Monday, November 26, 2012

November 24, 2012

Today we left for a small town near Mount Fuji.  Kevin is running in first annual Fujisan Marathon tomorrow.

We had to do the usual bus and train transfers.  It took 2 - 3 hours to get there.  We stayed in a traditional Japanese hotel.  This was a huge cultural experience for me!

The train station was really crowded when we arrived and all the taxis had been taken.  Tomoko called the hotel and they came and picked us up.  That was great since it was around 30 degrees outside.
Kevin and I posed at the train station while we waited for our ride.

 We arrived at night so I couldn't see Mt Fuji yet.

The staff were very friendly and helpful at the hotel.  This is the entry way to our room where we left our shoes.  We used the red slippers that they supplied when we left the room. 

The room had a tatami floor.  There was a small table with 4 cushions on the floor beside it.  A lady made us some green tea.  Then we left for dinner.  Dinner and breakfast were included in the price of the room.  The hotel charged around $200 per person per night.

Kenny was just thrilled to wear his slippers.
We went into a dining room and our places were already set up with many of our dishes.  Kevin and Tomoko sat on cushions on the floor.  Kenny got a special little chair.  They made a concession for me being a foreigner (an old one, at that) and brought out a chair for me.  It was maybe 3 inches higher than Kenny's.
We were served a traditional Japanese dinner:  a large raw shrimp, raw tuna, hermit crab, sea urchin, mushroom with tofu soup plus many other dishes that were totally foreign to me.

 Tomoko enjoyed eating the delicacies that I didn't want.
After dinner we went back to the room.  Tomoko persuaded me to go with her to onsen, Japanese bath, in the hotel.  First we changed into the kimonos provided by the hotel.  The bath was on the fourth floor.  None of the other hotel guests were there.  Before entering the hot bath you are supposed to scrub yourself in the shower.  I scrubbed quickly so I could get the tub before Tomoko came in.  You have to be naked to get into the hot bath.
The bath was really hot.  I found an open window and sat next to that.  I saw Mt Fuji for the first time outlined by the moon.
Tomoko came into the tub and we soaked about 20 minutes or so.
Kevin and Kenny used the men's shower and bath.

When we got back to the room our futons were all set up for us.  I found sleeping on a futon on the tatami floor uncomfortable.  It was too hard for me.  But, I was very proud that I could get up from the floor using my new left knee.
We got up at 5:30 AM for breakfast.  We ate early so Kevin could be ready for the marathon.  Breakfast was weak green tea, salmon, miso soup, a soft boiled egg and other ?stuff.
This is the view from our room.

Kevin left for the starting line of the marathon.  Tomoko packed up their belongings and we stored our bags in the hotel lobby.
We missed seeing the start of the race.  There were 16,000 people running the full marathon and a bunch more running the half marathon.

The hotel drove us to the race headquarters.  We walked around the little town. We went to a little restaurant and had coffee and pancakes.  Then we shopped in the little souvenir shops.

The trees were beautiful around Mt Fuji in their bright fall colors. 

Kenny liked playing in the fallen leaves.

We found a place to watch the runners as they neared the finish line and got to see Kevin.  He finished the whole marathon in 3 hours and 47 minutes!

We met up with Kevin and went back to the hotel for our things.

  There were so many people who went to the marathon that the trains were very full so we took a bus back to Tokyo.  Traffic was horrible on the highway.  The trip took us over 4 hours but at least we had very comfortable seats on the bus.

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