November 24, 2014

Monday - Sunny, some rain on the way home.

A good day…an odd weekend!

It all started rather swimmingly.  We left Tsuruoka around 7 pm on Friday night, got to our hotel in Shibata and had a pleasant night there.

We got on the road before 10:00am the next morning and arrived at our destination around 1:00 pm.  We drove around, found our hotel, but didn’t check in as we were too early.  We did a little shopping and more driving.  We checked in around 3 pm.

The hotel was older, basically a Bed and Breakfast.  It was supposedly an example of an Early American house.  Our room was fine.  We left our luggage, went out for a little more sightseeing and dinner.  I suggested going to a restaurant I’d been to before.  We went to Gravity Worx and had a really yummy meal.  F wasn’t too keen on the idea, but after he had some of the food, he was okay with ordering more!  I took a break from my diet for the weekend.  We had bread to start, then pizza and pasta.  We followed it all up with dessert too.  Yum.  

We went back to our hotel, had our bath, went upstairs to our room and relaxed.  I was doing some crochet, and had just finished darning some ends in when the house started to shake.  Yes, dear F and I went to Hakuba in Nagano, the epicentre of the earthquake!  Although I experienced the big 3/11 earthquake, I was on the other side of the country from it, and it wasn’t as strong here.  This earthquake was right under us and felt much, much stronger.  The lights went out just as F made a dive towards me on the bed!  On the other hand, I very carefully felt around for the needle packet and put the needle away. I remember thinking somewhat clearly that if I didn’t put the needle away safely, someone might step on it in the dark.  F opened our room door and the emergency lights were on out there. Fortunately for us, the lights came back on a few minutes later and the hotel owners came up to check on us.  

We had many aftershocks all night.  We couldn’t use the gas heater in the room, so the hotel owners brought up an electric one that we used instead.  F also sagely suggested that we change into our “street clothes” in case we had to make a run for it in the night.  All I can say is thank goodness for yoga pants because they are comfortable to sleep in. 

I am also glad for my smartphone because I was able to email my friends and family and let them know I was okay, probably before some of them had even heard about the earthquake.  

Sunday was F’s Birthday so we did a few things that he wanted to do.  We had breakfast in the hotel, then went out.  We did the “ashi-yu” or footbath next to the station, after buying towels at a drugstore for drying our feet.  It was something walking through the drugstore seeing all the merchandise on the floor.  Somehow, the stuff on the floor didn’t bother me quite as much as seeing the dishwashing liquid all this way and that on the shelves.
The Ashi-Yu had free wi-fi!

The ashi-yu was great, and then we looked for a museum, but it was closed for the season.  We had lunch at a soba restaurant, which was pretty good I have to admit. We also went to a glass bead shop.  I thought we’d just look around, but we got to make glass beads!  Each of us made a bead.  It was quite cool, and ever since I read the Dick Francis about the glassblower, I had wanted to work with glass.  We didn’t blow the glass, but we did work with it.  We had to let the beads cool before we could take them home, so we drove back to the station area and had drinks in a cafe there.  

Back at the Glass Bead place, we got our beads and were invited to make a necklace or a keychain with them.  We chose necklaces for me, so we spent some time putting them together.  F was really good at it and did most of the work.  Then again, he could understand the man’s explanation!  It wasn’t cheap, and I probably will never do it again, but it was fun learning a bit of a new thang.

We drove around more, even going to the Hakuba Ski Jumping Hill where the Olympic Ski Jump was.  It was technically closed so we couldn’t get too close, but we snapped a few pictures!

We went back to the hotel for dinner.  That’s where my problems started.  I won’t go into too many details, but I became under the weather and had to leave the dinner table a few times during the meal.  Poor F.  His birthday and he almost ends up eating alone.  

After our meal, I decided not to take my bath, but encouraged F to go.  The aftershocks had died down somewhat, although they did continue.  He went to the bath, I fell asleep on top of the bed.  I was surprised when F came back to the room.

We watched a bit of TV, I crocheted, but both of us were in bed and I think asleep before midnight.

This morning, we had our breakfast at the hotel, checked out around 10.  When we were in the room, F said, "I’d like to visit the Chihiro Museum." Since the only Chihiro I could think of was from a Ghibli movie I asked if he meant “Sento Chihiro”.  He didn’t.  He meant Chihiro Iwasaki, a famous Japanese artist.  I’m not a huge fan of her work, but it wasn’t my birthday the day before, so off we went.

F drove us there, it was about an hour away, and we spent the next 4 hours at the museum. It was huge, but rather interesting.  We did have lunch there too, and after we saw all the artwork, we went to the gift shop where I bought a few postcards!
The grounds of the Chihiro Art Museum Azumino. I think it would be lovely in summer.

After that, it was home.  It took us a long time to drive back, but apart from having to take a detour through Hakuba because of road closures, went surprisingly smoothly.  F was a powerhouse behind the wheel.  I dozed a bit and then found my  second wind for the last bit.  

We came home and have been catching up with email and “stuff” ever since.  F is in bed now, I’ll be joining him soon I hope.

Whew.  Long story…still with me?  Got to go. Night.


Rosa said...

Yikes! Makes for a memorable birthday trip for you and F, but earthquakes like that can be quite scary.

It's funny how pear-shaped our thoughts go during a quake when we're scared, like yours with the needle. I was in a big quake in Tokyo, was in an elevator (the worst place to be!) when it happened. When the doors opened, I stepped out and realized it was a huge quake and then thought, "I'd better get back on the elevator just to be safe." Tried to get back on but the elevator had shut down! LOL.

Helen said...

It was a scary one. It seemed to last for a few minutes and the house that we were in was quite creaky anyway. The windows rattled all the time and we weren't quite too sure the house would stand up!

You were in an elevator...scary! It's kind of lucky that you couldn't get back on the elevator. You might have been trapped there.

Crafty Tokyo Mama said...

Wow, now that's a memorable birthday trip for sure! So glad you weren't hurt and the house remained standing. The biggest quake I've experienced is a 5-, so a 6- must be really frightening. Aftershocks would finish me off with worry.

Helen said...

I try not to swear too much in daily life, but every time an aftershock happened, I let out some rather rude words!

It wasn't my favourite thing at all. I'm glad to be back home today.