Posted by: Laura | December 3, 2008

Heading back to Tokyo

Everyone in Takayama has a Sarubobo... even the dogs!

Everyone in Takayama has a Sarubobo... even the dogs!

The next day we headed back to the morning markets to buy the last of our goodies.  We then went to a breakfast place we had seen the previous day for some waffles!  Mmmmm…  Waffles.  The traditional Japanese breakfast is very different from what we have back home – unless you’re one of those people who grabs cold leftovers for breakfast before heading out the door!  The traditional breakfast we had back at our first hotel in Matsumoto consisted of small hot dogs, rice, apples, some type of soup, an egg omelet square, and coffee, tea, etc.  Not all that different I guess if you really think about it and equate it to sausage, eggs, and fruit, but for those of you who know me well enough to know exactly what I would get if we went to a diner at any time of the day – I like my breakfast food…  Usually I’m a pancakes person, but waffles will do.  So, we tried out the waffle place.  It was pretty good, and more satisfying to me than the alternative.  The surprise was, they gave us ice cream with our waffles!  If you’ve been keeping up with my inter-mitten blogging, I’ve already said once about there seeming to be an obsession with ice cream over here – but who can blame them!

A fun English translation at the market... go ahead... try to make some sense of it

A fun English translation at a food stand at the market. Go ahead... try to make some sense of it!

Our Toilet slippers on the bathroom floor area, and my regular slippers on the landing area in the bathroom before the bathroom floor... I follow the rules!

Our Toilet slippers on the bathroom floor area, and my regular slippers on the landing area in the bathroom before the bathroom floor... apparently you're supposed to coordinate your slippers with the floor tiles.

Anyways, back to the hotel to get the car, and I just had to take a picture of the oh-so-stylish slippers we wore in the minshuku.  In the Japanese culture, feet are a very dirty thing, so most households, temples, etc. make you take off your shoes before you enter.  In many places (especially traditional households) they even have separate slippers for the bathroom – meaning, you change out of the slippers you already exchanged your street shoes for at the door for yet another pair of slippers that are only to be worn in the bathroom.  As you will see in the picture, ours not only were bright red in contrast to our neutral shade of the regular slippers, but they also said “Toilet” on them – in case you forgot to take them off when leaving the bathroom and then forgot where you got the bright red slippers unlike everyone else’s neutral shade ones.  NOTE TO SELF:  Next time, in planning to visit a country with a culture where you take your shoes off all the time – 1. Make sure you have shoes that slip on and off easily, so you’re not THAT American sitting there untying and tying your shoes all the time, tying up the lines, &  2. Visit in the warmer seasons… wandering around castles with no insulation and stone floors in your socks is not so fun in the winter.

So, on from the minshuku, we hit the road back to Tokyo.  The snow was still amazing in the mountains, so I’ll throw in a picture or two of that.  We thought we were in the clear, and might actually get back earlier than planned when… we realized that we apparently decided to come back at the same time as EVERYONE else who left Tokyo for their holiday weekend (apparently it was Labor Day, we didn’t even know what holiday it was until Mandy asked one of her tutoring students – who had to check her calendar because she didn’t even know).  So… we spent some quality time in the car together with all the other Tokyoites on the road with us.  Eventually we got home, thankful to be alive after hours of traffic and trying to find our way back to the apartment interpreting signs that made no sense.  Paul and Mandy don’t have a car, so they never have to drive themselves home.  But all-in-all, a great weekend, and a great introduction to this culture I’ve decided to immerse myself in for a whole month.

Pretty snow on the drive back from Takayama

Pretty snow on the drive back from Takayama

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: