Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hakone Fujiya Hotel

DSCF0004When Yuko and I had our wedding we got a few free things from the hotel we got married at. One of the freebies was a free voucher for lodgings at any of their hotel chains across Japan. We decided we’d stay at the historic Hakone Fujiya Hotel.
I originally wanted to stay during the autumn leaves season in November but we couldn’t make it happen so we postponed it for early spring. I really wish we didn’t go when we did, I had the fiercest allergic reaction to pollen I’d ever had in my life. I think it was the catalyst for the following month of agony I’d have from allergies and congestion.
DSCF0009Putting my health complaints aside, the area around the hotel is very scenic and photo worthy. The hotel its self is very old, over 100 years old as a matter of fact. They kept it as close as they could to period as they could outside of the large flat screen TV in our room.
The plumbing, light fixtures, and especially the bathtub were all relics of the past. A lot of original fixtures were still in use there surprisingly and it showed. I was expecting a more up-kept slightly modernized hotel like the one I am familiar with in Coronado. Either way it was a good hotel to stay at and one of the most expensive places I’ve ever been a guest at.
Yuko tells me that Yoko Ono and John Lennon stayed here. I guess it is somewhat famous outside of just being historically old.
Yuko seemed really happy to be there. I wish I could have said the same but I was so out of it from puffy eyes and an inflamed repertory system from all the pollen that I barely even slept more than an hour straight. I want to go there again some day to experience it properly. Maybe I would have more to write about. Smile

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ikaho Onsen *hotspring* Gunma

DSCF0102For a short winter break with the in-laws we all planned to go somewhere for my father in-law’s retirement celebration. He just turned 60 years old and that means he can now retire because that’s how Japan works.
So we all decided to visit the picturesque Ikaho Onsen in Gunma Prefecture. I’ve been there a few times before, a couple of times as an exchange student and once with Yuko a few years back. This time instead of visiting there in the dead heat of summer, we somehow managed to find ourselves in a historical, record breaking snow storm.
We had a good time despite the super cold temperatures and relentless snowfall. I got to take a bath in one of those outdoor baths on the roof of the hotel we stayed at. It was cool seeing snow falling from the starry night sky into the hot pool I was in. Of course, no pictures of that I think…
DSCF0008We also visited a Showa period toy and car museum nearby. The Showa period for Japanese feels a lot like the 50s in the US and held in just as high regard. It would have been interesting living in Japan just as it was starting to become a decent manufacturer of electronics and machinery.

It was the first time any of my in-laws and especially my father in-law had ever been to Ikaho, so it was a really good experience. Maybe next time I won’t be so up tight and soak in a large outdoor bath with dad the next time. I must build up good relations and try to fit in as best I can after all.