I know this sounds like a post from long time ago, and it is indeed. But I don’t want to miss a thing so I would like to write some posts from my old trips now. Hehe. And I will write this on English because someone asked me to and I feel challenged! So here we go :)
Nearly 7 months ago, on 19-20th October 2013, some international students (including SPACE students) went to a trip to some places near Saga-shi. I have written the first part, where we went to Saga-Jo. Now I will continue what happened afterwards.
Our bus took us to Takeo, where we had our nice Japanese traditional lunch. It was held on a simple room, where each person got their own tray full of Japanese delicacies.
Takeo, is a city famous for its onsen (Japanese bath house). A famous dish from Takeo was Onsen Yudofu, tofu boiled with onsen water. It sounded quite weird and interesting at the same time. The small stove with paper on the right is that famous Onsen Yudofu. The thing on the left is rice container and the rest of the things on the tray are, as you can see, grilled fish, tsukemono (Japanese pickles), apple carved into rabbit shape and purin (Japanese pudding). It was a very nice lunch. I mean it.
After finishing our tasty lunch, we went back to the bus and went straight away to the neighboring city of Ureshino. Same with Takeo, Ureshino is also a famous onsen city. Kyushu is indeed famous of its onsens, that includes Saga prefecture. In Ureshino, we were divided into groups. With this group, I would do a team rally. The game is sort of “Amazing Race” type of game. We were given a set of questions and orders in different places of the city. So we should walk from A to B to C until reach the finish at our hotel.
The first task was to take group photo with certain poses on a famous bridge in Ureshino. It turned out like this. Hahaha!
This red bridge is located in a beautiful park beside a big, calm river which runs through the city. It was early Autumn so the leaves began falling and the scenery was as perfect as the weather.
exiting the park, we went to a famous onsen in Ureshino called Siebold No Yu. The building is European style. So, long ago, there was a German doctor named Siebold who visited Japan to teach about Western medicine. Well, it turned out that he also learned a lot about health and medicine from the Japanese. It is said that he came to Ureshino to examine the onsen water here.
in the other side of the building, we can find a free foot onsen. The next objective is to predict the temperature of the foot onsen, so that means we should give it a try. Our pleasure. Oh, about the temperature, I think it was about 40 degrees.
Few meters from the foot bath, we found another free foot bath. We should answer a question here: Why is there a special corner in the foot bath pond? Well, after seeing the picture, can you guess why?
Beside the “open-air” food bath, there was also a “closed-air” food bath. Haha, I don’t know how to describe it. It’s like the one in the picture below.
Finish with the onsen thingy, the next quest asked us to go to a local sweet shop and get some information about Maruboro. It’s the name of a local sweet bread, round-shaped, cheap and delicious! :)
Next, we had to go to a local shrine to meet the god. It’s kind of scary, huh. But actually it was not. Unlike usual gods which shaped like giant people or big scary animals, the god of this shrine is … a white, plump catfish! :))) people usually come and respect him by keeping him wet with water.
The last 2 quests were to take a picture on a monument and a shrine. Honestly, I felt tired already that time but … yeaaaah, we should go on. Hehehe.
as soon as we finished the trip, we walk along the quiet streets of Ureshino to find our way to the hotel. I was expecting a cheap mediocre hostel we usually had in Indonesian school field trip, but I was wrong. A whole lot wrong. This hotel is an 8-floor spa resort hotel with an observatory onsen in the rooftop. Oh my gosh. All my fatigue faded away as I walked into the lobby. This is the best trip I ever had in Japan, since I only paid 1000 Yen for the whole trip!
When we first entered the room in the afternoon, the futons were still folded in the cupboard. But when we went back after dinner, they magically unfolded in the floor like this! What kind of sorcery is this?! :P
Oh, I haven’t mentioned about the dinner. So, we had both buffet dinner and breakfast (the next morning) in the hotel. There were pasta, miso soup, all kind of salads, beef, seafood platter, sushi, karaage, curry, rice, fried rice, all kind of cakes and japanese pudding, fruits platter, stew and soups and sandwiches… oh my tummy was so happy.
Finished eating, some of us decided to go to the onsen. Including me. It was my first onsen experience. I was excited and nervous at the same time. As long as I remember, I never be naked in front of strangers since the 3rd grade and now, I have to bath with people I barely know for a not-so-short period of time. Yikes. But surprisingly, it went well. I walked out of my room with a yukata, take an elevator to the 8th floor, got into the women onsen, took a deep breath and strip away my yukata. After few minutes of trying-to-cover-my-whole-body-with-this-tiny-towel moment, I felt like “Oh whatever, everybody is naked here.” so I washed my hair and body clean, and soak myself in the rooftop rotenburo with everybody. It was damn good. I love onsen since then. ;)
*to be continued*