|We can now relax and find out more about Ichiro Kubo our new friend. It seems his wife is at a health spa and won’t be joining him until tomorrow so he now has company for dinner. He asks us to join him in his room after we have settled in to chat some more and sample some saki before dinner.
Our room is a typical Japanese style shoes off at the Gekan which is the wooden threshold then one room with a little partitioned off end containing a wash basin and small table and chairs, quite a rare thing in Japan a chair. The main part of the room is very traditional and minimalist, tatami mat flooring with a small low table and futon bedding folded in an alcove to lay out later. In the cupboard is a Yukata (like a cotton Kimono, it is an all purpose bathing and lounge wear, this comes complete with a belt (obi), slippers and over jacket. There is only one so quickly getting changed I head down to reception to get another by the time I return to the room Roof is already dressed in his, room service delivered it.
We spend a delightful evening with Ichiro Kubo who it turns out has a great sense of humour phoning one of his English speaking friends and getting me to ask questions and winding him up before finally taking the phone and explaining things.
Dinner is a stupendous multi course affair, as Kubo san (it is customary to call people by their surnames and add san which means Mr) has already stayed one night here they serve him a different meal. We have a tray with a bewildering array of dishes Kubo san talks us through it, have this one with this sauce, try this one first.
We eat till we are full then Kubo san invites us back to his room, we talk about many things he is delighted to find out this is effectively our honeymoon as we got married a little while before embarking on this adventure and we never had chance then. (we had been living together ten years previous)
He is quite horrified however to find we have no children as are a lot of Asian people. Is something wrong he asks ? we try to explain we have saved for ten years to do this and with children it would not be possible.. He laughs and says you make children tonight, good room, no tent.
We head for the hot baths and sauna downstairs before bed, it Japan it is customary to bathe before or sometimes after dinner.
I head into the ladies alone now accustomed to the proceedure I have a lovely soak, I arrive in our room first to find the efficent hotel staff have made the futon beds (a very thin mattress with a blanket) for us. Searching the cupboards we raid all the matresses and blankets we can find and pile them all up together for a bit more padding then fall into bed.
We wake at 5.30am I have a pounding headache so Roof gives me a massage and manipulation using a few techniques shown to us by our friendly Osteopath before we left (thanks Henry).
This seems to help, a combination of hard pillows, sleeping on the floor and kneeling at low tables is starting to get to us European softies. We have seen a lot of very bent over older Japanese people maybe thats why?
We hear Kubo san knocking on our door he suggests a walk, we get dressed and meet at his room but he is still in his Yukata the clothing we wore last night, confused we follow as he leads us outside, opposite is the hotels own hot springs we laugh “we’ll just go and get changed” we say. Returning in our Yukata we have a hot spring bathe before breakfast, it is seperate sex as is normal and I am joined by a nice lady I met in reception her English is good and we have a good chat. We head for breakfast Roof and I have got changed into our normal clothes but we could have remained in our Yukata as half the people at breakfast are.
Breakfast is a buffet style with a choice of just about everything including various types of fish and of course rice, we are rather boring and go for bacon and eggs (sort of), toast, fruit salad the more predictable things but with a few odd bits thrown in to try. Neither of us really fancy fish for breakfast.
After packing up we meet Kubo san outside to say a hearty thank you and goodbye. Before we leave a gentleman Kev has been talking to insists on giving him some money despite his protestations “a present” he says.
We give everyone a wave as we head off in the direction of mount Daisen its a nice day and Roof fancies climbing it.