Sunday, June 11, 2006

Country Living

We crashed at Sue Yen's place in Arino-cho. Yep, it's quite inaka (country) but offers a different, yet still beautiful, backdrop of Japan to what I'm used to.

Her apartment block is surrounded by rice fields, vegetable farms and mountains. I took me awhile to get used to hearing the train passing by every 15 minutes or so and the chorus of frogs in the rice fields. But her place is really nice, quite new and much bigger than I had expected since she always says its tiny. I think for one person, it's perfect. Especially having that sushi shop right next door.

The view from her front door

The next day we headed to Arima Onsen, which is only one train stop away from her place. I've been to Arima a few times but this was my first time to try their famous and very old hot springs. Kinnoyu (gold onsen) is quite famous as the minerals in the water makes it a red clay colour. It was also very hot (42-44 degrees) and very crowded.

After that we went to have oknomiyaki for lunch, followed by some soy bean soft serve. Extremely tasty and satisfying. Then it was off to soak in Ginnoyu (silver onsen). This one was not as crowded and also had a sauna.

Then it was back to Sue Yen's place for some dinner. We went to the sushi restaurant next to her apartment and bumped into some of her neighbours. All I can say is that country hospitality is so warm and friendly. Her neighbours and the sushi shop owner were all so nice and funny. The chef dude even came out of the kitchen to show us the kinds of fish he would be using and to check if we could eat it raw. The eel was the best I've ever tasted. I'm not usually a fan of unagi or anago (sea and river eels) but it was just so fresh and tasty. The chawanmushi was really yummy too, so good that I burnt my tongue because I couldn't wait to eat it.

Then I had to leave the girls and head home. Monday already?!


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