11 August, 2017

My unusual week

I've had a full, but unusual week. Aside from Tuesday morning, this is the first time I've sat at my desk all week.

Almost all of the Japan Harvest magazine team was present for our meeting,
one key member joined us for six hours continuously on Skype!
Annual planning meeting for Japan Harvest magazine. Eleven of us (writers, editors, and advertising director/administration assistant/translator/office manager) gathered for the day. As I anticipated in my last post, it was an exciting day. It isn't easy to make decisions when there are that many people in a meeting, but we made progress in some areas.

What I always appreciate is hearing these people's passion for the magazine. They aren't doing this because they have to. It's not just a job to them, they own the mission. There is a genuine desire to do the best we can to support the mission community in Japan.

We made some progress in planning for my home assignment. We mostly need more editors from early next year, so that's something we're praying for. We also need an additional proofreader, but not because of my home assignment, because our excellent proofreader has taken on another job, so has less time than he used to have.

After lunch David and I took off for the Hakone area. It was a milestone adventure. Our goal was to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary (about six weeks early, but at a much more convenient time). It's the first time we've gone away overnight on our own for ten years (for pleasure, perhaps we've done it once or twice for work). 

This time, with a fairly responsible 18 y.o. in the house and everyone on holidays, we decided to leave the boys on their own. We left a safety net, with friends just down the road. The boys had dinner with them on both of the nights we were away. All went smoothly on that front.

Our accomodation, built on the side of a mountain.

We stayed at a modern Japanese-style hot spring hotel. It was small, only nine rooms. There were men's and women's baths as well as a private shower/tub in each room. Or should I say, "outside" each room: it was on the balcony!

Our room was at the top on in the middle of the photo.
Green viewing from all angles!
It's a mountainous area and our little abode was built on a slope, indeed, only one or two rooms per level. So peaceful. But not just the hotel, the fact that we had no one else to consult about anything. No one to console, or cajole, or manipulate connive to execute a plan. So blissful.
Our personal Japanese hot tub and shower (on the right).
You clean up before you hop in the tub.

We live up near the yellow star and were staying at
the red "pin".

Japanese-style breakfast. Rice, fish, miso soup and seaweed.
With a cold, slightly boiled egg and small accompaniments.

After a Japanese-style breakfast at our lodgings we hiked up the road (aka the side of a mountain) for a kilometre to get to the rope-way that would take us to the local lake. Neither of us are mountain hikers and you surely could tell!

The view from the rope-way was wonderful and well worth the trip. We headed over the top of a ridge (and saw an area where sulphur fumes bubble to the surface of this active volcano) and down to Lake Ashi. We were deposited on its shore and caught a ferry to the other end of the lake where we found a variety of touristy things: shops, museums, and more shops.
From the ropeway down to Lake Ashi. This is part of what seems to have been a huge volcano
or several volcanoes long ago. The lake is a caldron lake, like the one we camped at in July, but
nowhere near as deep (max depth about 45m).

We went and learnt about the history of the area as a major security checkpoint for 250 years. It was a place that the main road (Tōkaido) between Edo (modern day Tokyo), Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, and Osaka to the west (there were four other roads, but this was the busiest) passed through. Guarded by inhospitable mountains all around, it was hard to travel through this area without going past this checkpoint. What were they checking for? Arms going into Edo and women leaving. Apparently the shogun kept the wives of various area lords captive in Edo. It was a way to ensure that the lords behaved themselves and visited regularly.
Looking out one of the checkpoint gates from inside.

My wonderful husband with our noodle lunch.
We enjoyed a traditional cold-noodle lunch then shaved ice (it was a hot day). And then, after some souvenir shopping, we sipped ice coffee/cocoa while waiting for the next ferry. 

The lake was beautiful and very calm, it hardly felt like we were on the water at all.

Our plan was to go back on the rope-way (we had return tickets), but it closed due to excess fumes, so instead we had to catch a couple of buses.

Oh the bliss of a cool shower on our private balcony when we returned, all hot and sticky! Then another meal, just the two of us. Just as we're not used to going away on our own, we're also not used to multiple meals on our own or out at restaurants. After just a day of it we were craving more veggies and less carbs!

After another Japanese breakfast we headed on our way home, via another lake. We were in no rush to go home, so we drove to the afore mentioned area atop the local ridge with its sulphur fumes. It was open and we wandered around there in a museum for a bit. Learning more about the geography of the area. There wasn't much to see outside, because a fog or low-cloud had descended over the whole area, I'm thankful for the photos I snapped from the rope-way the day before.
The steam emerging out of the volcano. The smell of sulphur was quite strong.
This is where the area sources its hot water for a huge hot springs (onsen) industry.

I love this little sign at the information/ticket window.
I was amazed throughout our couple of days posing as tourists at how much English was available and how many spoke in English to us. This museum was no different, there was a lot of information on the exhibits in English. This really is a different Japan to the one we live in, in our everyday lives.

After this we took a side-trip to another lake, Yamanaka, for lunch and then headed back to Tokyo, stopping for coffee/hot cocoa at a road-side parking area for afternoon tea.

All in all it was a leisurely day and the end of a delightful couple of days away. I could do it again in a heartbeat, though you quickly realise how expensive it is to eat out every meal! Camping takes more energy, but it is much more economical.

1 comment:

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

Happy anniversary! By your photos, I was transported back to Japan and Hakone, that delicious looking breakfast, tempura lunch, that ship and the sulfur smells of Hakone.