Saturday, February 28, 2009

Spa Day . . .

** Edited** added one new picture of what regular feet and fish look like.

I've been looking forward to going to one of the local "spas" here in Tokyo. I'm not really into the public bathing thing but some of the other services sounded pretty good. I went to Odaiba with four of my friends. We had a great time but of course there is always some kind of a mishap when I am involved.

We decided to start the day in the STEAM room. Before you enter the room there is a sign in English that says please be quiet. Four of us entered. There were different "beds" to choose from. Some with large stones, some smooth like concrete and lastly the "marble" bed. I have included a picture so you can get a good idea. There was a Japanese woman already laying down peacefully on her "bed." There is a wooden block to rest your head on and she seemed very relaxed. She didn't even acknowledge that we entered the room. The four of us were deciding which "bed" to choose. I was slower than the other ladies in deciding. My friend Erika insisted that I take one of the "marble" beds. The stones looked very smooth and more comfortable than the "rock" bed. I laid out my towel and stepped into my bed.

So much for the peace and tranquility. I didn't know you were supposed to use the wooden planks to crawl onto and then gingerly roll over onto your spot. I went flying down. Wearing a Japanese Yukata (picture a cotton bath robe), feet up in the air, arms flailing and landed splat on my behind. We were all laughing so hard and trying to still be quiet at the same time. Erika was scrambling trying to pick up all of the "marbles" that scattered all over the room. I'm surprised that the employees didn't come running to see what the loud noise was. The woman who was laying there didn't even open her eyes to see what the commotion was. I'm sure on the inside she was busting a gut.

After that peaceful start I went and had lunch in the "food court." The only thing I could read was a Korean sign advertising Pulgogi PiBimPap. There were no English signs. Just Japanese and Korean. Funny. They had a lot of yummy looking food choices but I went with one I knew.

Next appt. for the day was a head massage. I got the Aloe treatment. They washed my hair and then proceeded to put this slime on my head. That's the only way to explain it. Then she molded and rubbed it in. Pure heaven. I was hoping I didn't doze off and snore.

I met up with Erika and Wendy and we went to our 90 minute massage. Wow. Never had one. My lady was a tiny little woman but man did she have some powerful elbows. I am still a little sore in spots that must have been extra tense. It was a Shiatsu style massage so there was some definite pressure. It was great. Face down on the table for that long we all got up with some serious morning head.

The last stop of the day was the fish pond. I was really excited to try this out. I had been hearing about these little fish that eat dead skin. Anybody who knows me knows I have some serious dead skin on my feet!!!! I didn't think it would bug me but it is a little wierd having all of these fish swarm onto your feet and start nibbling. I had the most fish eating on my feet. I called them my FISH BOOTS. There was a 15 minute time limit. Now I know why. Those poor fish were totally boated after I got out.

Wendy getting used to the idea of fish nibbling on her tootsies.

Not sure she likes the fish nibbling . . .

What the Japanese Lady's foot looked like. She must use lotion!!

My FISH BOOTS. All those little black things are fish.

The cafeteria.

How the steam room is supposed to look if you do it right. Notice the little "marbles." Now picture them all over the room. . . .

Kamakura with the fam...

We have been in Japan for almost six months now. We actually did some site-seeing. We rode the train to Kamakura. Kamakura has many historically significant Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. It was a beautiful Saturday so of course there were a lot of people.

To prep the boys for our outing we gave them all plenty of warning and armed them with cameras so they could capture the day. The plan worked well. Not much complaining. We had a great day. Lots of walking but fun to see what the boys thought was picture worthy. Most of these photos are from Nathan's turn.

A torii 鳥居 is a traditional Japanese gate commonly found at the entry to a Shinto shrine, although it can be found at Buddhist temples as well. Torii mark the transition from the sacred (the shrine) to the profane (the normal world)

Samurai Swords and other weapons

Traditional Japanese Umbrella

Cool big brother?!

At the entrance to the Shrine there is a place to wash your hands.

The trees are beginning to bloom.

Goofy mom.

Prayers that people post.

Interesting hat... Maybe we should get one for Ryan. He always wanted to be Daniel Boone when he was little. . .
We were laughing at all the people and their dogs. These two were "twins" and the owners were taking a bunch of pictures.

Barrels of sake donated to the shrine by local businesses.

We thought that this was the funniest thing. The menu showed various "Amish" style foods. Not exactly the place we expected to see this.

Now these poor dogs had to have been humiliated wearing their strawberry print dresses. It's one thing on a little tiny dog but these two?!?!

The other cool brother. . .

All along the path there were these little booths selling various fruits in candied form. This one sold strawberries on a ritz cracker dipped in some sugar coating. Some of the others that Spence and I tried were HUGE grapes on a stick then dipped in hot sugar so that it made a sucker around it. Strange but good.

Donation and prayer bucket in front.

I have been wanting to post a picture of these vending machines. They are all over Japan. Walk a few steps and you will find another one. They have various hot and cold drinks in them.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

January -- bleh!

Not much to write this past month. We were in Utah for Christmas and had a great time. Crazy busy as usual. Not without trips to the doctor. Ben was on crutches for much of our holiday due to a nasty ingrown toenail removal. We also had a visit from Spencer's friend Ryan. He lives in Nottingham England. He enjoyed visiting the states.

As for January -- nothing much to say. It has been a pretty mild winter in Tokyo. I really don't miss the snow. We have had some rainy days but most of the time can get away with only a jacket.

Ben went to Hiroshima as part of a school trip. So glad that the exciting school trips continue. He is quite interested in stories of WWII. Having been to Normandy and Hiroshima the next stop would be Pearl Harbor.

The rest of us would like to visit Hiroshima too so Ben will get to be our tour guide. The thing that he thought was the most interesting was visiting the "Dome." It was the building that was about 250 meters away from where the bomb went off. It is still standing.

I have included some photos of Ben on his trip.