Day Fifteen – Tokyo; Dunedin

Another very early morning – this time by choice. I figure if my plane leaves at 6 (that’s 10pm NZ time) I can fall asleep in the next couple of hours and set an alarm so I wake up earlier than usual for me (say 2 to 4 hours) which should hopefully aid in switching over to NZ time again. Hopefully. I treated myself to a can of warm coffee from the 100yen vending machine down the road and meandered through the side streets in the direction of Akihabara. Waking through the side roads, a couple of houses reminded me of biking the streets of Kyoto, with some kind of shrine thing outside. 

I stood outside a massive, enormous, gigantic department store called Yodabashi-Akiba which I just can’t express the size of, waiting until it opened. They had everything – I assumed I would just spend the few hours I had in that place. 

And a few hours in that place I did spend. I asked a guy in Japanese, “I have a NZ PS3/4 and the games are Japanese, will they work together?” He replied in Japanese. I sensed his tone and appropriated a dejected face and thanked him then left. I still have no idea what he said. But I purchased a cool case for my 3DS, and asked a guy for some popular Japanese music. He must have thought that ‘popular’ was a genre and said they don’t have any, but the CDs are over that way. So I perused and found a few artists I already know, picked one, and another couple of random ones. 

Then I checked out the other 7 floors, bought some puzzles, and left. I got a text from Swang saying how much he missed me, and took a moment to feel something in my cold, black heart. I then navigated to the part of Akihabara I remembered from my first visit and bought a bunch of different flavours of kit Kat, and ignored a few maids on the street. 

On the way back to get my bag I realised by a shop I used as a landmark I had been walking the wrong way. I went back to the hostel and wandered aimlessly for some time, then I got my bag and asked the best way to get to Narita airport, rearranged all of the things in my 3 bags, and set off. 

At Aoto station I was supposed to change to the Keisei line to get to terminal 1 of Narita airport, but there were so many different directions and times I just states red at the map for a while until an elderly woman who was reading the timetable pointed at one and said Narita – I was very thankful.

On the train I watched a woman as we approached a station – she stepped onto the train and tapped a girl on the head a couple of times. The girl was fast asleep, slumped against the pole with her mouth open. She woke up startled and looked guilty as the both got off the train. 

At Narita I made it to the departure… court. It was like a playing field, I had to ask for help to find the location of air New Zealand – and found it wasn’t open yet. So I sat and waited with my bag for 40 mins and finally was able to line up and check it in. 

With my bag gone, I was definitely ready for food. It was ten to 3 and I realised I hadn’t eaten at all – so I found the food court and decided on a nice mixed meat soba (noodles in soup and some meats). At least I think it was mixed. I couldn’t read the kanji so I went off of what I could read. 

 

And garnished with my tears
 
I decided I would just go through immigration and all that so I could sit down and rest my feet, then played on the travellators for half an hour, and bought my last drink and some chocolate. 

After boarding I watched the whole of Interstellar which is like 3 hours long, and that made it about 2am NZ time by the time I was ready to you to sleep, so it sort of ruined my plan..

After going to sleep Japanese time, I then woke up in the New Zealand morning which basically means I had bugger all sleep. So I was sluggish going to Christchurch and Dunedin, trying to stay awake/ counter jetlag. 

Going through customs in Auckland was a BREEZE. Like he looked at what I ticked, and when I told him it was mostly chocolate and rice flour treats he said to follow the green path – which led right outside. Meanwhile almost every other person was going through the X-ray machines. What if I lied! I could have anything in my bag – I could have smuggled one of the bunnies from Okunoshima!

Also the flight through to Dunedin was on a Q300 – 2 rows of two seats and it sounded like a swarm of bumble bees. If I weren’t so tired I would have been terrified. 

I took a shuttle home with a guy who thought he knew everything about Japan and basically said horrible things the whole way home – I’ve decided I won’t take kiwi shuttles again (especially after a prior shuttle including a racist, sexist and homophobic shuttle driver – why do they have to talk to me when I’m the only one?)

