Fireworks and Yunessun
This weekend wasn’t nearly as busy as I had intended it to be, but it still turned out to be quite enjoyable. On Friday, several people from my dorm went down to the river and lit off Sparklers and other small fireworks. Several of the freshman ended up in the river thanks to the upperclassmen. Apparently it’s become somewhat of a tradition. Then on Saturday I went to this onsen resort place called Yunessun in Hakone. They had all sorts of different types of onsen, from wine to flower fragrances. Yesterday I was supposed to go to Kamakura with a friend, but because I wasn’t feeling well, we decided to just stay home. Instead we decided to relax and binge watch a Japanese drama called “Good Luck.”
Friday I was originally supposed to go to Zushi to watch a fireworks show. However, Zushi is a little far from our dorm and many people had to be up early for a camping trip, so in the end we decided not to go. However, everyone pitched in a little bit of money and a few people picked up small packages of fireworks that can be found at your local convenience store. There were about 20 of us in all who went down to the local river by our dorm, so we had quite the crowd, but I think that made it all the more enjoyable. We talked and laughed while we twirled the Sparklers in the air, and even after we were done with the fireworks, we continued to hang around and talk. That was when some of the boys started pushing each other toward the river. Eventually, with the help of some of the upperclassmen, one of the boys was actually picked up and gently dropped into the river, and that started the chain of the freshman boys being put into the river. It was all in good fun though and even the guys who ended up in the river got quite a few laughs out of it. My friend, who is a second year student now, was telling me how he got forced into the river last year, so it has become a bit of a tradition. We left not long after that because, even though it’s summer, that water is still pretty cold at night, so the boys wanted to go home and change into some dry clothes.
Saturday some of my friends picked me up at my dorm and then we were off to Yunessun. It took us a little bit to find because it’s sort of up in the mountains, but we eventually made it. Inside we picked which package we wanted (whether we wanted to go to the onsen resort, the traditional onsens, or both), and then we were given a wristband. On the wristband was a key and barcode. The key was to our locker where we would put our stuff and the barcode was used if you wanted to buy anything inside the resort. It was like a running tab and you just paid for everything at the end. This way, you didn’t have to worry about carrying anything with you.
Once inside, we changed into our bathing suits and made our way to the onsen resorts. We decided to go to the wine onsen first since that was the one I had heard about most and was really looking forward to. I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t actually an onsen filled entirely with wine, but I guess I really wasn’t surprised. It was pretty much just water with a red color to it. Although at certain times during the day, they will put real wine into the onsen.
It was the same for the coffee onsen, but I happened to be in the onsen when they put the coffee in. However, the cofffee seemed to be slightly diluted. They made a big show out of it and actually dumped coffee into our hands and onto our heads. It was definitely interesting to say the least, haha.
The sake (rice wine) onsen actually had real sake that slowly dropped from a spout every few seconds. However, the green tea onsen didn’t seem much like green tea. The green shade of the water was way too dark to be green tea.
Outside they had a water jungle gym, a water slide, an onsen with a waterfall, and an onsen inside a cave. Inside the cave onsen was a rock that was supposed to give you good luck if you touched it.
Since it was a little cold outside, especially when you got out of the warm water, we decided to go back inside and go into the aroma room, which was pretty much a sauna that smelled really strongly of flowers. The nearby onsen had also been filled with water that smelled strongly of herbs and flowers.
The last onsen we went into just had regular water and was big enough to swim in, but unlike a regular pool, the water had been heated to a comfortable temperature. The ceiling had been painted like the sky and sometimes it would simulate a coming storm. The lights would flash and thunder would fill the area. Then fog would emerge and spouts of water would rain down on us.
Once we were done in the resort area we went to Mori no Yu, which is a traditional onsen. I said once before that I didn’t particularly like or dislike onsen, but I was with some female friends this time so I didn’t mind going. Plus, this onsen was way nicer than the one I went to at the hotel on the bus tour. This one was surrounded by artificial rocks and bamboo so it had a much more nature feel to it. It still felt a little weird to be walking around naked, but overall I enjoyed the experience more than the first time I went to an onsen.
As I mentioned before, I was supposed to go to Kamakura with a friend yesterday, but Saturday night my stomach started hurting and when I woke up I still wasn’t feeling well, so we decided to postpone our trip. I have to say that I’m super annoyed that I was sick. My time in Japan is limited, so I can’t help but feel like it’s a missed opportunity. However I think we’re going to try and reschedule, so it won’t be so bad. Plus, it wasn’t all bad. As my way of “resting” and getting better, we watched an entire Japanese drama, which was ten episodes long. I’ve seen bits and pieces of Japanese dramas when they’ve been on tv in the dining hall during dinner, and I always found them incredibly painful to watch because the acting was so bad. However, I actually thoroughly enjoyed this drama. It’s the first Japanese drama I’ve ever watched all the way through and I’m glad I did. I have to give a shout out to my friend who recommended it to me!