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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by lightcycle, Aug 1, 2012.
Do any surf.com in Japan? Jaja.
A Thai-m to laugh... ๕๕๕
Oooh, this ferry is fancy, they have wheel chocks for our motorcycles! Neda assumes the Japanese rest position for the two hour crossing
The ferry spits us out in the city of Beppu, and we are starving! So before checking into our hotel, we ride around town until we find our favorite food. It doesn't take us very long to find...
Sushi! Seems we are off the Gaijin Trail once again, because: no English. Also, everything is automated
so Neda has to use Google Translate to decipher the menu.
There are some languages that Google Translate does well with. Japanese and other Asian languages are a terrible fail. The poor Translation Apps only serve to confuse you even more. At least some of the translations are entertaining... Thankfully the tablet-driven menu has pictures, so we are at least able to select what we want to eat. Confirming the order and paying are a different matter entirely, and we throw the whole automation system out of whack by having to call someone over to help us with the buttons on the tablet.
Unfortunately, this sushi was not the best we've had in the country. I didn't know you could order bad sushi in Japan... Oh well.
At least we're not hungry anymore, so we find our hotel and check in.
Our hotel is very comfortable and they seem to cater to Gaijin as well, because some of the signs are in English... or maybe they're in Jamaican...
One of the selling features of this hotel, and the main reason why we booked here, is because it has an onsen! An onsen is a hot spring bath. Nobody in Japan takes showers, they all go to the public hot baths, it's a social thing. There is a shower in our washroom, but it's probably just for gaijin. So we're not doing that. Instead, we find these folded up neatly in the closet:
These are the Japanese equivalent of terrycloth bath robes, to wear before and after visiting an onsen.
They're called Yukata. So cool!
We had to Google the proper way to wear them. Like all things Japanese, there's a right way to do things and a wrong way, and plenty of people around to judge you if you're doing it wrong! These robes are called Ryokan Yukata (Ryokan is a Japanese Inn), even though we're not really staying at a true ryokan, more of a hotel.
Neda is sporting the Chabaori, which is a half-jacket you wear over a yakuta during the colder months.
The Yukata is meant to be worn while you are staying in the Ryokan or hotel, walking the halls, at meals, etc. If the town you are staying in is an onsen town, it's even acceptable to wear it outside in public. Although Beppu is a pretty well-known spa resort town (over 2000 onsens here!), it's also a fairly large city, so we'd look pretty silly wearing these outside...
Neda is off to her onsen!
I've read so much about onsens, and the ones I've seen have all been these outdoors natural hot spring pools, but the one in the hotel was just a swimming pool. Well, actually two pools, one hot and the other one VERY HOT! I was the only one in the onsen, so I totally could have brought my camera in and taken some pictures. I might do that next time. Don't get too excited guys, onsens are segregated by sex...
So much to describe about the onsen experience, but I'll do that later when I have some pictures to share. Since Kyushu is actually known for its hot springs, I'm sure all of the places we're going to stay in while on this island will have an onsen. Hmmm... Sneaking a camera into a public bath house... what could possibly go wrong?
Death by snu snu?
Katsumoto(last samurai): I think this is a very good death
Unlikely, as there is a distinct lack of Amazon-like women in Japan...
Never really had Japan on my list....now maybe I do :)
Great ride report, or is it a lifestyle report or perhaps both? You appear to balance life and sharing very well which is not such an easy thing to do.
That's a good point. I think the ride becomes a lifestyle when you don't have a home to go back to.
Then all of the mundane, everyday chores like grocery shopping, doing laundry, getting your hair cut, etc. becomes a lot more interesting when you're having to do it in different places, in different languages, and in the context of different cultures.
It's not like you can put all of it off and say, "I'll just get my hair cut after the trip, when I return home"...
Neda's Spanish is pretty good, but more than once she's come out of a hair salon in Latin America not entirely happy and that's when she realizes that her Spanish isn't *that* good...
Not to mention trying to find a barber in Africa that knows how to cut Asian hair!
The next day, we're off to explore this new island! Leaving Beppu, riding past some farmers fields to head south.
In addition to hot springs, Kyushu is also known for agriculture because of its sub-tropical climate. And because of that warm climate, it's the only island where you can motorcycle all-year-round!
Just outside of Beppu, we stop at the Iwashita Collection (motorcycle museum)
We poked our head inside. The entry fee was a bit expensive and it looked kinda junky from the reception area, so we decided to opt out. Instead, we took the opportunity in the parking lot to admire the mountains of the Oita Prefecture, and also to take off our rain suits, which have been doubling as a cold-protection layer. Because for the first time since we've arrived in Japan, the temperature has hit 20C! YAY!!!! Spring is finally here!
Well I finally caught up with this epic RR. Been reading when I can for at least a couple of months and it's pretty addictive.
Well written, great photo's and some very witty (and some sh!##y) puns to keep me laughing.
Looking forward to the updates and if you ever find yourselves on the west coast of Australia feel free to get in touch and we'll see if we can't show you around a bit. :)
Thanks! Australia is most definitely on our to-do list!
Gene and Neda, thank you for the update. This is by far the best report on ADV. I understand the difficulty in getting motivated in writing nearly everyday. Please know we do understand the lack of motivation. But what a treat when you do write! The snippets are amazing, thanks for those. Just know we all look forward to your writings. Be safe.
Sweet motorcyle riding in the twisty mountain roads without our bulky overclothes!
We are entering the Aso-Kuju National Park, right in the middle of Oita Prefecture.
The road we're on will skirt the eastern edge of Mount Aso, the largest active volcano in Japan, which is in the mountain range that we are seeing in the distance ahead of us. But then we'll veer east, back to the coast. The peaks are magnificent and the plan is to visit Mount Aso on the way back up on the western side of Kyushu. The weather is changing so quickly these days. It might be warm enough in a weeks' time, that we may be able to head up into those mountains... fingers crossed.
We stop for a little break next to a little roadside topiary
And then back to do more basking in the sun while hitting some twisties. What glorious weather we're having!