I got home and unpacked, then I enjoyed my loot and tried to relax. 

Flash helps me work out my puzzle.

That’s all, folks. 

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Day Fourteen – Hiroshima; Kyoto; Tokyo

I woke up to the door slamming at like 4:30/5am – cursed Swang and googled some train times, then I fell back to sleep.

I woke a few hours later and walked to a small station, which took me to the larger one. It turns out the route I wanted to take would leave me sprinting to catch another bullet train at the transfer station, so the man kindly put me on a much later but better choice of train. I began the conversation in Japanese telling him where I wanted to go, and he carried that on all the way so I mustered my best ‘mhmm’s and ‘so desu’s until he gave me the ticket and receipt and I went over it out of his sight. I’d understood most of it, however it seems I would be getting on the non-reserved section of the first train, and decided to wait there early. 
But I still had an hour to kill, so I bought some food and chocolate and ambled around the station, trying to find a CD sale Swang had told me of. Unfortunately that didn’t open until 10, which was when my train left – so I sat and pondered for a while, then went back up to wait for my train. 

Once it arrived at Kyoto I had a bit of trouble orienting myself what with all of the exit signs pointing different ways – but eventually I found the department store I had visited earlier in my journey. On the way I dropped my big bag into a locker which cost a whopping 700 yen (like ten bucks!) but it was worth it, because as I traversed the floors ticking off things I had meant to buy throughout the journey (and many that I didn’t), my current pick got heavier and heavier. I spent so much at one shop, that they gave me two free badges. Score!

 

I thibk the target audience is teenage girls..
 
I nerded out big time and bought a bunch of comics, I got pens, notepads and other stationary, some more gifty things, chocolate and a CD. In fact I had so much I needed to purchase another backpack – my original smaller pack straps onto the front of my big pack, so together they can be my checked luggage, and the new pack I bought can be my carry-on. Yes, I formulated this plan early on in case I went crazy buying things (which I kinda did). But it felt a little odd standing in an almost all pink shops among various schoolgirls to buy a small black backpack. 

 

Some manga and a year planner called Wanderlust
  
CD, bird calendar and a manga-illustrated version of Lewis Carroll’s two Alice books.
  
Misc manga, including one which seems to be a republish of one of my all-time favourites, Atom (astro boy in English)
 
Anywho from there I got to my large pack and reshuffled, strapped the small one to the big one, and felt like a massive douchey tourist wearing the huge pack on my back AND another pack on my front. Who does that? (I’m taking a stab at Swang, here, as he also did this). 

One the pack sitch was sorted I hobbled to the JR ticket line and asked for a ticket to Tokyo – there was one leaving in a couple of minutes from the platform above, and, in a feat that would have left pro athletes and military veterans with their jaws on the floor, I ran through the station, to the stairs and up, where the train was just arriving. I even let a little old lady go in front of me because I’m just that kind of guy (also I couldn’t breathe properly). 

Once I sat down on the train and acknowledged the pain in my feet, the ticket checker came by and saw me opening the free badges I got. 

“Manga!” he says. “You like?”

“Yes, of course!” I tried to mimic his enthusiasm.

“Me too!” he stamps my ticket with glee, and leaves. 

I know of at least two cool people on the train that afternoon. 

The train left shortly before 3 and arrived at about 20 to 6 (I say about to make this more friendly for the New Zealand readers, who deal in ‘roughly’s and ‘about’s when it comes to public transport, but what I mean is at 5:39 the train was pulling into the station, and it clicked over to 5:40 as the doors opened and people began to exit). 

On the train I thought I may as well stay at K’s house again because it’s easy, I’ve done it all before, and it’s relatively close to the airport so it won’t take long to get there (and it’s also close to a shopping district should I want to risk a morning shop). So I did the usual chat with the man on the phone (listening to all the rules, reconfirming details two to three times, and watching the time slowly rise (and in turn, the amount he call would cost me as I’m currently on roaming)).

