An udon brunch, woodwork masterpieces and public bath

It was a pretty cold morning when I was automatically awake at 8am today. The air was still and chilly around the house, but when you stepped into the sun’s rays shining through the window, you’d feel its warmth on your skin.

Once everyone was up and ready, we left for a place we saw advertised on the TV called; Marugame Udon. When we got to the front, there was already a queue formed going into the outlet.

What made this eatery unique was they made their own udon noodles at the place. You could either order plain udon noodles or rice to eat with your variety of tempura food, or try the newly advertised meal which was a bowl of udon noodles with 3-4 pieces of tempura meat – it was good! And a big helping.

After a heavy brunch, we drove to a mountainous area known as Magomejuku. Olden buildings of wood still stood strong here, they’ve a stream system with cool water from the mountains and some of them converted into cafes or selling souvenirs handmade from wood.

If you climbed a little more just after the small town, there’s a lookout point for you to sit and take in the mountain scenery. It’s nothing like the historical mesmerization you’d get looking at the Great Wall of China, but it was a very nice change of scene from staring at buildings or roads.

Dinner was at a sushi restaurant, our first visit to one since we landed in Japan. It was packed when we arrived and understood why when apparently it was an eat most of the sushi on the menu for only 100 Yen. (0.0)

Once we started eating, there were a few things to notice. Food is ordered using a touchscreen monitor beside the “kaiten” belt. After you were done eating, you place your plate into a designated “hole”. And here’s something different, 5 plates automatically enters you into a “gatchapon” draw. The prize is from the box just above your table. Wha?!

To wrap this day up, we headed to experience our first public bath (onsen). The centre was pretty expensive looking from the time you keep your shoes into a locker, to the time you walk past their eating and waiting area and finally, baths.

The steps of the public bath as explained by our cousin was get naked, bring your small towel, clean up at the shower spaces and then, get into the public bath. In total, available indoor baths were at 41 degrees, 36 degrees, 16 degrees and 2 jacuzzi baths. At this centre, there was also 3 outdoor baths – lying down, 36 degrees and children’s bath.

If you’re wondering whether everyone was modest or comfortable, it was a mix of the two. Though I guess more locals were comfortable walking around without the need to cover up, as compared to the ones such as myself.

Oh oh. And the one thing we had to do, as seen in anime, was to drink milk / coffee once you’re done with the public bath. However, I never expected the drink to be cold as I always thought it was warm. But now I know. :p

Until the next time, I hope to be more comfortable in the public baths later and take in more of the Japanese culture still waiting for me on this trip.

がんばれ わたし。