Showers

So the other tricky thing with an outhouse is how to feel clean after a few days.

 

This is the shower room attached to the outhouse at my cabin. As you can see there is a washing machine, golf clubs, and I’m guessing tons of bugs. Not exactly the set up to feel clean after a few days of not bathing.

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So the neighbors that have taken me in have offered use of their facilities anytime. Much, much better. It’s inside, they have a tub, and it’s clean. Very thankful for this.

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So to bathe, you sit on the little stool and use the ladle to scoop water out of the bathtub into the little wooden bowl and you basically scrub yourself down. There are no hot water heaters, so when you are ready to rinse, you take the shower hose in the bucket, which has been filled with hot water from the stove and rinse off. If you are lucky, like I was yesterday the tub has been filled with hot water already so after you wash, you can soak in the tub.

It’s considered a no no in Japan to get soap or shampoo in the bathtub. It’s for soaking, not cleaning.

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Togakushi

Drove out towards Togakushi mountain one day.  The area is known for their soba (buckwheat) and so many products, the most famous being the soba noodles are made out here. I’ve seen them use it in cookies, ice cream, and tea just to name a few. Happened to be there at the right time to see the dough being rolled.Image

 

There is also an upper, middle, and lower shrine, however due to the rain we were only able to make it to the middle one and part of the way to the lower one.

Some of the shrines and the big trees date back to the 16th or 17th century.

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Cabin

I haven’t posted in a while because my internet connection has been acting up while here and it’s been rainy and to get down to the water where they say is a better connection is a 10 minute hike down the mountain. So I’ll try to post quickly while I have internet here at the cabin.

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These are part of the stair system up and down the mountain.

ImageThis is the cabin where I’m staying. The porch is huge and great and I have a peek-a-boo view of the lake. The outhouse is on the left. The outhouse is still not desirable but at least the hoppers have pretty much evacuated.

 

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These are what the “hoppers” or camel back crickets look like. Disgusting creatures.

 

Just some shots of the cabin. Large porch and living dining area, but tiny kitchen.Image The dreaded outhouse.

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Sushi Express

On the drive up to the lake we stopped for sushi at one of those conveyor type places. However, the catch with this one is that if you don’t want to grab a dish that has been circulating around for who knows how long, you can order with a screen at your table. The Japanese twist is that once they make your order in the kitchen, they send it out on a train that comes running along above they conveyor. The side cars are your plates with sushi on them. And everything is 100 yen, or about $1!

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ordering

The train has arrived

The train has arrived

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yum!

Lake Nojiri

Made the three hour drive up to Nojiri today. Toll freeway was about $50 give or take. I’m guessing nobody would travel between Seattle and Portland ever again if that was the price.

The area is beautiful here up in the alps, however the cottage is, well….a little rustic and will take some adjusting to. Mainly the bugs and the outhouse. I miss my heated toilets back in the city. Actually it wouldn’t be so bad, but there are these little bugs they nicknamed hoppers. While trying to use the bathroom for the first time I ended up running out with my pants down as I thought they were trying to attack me. Will need to figure out a plan or strike up some sort of deal with them if this is going to work.

In other news, I am officially jet lagged. Made for quite an interesting time shopping at the grocery store, or what felt like another planet. I have no idea what I even bought, but it felt like it took hours to accomplish .My first meal was going to be pizza and beer, but so far it’s just beer. I don’t have the energy to even make anything right now.  It’s only about 8pm here but feel like I will crash within the hour.

 

 

Korean BBQ

Obligatory photos of food. Although I failed (I was focused on cooking my beef and pigging out on everything) and only captured a small portion of what was served last night at a Korean BBQ house. Really, there were at least 12 different dishes. I may be underestimating that.

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Ramen that had so many things hidden below the broth. Kimchi, pickled cucumbers, pears, eggs, and much more.

Ramen that had so many things hidden below the broth. Kimchi, pickled cucumbers, pears, eggs, and much more.

pickled things

pickled things

And after making fun of the beer vending machine, ended up purchasing one last night. Strong Zero. 8% alcohol and less than 50 calories. Not terrible, maybe the Japanese equivalent to Mike’s Hard Lemonade, but way cheaper at around $1.50.

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