A guy in the same row on the opposite side was reading s magazine, and it seemed that one of the pages wasn’t cut properly or something and he sliced it down the side, much like an envelope. By the state of the woman on the pages that followed, I decided the pages were probably like that for a reason. ON THE TRAIN?!

The train also passed by Fuji. It’s more impressive up close!

Less impressive when the weather is shit

IMG_4884
“Close”

 Back at Tokyo station I wasn’t functioning very well and I took the train the wrong way, but at the next station I went back, and took the right train to get straight to the station outside the hostel. After a brief period of collapsing on my bed, I went out to get some grub. 

I ceremoniously ate at the restaurant Swang and I had eaten breakfast at the second and third mornings we were here to kind of close the loop on the trip. I even ordered the same food I had for my first breakfast here! It was 690 yen which is farking cheap. 

  
I then walked by the shops we had passed and perused a small second hand bookstore – popped in the front of the 7-Eleven to buy a chocolate ice cream sandwich, and out the back entrance a few meters away from the hostel. 

CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM SANDWICH

Day Thirteen -Hiroshima 3

We woke up to the room’s telephone ringing and a female voice saying loudly in my ear “BREAKFAST?!” ‘Yea…’ I replied groggily and she hung up. So we got dressed and went downstairs to be greeted with a full array of western breakfast.  

Matt: I’m so full! I’m not used to breakfast. Even in New Zealand I don’t have breakfast. 

Swang: How do you last until lunch?

Matt: Snacks. And I eat an Up N Go. 

Swang: Drink. You drink an Up N Go. 

Matt: Semantics. 

Swang: Are you drinking that apple?

Got ready, walked across town to the station and trained to another ferry. Ferried to Miyjima island. JR pass meant we could just flash it at each station and go, made everything easy and was well worth the money for the whole trip. 
  
We departed the ferry and went around the island walkway dodging deer (much like Nara) to the gate which the island is famous for, and took many photos. On the way we stopped for a bite and I got some kind of kebab – all I know is that it said taco which is octopus and I was not disappointed. I also had an ice cream. 

 

Look at his tasty wee tentacle.
 
 

I made friends with a deer which I named Gale (it wanted my ice cream), and she followed me for some time we got a video. Then we popped through the walkways of the shrine on the water and set off up the mountain. 

Casual torii

There was another shrine to the side which had rows and rows of little statues, which ALL had knitted hats (white and red, like Wally) – it was hilarious and a little eerie.

 

I found Wally.

There was also a room full of some kind of Buddha shrines/displays which corresponded to something that I couldn’t read, but the place was beautiful:
 
The patented ‘Matt’ photo angle.
 

Many pictures along the way and about 3km later we had made it to the top (535m) and I wanted to die. We cooled down and then I sat in the sun to let my t-shirt dry because I was so unbelievably sweaty, and we took an alternative route down the mountain back into the city. 

View

Most of the restaurants and other places at which we could dine-in were closed, but we found a nice touristy place that was open and I had another Japanese curry. 

We perished the shops a little and made our way back to the ferry, and from there ambled back to the station. We got off at an earlier station which, it turns out, was slightly closer to our ryokan, and I popped into the 7-Eleven for a bunch of snacks and spied the sunset across a bridge. 

  

Dinner was at 7, I woke up after a long and late nap, and we went downstairs. Most of the food was cold and it seems we were expected to microwave what we wanted warm, but the rice was hot. I even ate the soup, which seemed to be mushroom, meat, and my favourite, corn. So I didn’t really enjoy it all that much, sorry Ikawa!

We returned to our room where Swang went back to organising the next few days without me, and the phone rang. I got the last one, I told him. He picked up and a small battle ensued, which was retold to me as:

Dinner!

We’ve already eaten. 

Dinner!!

We have already e-a-t-e-n-

DINNER

We were just downstairs!

*dialtone*

We have fun. 

I finished my last night with Swang eating all the chocolates I bought from the 7-Eleven. 

