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Chris Weldon

A savvy software engineer and agilist, Chris slings code in C#, but has also been known for commanding fleets of systems. He's currently a Tech Lead at Wolters Kluwer.

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Okay, so I finished my last entry before I wanted to. Let me get back to where I was.

After reaching the exit point for the Shinkansen, I asked the gentleman at the gate counter where the buses were. I used basu-tei, which I believed was bus stop. However, he asked me where I was going. Thinking back, I believe he was asking which stop # I needed. He gave us directions and we were on our way.

Before heading to the stop, however, I had to call the onsen to tell them what time bus we were taking. When speaking with the woman on the other end, she spoke so fast that I was hardly able to understand her. After a phrase that I didn’t understand. I asked her to repeat and she instead went back to the beginning. On top of that, it seems as though 10 yen only buys you 10 seconds of phone time! What crap is that? While trying to converse with her I had to cram 10 yen coins in the machine to prevent it from hanging up. Alas, she only gave me directions I had already heard from Kazuko, so we were okay.

We went out to the bus stop (#13), and sat waiting. Melissa mentioned to me that I should see if I needed to buy tickets, which I did. Buying the tickets was pretty simple, but the hard part was the ride. We were watching the buses as they came by and none of them seemed to have Hatsuyama, the first stop we needed to get to. After the bus was about 5 minutes late, I turned around to head to the ticketing center, and the manager (?) was already waiting outside to see if she could spot the bus. She told me to continue waiting and then pointed out the bus to me once in sight. We boarded and then took an hour and 45 minute ride through traditional Japanese countryside. It was nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The country is filled with houses and farms with the traditional home style and it was not only beautiful but also very serene and peaceful. I took many photos and look forward to putting them online when I get back.

After getting off in another city (name unknown) we waited about 10 minutes for the next bus. This one was tricky because it went farther than our destination. We went past a stop that had an onsen marked Yubara onsen, and my heart immediately jumped. Had we past the stop? What are we going to do now? I tried to keep my cool, but when the next stop system called for shita-yubara (lower yubara) I was in a frenzy. When we stopped I tried to ask the bus driver if this was the right stop and showed him the paper with the onsen logo. He recognized it and, from what I could understand, told me there was another stop right next to the onsen. I don’t think there was, rather he stopped right out in front for us. We disembarked & thanked him.

We proceeded to walk to the onsen which would measure 100 yards away, in slight rain. When we arrived, the driver had just pulled up and immediately recognized we were the ones he was supposed to pick up. He immediately began using the honorific form, which makes me queasy. I am horrible at the honorific form.

We entered and sat down. A woman greeted us in fluent Japanese, speaking fast, then slower. She asked what time we wanted dinner, then breakfast. We managed to get this across fairly simply, then Melissa picked out a yukata to wear. Later we came to find out it was too short for her, but it was a-ok!

We had serious conversation issues with the people here at the onsen. They were using many forms that I was not used to as well as vocabulary. My guess is that since it was country-side Japan, they have different dialects than city-speaking Japanese. We managed to understand the following:

  • Call 9 if we need anything.
  • Call 9 when we are ready to put on our Yukatas.
  • Dinner is at 6:00PM on the second floor.
  • They showed us the onsen.
  • They told us that at 10PM the men and women switch.
  • Read the information booklet, which was in nothing but Japanese.

Eventually the manager (who is a kind and fun lady) brought us a translation sheet of the rules (which was good). We found out what to do and what not to do in the onsen. We also got signed up for a 40 minute private bath so Melissa and I could be together. This was good since the public baths are separated.

I would go on and tell about dinner, the private bath, and the public bath, but I need to get some rest before breakfast. I will update later today.