The Witless Clunkery of a Third-Rate Mind

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My Day Out

Today was a typical day in Japan: half frustration, half fun.

The frustration part was also typical: bureaucracy (and people being unable or unwilling to do anything except absolutely by the letter) preventing me from getting seemingly simple things done.

In my case, I wanted to transfer my Canadian license over to a Japanese one. Canada and Japan have some sort of reciprocal agreement, so it should be a simple matter of showing somebody my Canadian licence, giving them a photo, and presto-change-o, out pops my shiny new Japanese licence.

But of course, things never work like that here. I don't feel like going into detail, but suffice it to say that I won't be getting a licence any time soon.

On to the good stuff. I went for a hike with Karen, the other teacher. Since she is a seasoned trekker, it was more like a "short walk" for her but it was a hike for me. We went up a mountain in back of Beppu. There was a great view of the city from up there, and the weather was nice.

Below the look-out point was a quiet little temple, with a waterfall. It was quite striking.

After our walk, we felt that an onsen (hot spring) would be nice, so we went to a very old, traditional one. It has extremely sulfurous hot springs as well as a bubbling mud bath. The mud bath says "mixed" (i.e., men and women bathe together) but I was assured by the lady at the ticket counter that in practice, the men's and women's sections are separate. Well, imagine my surprise when, buck naked (having just put down my towel) I walked into the mud pool only to see Karen sitting there, comfortably immersed up to her neck. Oops. I usually try to wait a few weeks before exposing myself to my co-workers.

Anyway, no hard feelings, I guess. After that, we went for a walk in Beppu. This picture is kind of neat (I think) because it shows how steam just rises up in random locations all over Beppu.

We went for dinner at a "revolving sushi" restaurant, where the plates pass by you on a little conveyor belt. It's nice because you can see what you're getting. It also tends to make you eat a lot. I had 10 plates.

Of course, Japanophile that I am, I opted for only the most traditional dishes, like "hamburger sushi." It was delicious!


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