Day Twelve – Hiroshima 2

We woke up at the crack of dawn (7:30) and checked out, leaving our luggage at K’s House. We casually sauntered to the train station, booked a ticket on the next shinkansen and waited a half hour for it to arrive. A while ago we noticed alcoves down by the tracks, which we posited were for hiding in should a train approach and you are stuck down on the tracks for some reason. While we were waiting, Simon asked me how I would get from one side to the other without being seen, and we both suggested how we would do so. It was quiet for a while and I pondered, what would make me jump down into the tracks. 

I formed the story for Simon who could only laugh at my heroic gesture, a story of a station where a train was coming from each side, and somehow a small deaf child is playing in the middle of the tracks, oblivious to the approaching danger. I would heroically leap down and pick the child up, and dive past the train, into the alcove below. As Simon scoffs, a family passes, “here’s a child,” he says, “push her down and see what the mother will do.”  

How else would you save a child?

A couple of stops and we were off at the local station, where Swang went for help and came back proud, saying he had told the officer where he wanted to go in Japanese and heard ichiban in the long reply. So we got on the train at track one and made it to the ferry in time, which took us to Okunoshima island – also known as bunny island as it is overrun with rabbits!

I could literally sit there all day with my bag of rabbit food and feed George until the sun went down. The island also has a large history as it went from a peaceful island to one that manufactured poison for the military. 

 

While it was fenced off.. it was pretty cool inside
  
These ones you COULD walk through

 We popped into a building that showed some history about the poison manufacturing (no photos allowed) and that was rather solemn… however upon stepping outside and spotting the rabbits again it was hard to feel sad.  
I named him George.
  
Acting casual

 A little more walking and we came upon the hotel, where we stopped in for some udon soup. Then we hit the road again looking through some ruined buildings and taking photos at the viewing platform at the top of the hill. On the way down a woman said something to Swang, perplexed. We tried to help but we didn’t know what she wanted – she wandered off and I googled a word Swang said he picked up, which turned out to be ‘viewing platform.’ So we probably could have helped after all, if she had made it clear what she wanted.. sorry miss!
On the way down I saw the smallest bunny ever and fed it and took a bajillion photos on my camera. Then we saw some more abandoned buildings and we sat down to give the rest of our pellets to the bunnies, where we were swamped by them. We got some more excellent photos and got on the boat. 

 

SO CUTE
 
Abandoned
 
Off the boat as we were going back to the train station, a couple of girls stopped me to ask if I had time to fill in a questionnaire – I asked Swang if we had the time (so as not to impose the questionnaire on him) and he said yes, which was for the best as after we completed it they gave us a free sake glass and filled it with sake for us! 

 

For goodness SAKE
 
We took the train back to the station and booked seats on the bullet train back to Hiroshima – then grabbed our bags and trekked through the busy town to check into the Ryokan. We got excited over the yukata and beds, and then we went to get pizza from a Japanese-Italian restaurant. 

One of the pizzas was whitebait! It was cheap, especially compared to NZ. And we also had dessert. We then got back to our room and dressed up for a night of… sleeping. We also made some green tea with the ‘traditional’ amenities provided.

 

Om nom nom

   

Day Eleven – Osaka/Hiroshima

While I was doing my hair I had a mind shower, and went to tell Swang of my plan. We get on the train now, I say, instead of looking for more things to do – as the weather is nice, it means we are able to look around the peace park in Hiroshima while it’s still sunny, then the following days we can to Miyajima (an island with a floating shrine) and save the museum and other inside activities for the day it is raining! I look at him, proud. He says yes… that’s what I told you yesterday. Apparently I wasn’t listening and/or didn’t quite follow his thought trail on that one. 

Our morning routine has become either go to the convenience store and buy a rice ball and coffee, or buy a canned coffee from a vending machine, or a mix of the two. 

Waiting at the station we just missed a train (my fault) to the main station and a guy chuckled at us – he asked if we were visitors and we chatted for a while. He was from the Netherlands and is in Japan for a few months studying Japanese and was moving everything he had into a new place by train – he had two luggage bags and a backpack, and called it a ‘big move’ – but I guess when its everything you own in a country it IS a big move. 

