Back into the rising sun

It’s a beautiful Friday afternoon, I’m drinking an ice-cold Kirin, and I can’t begin to say how content I am to know that my holiday has officially begun. Tomorrow we head to Japan — the first time I’ll be back since I moved to Hong Kong. I’m excited about seeing a new place since we fly into Osaka and then hop a train south to stay in a sort of rural seaside town that is famous for hot springs and hiking.

There are a few things I am a bit nervous about, especially going into the onsen (hot springs in Japanese) naked as the day I was born with my boyfriend’s mother and her friend, but I suppose I have survived worse, and there certainly is a first time for everything….

My stomach is especially excited about going. I often think that my soul is from Trinidad, but my stomach was definitely made in Japan. From doing a little research I read about a town that has an izakaya district — an area with an endless choice of little restaurants, sushi shops and bars. Where should I begin? Delicious roasted chicken tsukune? Perhaps some fatty tuna sushi? Most definitely fresh edamame — boiled soy beans that you pop from the pod into your mouth that are excellent with cold beer. And no doubt more than one bottle of sake will be consumed by all.

I’m sure there will be many regional specialties, but one special dish that I won’t be trying is whale, which is on this town’s menu. I’d rather go whale watching than whale eating. Seems almost absurd that such a huge animal needs to be killed to feed people who certainly have many other options of things to eat, especially considering where all food ultimately ends up… down the toilet. But whaling is a sensitive topic for the Japanese, so I won’t go into more about that.

I have to wonder though — after being in China for a year, will I suddenly think Japan is weird? Will my perceptions of the country change after going through my own changes since moving to Hong Kong? Or perhaps visiting Japan again will remind me, quite painfully, of how much I really like it over there and how much I did not particularly want to leave? I’m sure it will be an interesting five days, nonetheless, and a great opportunity to see a side of rural Japan I’ve never seen before.

Stay tuned for new pictures of fall colours in Japan, and naked onsen adventures.

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