We were up early as our host was supposed to pick us up at 7:30 and we didn’t want to make him late for work. He works at an organic farm near Fujino and was giving us a ride so we could see the area. We were ready and waiting by the door, but he ended up being a little late. We piled into the van, along with Daniel, who is living near us and has been here for 6 months. Apparently he also works at the farm to supplement his stay here. We didn’t find out where he was originally from, but he said that he lived in Spain for 3 years and has also lived in Colorado and Chicago. When I lived here before I encountered a lot of travelers who would stay in places for a while before moving on to the next. I can’t imagine living like that, but am also a little envious.
It took us about an hour to get to our destination and we were well outside of the city by that point. We were up on a hill, outside of Fujino and the views were amazing. We were very lucky with the weather, it was very temperate and we had very clear skies.
He had told us about the morning market that happened every first and third Tuesday of the month and encouraged us to check it out. It reminded me of our local farmer’s markets, only much smaller. Jason, Nick, and I got some focaccia type bread and then Nick got he and Jason some coffee, which was apparently very smooth. It made for a pretty picture:
After we ate, we went to get tickets for the onsen (hot spring) that was up the hill. Nick and Sierra were not interested in participating and waited outside while we were enjoying ourselves.
Because I was in there by myself, I didn’t stay long. I am, thankfully, not too embarrassed to get naked in front of strangers, as long as they are not too embarrassed in front of me. I did have to close my eyes at one point because one woman was being friendly and said something to me in Japanese that I didn’t have a response to. I just smiled and went back to being non-social. I do really want to study up for our next visit.
I was probably in there for about half an hour before I started feeling a bit overheated. It was very relaxing, and a great way to spend the morning. When I went to take my towels back to the front desk, they asked for the ticket I had come in with. They only allow you to stay in the onsen for a specific amount of time and they needed to stamp my ticket to show that I had not gone over the time. Unfortunately, I realized at the counter that Jason had our tickets and I asked if he and Riley had come out yet. The man didn’t understand my question and gestured at an area behind me. He said that the guys were to wait there and I understood that I would have to wait for them to get out before I could leave.
I saw Sierra and Nick sitting outside and Nick came in not longer after that. We talked about what it would be like to live here, and how aside from the language barrier, it wouldn’t be that bad. I did enjoy my 8 months. It would be too far from family to be here for long, but I could stand to stay for a month or two.
The area we sat in had rows of low tables and a stack of sitting mats in the corner. There were several people who were full out laying on the ground and napping. They had a small restaurant and, most importantly, ice cream. When Jason and Riley came out, after about an hour and a half, Sierra came inside and we got some ice cream. I got the sakura flavor and it was delightful.
We sat around for a little longer before heading out to explore and walk down to Fujino. There was a bus that came about once an hour, but we decided to walk down to see more of the area. Like I said, it was a lovely day and we enjoyed the mostly down-hill jaunt.
We made it down to the Sagami river and decided it was time to get some food. I googled the area and found a delightful looking cafe (ふじのタンポポ/カフェてくてく Japanese website), which we had unfortunately passed on our way downhill. We trudged back up and went inside. The main waitress was extremely helpful in translating the menu when our phone translators failed to do an adequate job. Nick and I got the baked curry, while Sierra and Jason got the chorizo and potato pizza. It was much better than his other Japanese pizza experience, thankfully.
We finished lunch and headed back down the hill and across the bridge. There weren’t a lot of shops that we could see, and no sidewalks to speak of on the hilly terrain. I asked if we might go to the next station to see Sagami lake, as the waitress at the cafe had told me that it was easy to get to.
We decided not to get a ride back with our host and would just take the train back home. We made it down to the lake and back to our station before he would have left to come back.
We thought we would try our hand at pachinko, but once we stepped inside the smoke filled and load place, we changed our minds. You literally had to yell right next to someone’s ear to be heard, plus, it looked much more complicated than we had thought initially.
We went to Seiyu to pick up some groceries and gifts for co-workers, and had to go back home to drop everything off, then went back out to find dinner. Nothing sounded appetizing to everyone, but we eventually decided on Mos Burger. Not being one for burgers, I never visited a Mos Burger before, but I was told that their burgers were better than Japanese McDonald’s.
We headed back home and to bed.