It was cruisy to Shin-Osaka station where we ordered some tickets to a station near the bunny island, however we found it would give us little more than an hour to look around and the island is lush with history (and bunnies), so we ran down and tried to change our tickets – however all the reserved seats were full. The next bullet train left in about 6 minutes and the ticket vendor said we could just go to the non-reserved section. So we bolted through the station to the train and made it on, found an empty row and collapsed as the train set off. 

Red faced and flustered

It was a reading hour and a half to Hiroshima, where we left the train and walked about a kilometre to K’s house. To anyone who finds this blog and wants to stay in Osaka, I highly recommend NOT STAYING in Guesthouse Koma. It is shit. 

As soon as I set foot in K’s house here in Hiroshima I felt comfortable. We’ve stayed in 4 now, not too many more and we could complete the whole set!

For the afternoon we went to the peace park and had a gander;

Matt: ARG, we missed the lights! 

Swang: It’s alright, it will change again. 

Matt; You always know just what to say. 

I went to an underground hall where a panoramic image encircled a room and was made of 140,000 tiles, supposedly be number of victims by the end of 1945. 

A monument of a clock stuck forever at 8:15, the time the bomb struck.

Watching a video about an account from a schoolboy the year after, there was a line that will never leave me, “… and the fat dripped from my fingers like sweat.”
 

The A-dome (the cranes are in the distance, not working on it!)
  
How it used to look.
 

I then ventured to the peace museum which was only 50 yen, and I got given a postcard made from recycled peace cranes, which brought me to the next story that was very moving. 

A girl called Sadako was affected by the bomb, and made 1000 paper cranes wishing to get better (the idea being you get a wish after folding 1000) – she began folding smaller and smaller ones with a needle, beyond 1000; it said it was not about the number but investing each with the will to live. The section then finished with a photo timeline; the last picture showing her resting in her coffin surrounded by flowers. 

 

Monument for the children who bever grew old.
 
I then found the monument built for her and all the children that died.

 

Thousanda upon thousands of cranes
  
 

Wandered around a little more and found Swang. We hit the streets and found a nice shopping alley – off to one side was a restaurant offering nicely priced dinner and friendly service, so we ate there. 
  
Our waitress took it upon herself to give me full instruction on what to do with the various condiments and such that accompanied my meal. She did do this for Swang. We finished and wandered through he streets, back to the hostel for an early night – so we could maximise our time tomorrow. 

Day Ten – Osaka 3

Waking routine was followed by meeting Swang in the lounge downstairs – I had found a possible bus route to take us to the aquarium, so we jetted across the road and found a bus stop. Putting all he pieces together we found the correct bus and it showed up almost right away – however the Osakan newbies that we are, we found you seem to get in through the back door (Giggity) and then pay when you leave. I strutted up to the bus driver and used the sentence structure I remembered last night to tell him I wished to go to the Osaka aquarium, to which he replied “lasuto stoppu.” Good news for us, we were on the right bus!

Swang has also been mad at me for the ridiculous amount of change I tend to have in my wallet, because I don’t like paying with cash and I always hand them the biggest note I have. So I paid ten yen using a 5 and 5 ones, I bet he was so proud of me. 

  
We paid the entrance fee at got into the aquarium. Initially we were excited, however as I left Swang to go further in, I saw some enormous fish which were barely able to turn in their tank. Just down from them were a group of tribes dolphins doing a show – I thought there were too many and the tank, although deep, was very narrow. I felt the same about the seals, and later the penguins. In fact I felt like most tanks were either too small or overcrowded. Only one was large enough in my opinion, but if was full of stingray and larger sharks. I sat and pondered for a while feeing sorry for them, but watching them all swimming by the window (and the ray’s goofy smile as he swam past my window) made me feel better. 

I left and waited for Swang, and we went into the mall for some food. 

