Anna's birthday party in Akiu

Trip Start Jul 26, 2008
Trip End Aug 06, 2009

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Flag of Japan  , Tohoku,
Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Tome ALTs and co. went to Akiu (in Sendai) for Anna's birthday party.  First, we stopped at an outlet mall for lunch.  It wasn't downtown so it didn't feel like Sendai.  Still no success with finding my cosplay items, but I bought this pretty green skirt in an "ethnic shop" that was a half off.
Then we went to the Akiu Otaki Falls, which had a shrine and botanical garden in addition to the famous waterfall.  I haven't been out in nature for a long time so it was nice.  Everything was so peaceful.  I felt adventurous being surrounded by trees and rocks and hiking up the hills. ^^
We spent the night at a ryokan with several onsen.  Rachelle, Pip, Amy, and Kavita were eager to go to the baths so they went before dinner.  The rest of us decided to chill out and drink tea.  After dinner, I went to bathe with the girls.  The first onsen was outdoors so we were freezing cold at first.  The water, however, was extremely hot.  The guys next door probably heard a lot of "Atsui, atsui!"  The water being too hot for our liking, Chiho, Miyuki, Rachelle, and I moved onto another one on the seventh floor.  This one was indoors and not as hot.  I still like the atmosphere of the outdoors one because it doesn't remind me of sitting in a hot tub.  My ability to soak is very weak (my heart starts to pound quickly and I get dizzy) so I was the first person out.
When the four of us returned, we found that Anna had gotten very ill.  She hadn't been feeling well this past week, but we thought she was getting better and that the onsen might improve her health.  The poor girl wound up going to the hospital, which was an hour away.  Everybody was in low spirits after she had left.  We had bought drinks, snacks, and games to enjoy with her.  I went into the all girls room, and things slowly started to lighten up.  I felt like I was at Rice again, chatting about random thing with my roommates in our PJs with a whole bunch of snacks.  Michael X joined us, and Judd came later on.  It was nice to just talk and laugh because I felt like I hadn't had a chance to do that here yet.
The next morning, Anna was doing much better.  They had come back while we were asleep (there was a bit of room swapping).  We were all tired because we stayed up late, and breakfast only ran from 7-9 AM.  After checking out, we decided to explore Rairai Canyon nearby.  It was cool.  Then we drove out to the Imoni picnic area.  Imoni is a meat and potato soup that is cooked on a big pot over a campfire.  The area was crowded, and there were quite a few drunk people.  Apparently the people next to us were saying, "Gaijin can't cook Japanese food" (never mind that we had 2 Nihonjin).  Later, after we were ready to eat, they said, "The gaijin are beating us."  Go Michael X and his super cooking skills!  I was cold, but the soup helped warm me up.  There was way too much food, and Sarah managed to get her hands on some yakitori.  We joked about how because she exudes a friendly aura, people give her things and randomly talk to her.  The experience was really unique, and I'd like to do some other time.  I'm getting hungry thinking of the food.  ^^;;

ryokan - traditional Japanese inn (see picture)
onsen - hot spring; used to describe the bathing facilities in the hot springs area
atsui - hot
gaijin - foreigners; Nihonjin - Japanese people
yakitori - grilled chicken on a skewer
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