I thought my Facebook campaign for Japan was quite successful and I wanted to compile all those highlights and micro-updates into a single post. Hopefully this best illustrates the hospitality I received from strangers, the delicious food I ate, the quirks of Japanese culture, and gives you a general idea of my route through Japan. These 17 days were some of most fulfilling travel experiences of my career.
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I befriended a old Japanese guy on the ferry. He talked to me for 25 minutes but the only thing we communicated properly is that he is 63 and from Fukuoka and I am 33. He bought me an Asahi Super Dry from the vending machine! Finally made it to Japan!
Just had a $10 bowl of ramen.
These heated toilet seats are something I could get used to!
Arrived at the hot spring capital of Japan: Beppu. Even the Hostel here has an onsen (natural mineral bath)! Yeah Khaosan Beppu!
Mission accomplished: found the hidden onsen (hot springs) up in the hills above Beppu! Met a guy there who, after learning I was writing a story about Beppu’s hot springs, got inspired to drive me around to the other two natural hot springs. Met a bunch of old men soaking at the last onsen, many who actually knew English pretty well. Another day of meeting super-friendly strangers in Japan.
Huge shout out to the staff of Khaosan Beppu for their hospitality in Beppu, Japan. Thanks for being patient with all my sightseeing and transportation questions, thanks for your awesome food recommendations, and thanks for being a fun place to hang for four days…not to mention being the only hostel I’ve ever stayed at with a real onsen (natural hot mineral bath). Arigatou gozaimasu!
Saying bye to Kyushu, hello to Shikoku, and thanks for 800 likes!
Left Matsuyama City this morning. One of the highlights there was bathing at the Dogo Onsen Honkan—the oldest hot springs in Japan. The present building, shown here, was built in 1894. (apologies for the lack of inside pictures…due to all the nakedness, photography was prohibited.) But you’ll just have to believe me, the Kami-no-yu “Hot water of the Gods” was gorgeous—two identical stone baths decorated with mosaics of heron.
I’m noticing that standing in the convenience store reading magazines and comics for a lengthy time for free is a national pastime in Japan.
…and 7-11 continuously plays an instrumental version of Daydream Believer, non-stop.
Spending a night on Naoshima Island, in the Seto Inland Sea, which has a number of contemporary art museums and art installations. Even the public bathhouse here is an art installation.
Experimental accommodation night, part II: Internet cafe. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Actually, it’s a legit accommodation here in Japan. There are traditional seats at the PC or you can pay a little more and have your own cubicle. Each cube has its own PC and a mat or seat for stretching out. Pros: free soft drinks all night long. Cons: a) it’s actually not much cheaper than a capsule b) lots of cigarette smoke
Burnt another paycheck at the tea shop.
Alas, my raw fish eating streak comes to an end at 17 days.