We decided the next destination would be the German Christmas market held by the Umeda Sky Building (Osaka is Hamburg’s sister city) – bit of fun with the busses and we found one that should take us straight there. We got right in and sat down like locals, and the whole ride was only 210 yen no matter how far you go! I can see that being excellent for long distance and horrible for short. 

The Christmas market was not as amazing as in Germany, somehow I was surprised by this. But I paid 900 yen for a heart shaped gingerbread and we set off up the sky building.

 

Matt ‘Deutsch’ Foster
 
Swang caught me eating more of my gingerbread and says to me, “stop eating the gingerbread, you’re having KFC tonight!”

I still don’t like heights

We got to the top (40th floor) and had to pay to go outside and we decided not to. I bought some sweets and a magnet of the manhole covers here in Osaka and we went back down. After a quick look in Lucua 1100 (a VERY upmarket department store) we got on a JR line, and switched to a bus (which, to our dismay, was not valid with our JR passes, even though it was a JR bus), and took the 20 minute trip until we finally arrived!

Chaos ensued, where we had to or tickets we took at he beginning of the trip into his little machine and it asked for a specific amount of money. He then gestured to his machine where I chucked in the money. This was a mistake. He then spent a painfully long period of time working out how to give me the correct change and pay for Swang at the same time. 

We also found that we got off far too early and needed to walk a significant distance.

We made it and FINALLY found KFC, but we had to make a booking ONE HOUR away. To fill in the time, I was disappointed by another Pokemon centre, and I traveled all three levels of the mall in search of interesting things. I bought some German chocolate and some gum, and found an entire store devoted to Totoro by the games and pachinko area. So the time flew by and I was finally able to sit down and fill my stomach with oily fatty chicken. 

Swang sipped some KFC orange juice. “Good?” I ask. “Nope,” he says.

The Father, the Son and the Holy Chicken

After that we tried to formulate an easy way home – and took the monorail a couple of stops. From there instead of following google maps we just winged it (or WANGED it! Get it? Cause sang suggested we do a different route… and his last name is Wang…..). Anyway we found ourselves at a JR station and were able to put the remaining routes together to get to Namba, however the train to Osaka decided to slow to a crawl for some time and then stop altogether – I caught the words ‘please wait’ over the intercom but I’ve no idea why. We then walked to the backpackers. 

  
Why did I buy German chocolate in Japan, you ask? I have my… riesens!

Day Nine – Osaka 2

We woke up and the weather said RAIN. I ate the rest of my melon pan and prepared for the day. Though it was due to rain that afternoon, we decided to have an outside day since it was pretty certain to rain the following day. The usual uncertainty about which train to take ensued, and we watched a train bound for the station we wanted to be at leave right in front of us. Eventually we hopped on a train that would take us to the station we needed, and I overheated sitting on the warm seats above the heater. 

Our first stop for the day was Osaka Castle – however on the way through the park we heard a band and shot out to the side – there was some kind of graduation or ceremony for police/other public servants. So we stopped and listened to the band and watched the cars, motorbikes and trucks go by, and watched everyone march out of time. 

 

I don’t know the Japanese anthem, but they sure as hell didn’t play it.
 
Before we got to the castle there was a small falcon-like bird and an eagle/hawk with an elderly man, who let both Swang and I hold him on our arms. The larger bird’s name was Yamato and we briefly gazed deep into each other’s eyes. Of course I swooned over the bird, and we made jokes about how our friend Chloe would feel at that moment, having a single awful experience with a baby bird scar her for life. 

 

Sorry about the quality, it’s a photo of a photo. Look at that enamoured face.
 
I took a photo for an Asian couple and Swang overheard her say in mandarin, “he knows how to use the camera!” In a shocked tone, as I walked away carrying my iPhone in one hand and my DSLR camera around my neck. 

