Hot Springs, Yakiniku, and Kitties

I was leaving on Friday, and it was Monday. It was the final countdown. To some degree, every fun activity was permeated by a sense of dread, because we all knew that it was almost over.

We were taking a bus to a hot spring that day. I was happy to hear we were doing that, since the closest thing I had to that experience was the bath in Best Western Hotel my first day there. First, we all headed down to Furuichi station. This station was pretty close to the dorm, in fact, probably a little closer, but it was my first time going there personally, so it was pretty interesting.

Gang Starr?
Apparently there was a video game store down there. I was kinda kicking myself since I had never bothered to visit, and my chance to explore the area was pretty much gone.

We waited in front of some sort of hospital which happened to be right by the bus stop. After what seemed like an hour but was probably only twenty minutes, the bus showed up.

We soon arrived at a building which was directly across from a casino in a huge parking lot in the middle of nowhere. There was a very stylized sign on the front of the building with at least one kanji I couldn't make out at all, much less pronounce.

The inside of the building was huge and spacious, and it wasn't very busy. I rented a locker and a towel, since I didn't bring my own.

Naked People

We spent a good deal of time on the other side of the curtains, washing off, then soaking in the various baths. Some were lukewarm, some were almost scalding hot. I was the only one who couldn't bring myself to get in the ice cold one. It was right next to the saunas, which also had two temperature grades, hot and face-melting. I spent about 5 minutes in the face-melting one before I came staggering out. It was just too much. Both of the saunas had salt, which I was told is to rub on your skin to make it hotter. I managed to restrain myself.

After exiting into the lobby and meeting up with the girls, I had a glass of milk, just like in the anime. I didn't put my hand on my hip and gasp after drinking the whole thing in one go, though. Maybe next time.

There was a concessions stand selling all kinds of things, from ice cream to beer to snacky food items. Beside it were the vending machines filled with milk.

And beside that was the lazy retreat, a little room with tatami mats designed for laying around in. And we did lay around.

Before long, we headed out. Some of the minerals used in the springs were on display towards the front of the building.

We took some pictures and moved on. When we arrived back at Furuichi station, the night was still young, so we decided to go get something to eat. First we stopped by a 7-Eleven for reasons I can't remember, where I bought this energy drink thing. It was pretty underwhelming, but the bottle was cool!

Tiny smart car outside of 7-Eleven

After walking about a mile, we arrived at our destination, a Yakiniku restaurant. It was a little expensive, but I was excited to try it. Unfortunately, it was also packed. For financial and/or time reasons, our group split into two. Most people headed over to some family restaurant, while Jackson, Takayuki and I decided to wait it out and pay the price. The line was long, but I was no stranger to waiting at that point.

Plus, look at the place they went to. Looks like... Well, it looks like an American restaurant. I think that was its gimmick.

We were finally seated, and it was not only delicious, but fun. They brought us raw meat, and we grilled it using the apparatus in the middle of the table. There was some typical stuff, like sausages and beef, and other stuff which I couldn't identify. Some things were better than others.

It was all over too soon.

Jackson and I walked home from there. It was quite a long walk, but we made it eventually. I went to sleep with a full belly, although still feeling a bit sick.

Adventure Preparation!

The next day was in preparation for the last leg of my trip. It was time to go get my JR pass ready. I rode a series of trains to the Osaka station, asked two or three people for directions, and finally found the place to get it activated. I had done everything I was supposed to, but I was still worried that something was gonna go wrong, and that 300 bucks I spent would be all for nothing.
This picture was actually the last
picture I took that day. Sssh!
But it all went off without a hitch. I used the rest of the night to explore the Osaka station and Abenobashi mall. That Osaka station is still a confusing maze to me, even though I've been there so many times.

There wasn't much of interest beyond what I'd already seen. There was a street performer on the bridge near Tennoji Station...

And kitties! I noticed a pet store on the outside of the mall, where every pet was tiny and adorable. Big pets aren't very popular in the limited space of Japan, I suppose.

A couple Japanese women asked me if I got any good pictures. As if there's any way you could take a bad picture of them.

I created this .gif, because the internet can never have too many cat .gifs.

And of course, there were puppies too. Sweet, adorable puppies. I was starting to miss my dog at home, Ellie.


  1. Anonymous7/03/2014

    Hah! I love the baby kitties!

    As part of the group that went to the American "Steak" House, it was actually pretty good. Way too hungry to wait for Yakiniku (was STARVING and Stacey was hangry). It was actually pretty hilarious yet awesome. I'm gonna say you missed out. Got a hamburger patty steak with a tiny American-style buffet. It was adorable!

    Thanks for immortalizing your/our adventures. This is so awesome to read and relive.

    1. It's cool to hear the other side of the story, and good to know some of you guys are reading this. I never bothered to ask anybody how the steak house was. Maybe I'll stop by an pseudo American restaurant next time I go to Japan!