and she was already outside when we finished.

This is my last entry on Japan so I will end with some thoughts I may have left out:

- Walking around, you want to eat everything because the food looks so good with amazing packaging. It helps that most things are so cheap! Due to deflation in recent years, food and shopping in Japan has become mucho-affordable! You can get a bowl of hot noodles and hotter-than-mcdonalds-coffee green tea for under $5 CDN. The green tea is especially enjoyable walking in from the cold.
- 100 Yen Daiso stores are everywhere with things you didn't even know you needed. The guy who invented Daise deserves to be richer than Trump.
- Japanese Pachinko is a SCAM! The whole operation is controlled by the Yakusa (Japanese Mafia). There are few things in Japan worse than watching metal balls (and your money) go down the drain. Pun intended.
- All Japanese castles sit atop curved stone walls. The stone walls are often overlooked but is a thing of beauty.
- Gloria had quite a few entertaining train 'moments' in Japan. They include getting slapped on the knee by a Japanese man after she kicked him when fallen asleep and swinging her massive bag across an old lady who barely escaped terrified.
- Working men in Japan are nick named Salaryman because they feel frustrated about their long working hours and having no money to spend because they have to give it all to their wives who in turn gives back a small allowance each month.
- Many restaurants have machines dispensing meal tickets up front. A great invention. Tables are also equipped with buzzers like those found on airplanes to request for service.
- Dr Slump cars are everywhere. If you have watched the Japanese cartoon Dr Slump, then you know what I mean
- Japanese women like to wear skirts combined with boots. No matter how cold it is outside. Bravo I say.
- Mcdonalds is awesome in Japan. Try their McChicken, it is fantastic.
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