 

M. T. Foster. The initials stand for Massive Tourist.
 
Up into the castle which had been converted into a giant museum – it was pretty good, lots to see and read, but a bit haphazard in my opinion – I have a feeling we were both templed out. I finished and went outside to eat some chicken, a rice ball, and a strawberry/vanilla soft serve. It began to spit and we decided to go to a market Swang had heard about, just out of Dotombori which is a place I’ve been told to go to; killing two birds with one stone. 

 

I was more impressed by the outside.
 
We cruised back to Namba station and used the Namba walk to get across to where the market is. Namba wall was a giant mall really which linked two subways underground. 

But it had a travellator and I love that shit. 

It was raining once we got outside but the market was under cover. So much food, uncooked and fried, and all other kinds of wares. Swang had a stick of beef, an oyster and a soft shell crab burger (it was literally just a crab that had been battered and deep fried, and shoved between some buns), and we went out to see Dotonbori and the Gliko man billboard. It was raining and I got lost, but I found the billboard. 

 

Run, Gliko, RUN!
 
Then I lost Swang and it took a couple of phone calls to find him again – we decided it was time to visit spa world and maybe have a massage. The website said men have the ‘European’ spa selection, and he listed places like Greece and Rome. 

Oh my fucking God. I’m writing this in present tense as I just got out of there and it was incredible. I don’t remember when we got in but there was an awkward moment where we were wearing togs and we didn’t know what to do or how to do it, but eventually we read the instructions, stripped down and waltzed on in wearing nothing more than what nature gave us (and a very small towel) and soaked. I’ve never seen so many Asian penises before (I don’t think). 

Probably 45 mins in I went to the massage place and booked a time to have an oil massage. 

My favourite theme of bath was Mediterranean which was in around the Spain section, one bath was a 40 degree Celsius waterfall, and the other was an outdoor pool with a section raised out of the bath so you could lie and have a warm neck and back, but my itchy thing wouldn’t kick in so I could enjoy it (if you didn’t know I’m basically allergic to heat and maybe my sweat) – I popped TWO antihistamines for good measure and chillaxed until my massage. I don’t touch most people so it took a lot of courage to book for 40 mins. 

The masseuse was lovely. I couldn’t guess her age but.. older than I (so as to not offend any readers…) – she immediately asked if I was German, and I detected an accent that wasn’t Japanese, however she spoke fluent Japanese. And her English was good, and she knew German. We spilled life stories to each other and bonded over having loved and lost a German parter, and it wasn’t as awkward as I feared it would be (as through the thought of a random woman squeezing you all over isn’t weird to everyone!). 

At one point she leaned into my ear and spoke I’ll about one of the women she worked with, who had just spoken rudely to her in Japanese and left. It was this moment that Swang appeared for his massage, and when I told her that he was my friend, she apologised to me for him, as that woman would be his masseuse. I had a nice iced tea and a couple of chocolates to finish, and as I left she said goodbye to me in three languages, finishing with her favourite German phrase, grĂ¼ss Gott. 

I popped out hoping I hadn’t made her too sad with our mutual reminiscing, and had a wash and a shave at the cubicles with the amenities provided. I checked the time and figured it’d be a bit before Swang was finished (assuming he got a 40 minute one too) so I got back in for a while. Then I washed myself again because why not? Got changed and finished writing this post as I chowed down on a strawberry ice cream from he vending machine which ripped me off – but I’m on holiday and money means nothing (for this brief period of time!!!).

Of course the spa/baths/massage area was a no photo zone.

None of the restaurants in Spa World were good enough for Swang so we set off into the rain – but the store right next door in the mall sold some good looking cutlets. We had a bit of trouble with these machines but after telling a bloke I didn’t understand he directed me in Japanese and I followed, pretending I understood the words (when in reality I just followed where he gestured) and thanked him for the help. 

But then we found we waited and the number on our ticket was called out and we would go up to be counter. I didn’t even bother listening, Swang saw our food and we went up as she called out wildly. 

 

I’ve been avoiding Japanese Curry but now I don’t know WHY
 
Train Home Bed. 

I noticed how much better, full of energy and happier I was after the spa and massage – the change is amazing.