Today we were entertained by Atsu and his girlfriend, Mizuki.
We drove for ages through traffic jams to a famous stone buddha site in Chiba prefecture, but it was packed and the line up was hours long. So we went straight to lunch, eating some homemade cookies and Japanese citrus sweets in the car.
On the way Lara saw a monkey on the side of the road. Then we went to a State Park in Kimitsu for a BBQ lunch. Atsu made a delicious sukiyaki sauce to have with barbequed potato, onion, tofu, konyaku and grilled rice balls. Then we passed stage 1 of becoming Japanese by eating rice balls wrapped in nori sheets with umeboshi sour plums.
After lunch we drove a while to find some hot springs. Some of the places had closed early due to Golden Week. We eventually found an onsen that was open and joined the queue for a hot spring bath. It was quite busy – lots of people were also wanting to enjoy the baths. We collected towels, then put our shoes in a locker, then wandered through and put our personal belongings in another locker. Then we split off into boys and girls. We undressed in the change room and then washed with soap while sitting on little stools. After getting clean we sat in the hot springs outside in a little rock pool while looking at the scenery.
We had a great day and enjoyed talking with Atsu and sharing Australian/Japanese culture. For example, we taught Atsu the Tim Tam Slam in return for being initiated into the onsen experience.
Thanks guys for a fantastic day out! Happy Golden Week!