Staying in a Ryokan style hotel means sleeping on futons, eating a japanese breakfast and having a hot onsen bath in the morning!
Most of the students enjoyed the hot baths and tried one again this morning. the mineral waters are very good for your skin.
We visited the stinkyest place in Japan, OWAKUDANI, ate eggs cooked in the hot springs that turned them black not bad since the place smelt like rotten eggs it is hard to say.
The students once again found grape ice cream and the vending machines….at a tiny little place where the fresh spring waters arrive from the top of Mt Fuji after about 100 years of filtering underground!
We stopped at the craft shop of a very well known artist of YOSEGI, and the students saw the intricate wood patterns which were made from different coloured wood and place onto trays, puzzle boxes and other beautiful objects.
Lunch was a little hot pot (NABE) and this was appreciated by all due to the colder weather. But because of the cold weather the leaves have started to change, showing a hint of what will be soon all over the hills.
Today we went for a cruise in a pirate ship..the students asked me why a pirate ship design…there is no answer to that other than because they can and the owner of the company must have thought it would be fun, and it was! The ship took us around Lake Ashino ko which is a beautiful deep crater lake, one of several lakes around Mt Fuji. The students enjoyed the brisk cool air on there faces.
We then disembarked and took a walk to the ancient cedar groves of Hakone and one of the Check Point Museum, the students learnt about how hard life was for the common man in feudal Japan. Some of the student enjoyed the Samurai and Ninja Display and for the girls the ancient artifacts for the court ladies… not that anyone wanted to wear the high GETA (wooden shoes) that the woman wore.
We travelled around to the other side of Mt Fuji to stay at our next Ryokan, Hotel Okada. Different hot springs and another chance for the students “to turn Japanese… I really think so…”
Tonight we were very fortunate to have Neena Carter’s grandparents come and visit with us at the Hotel Okada. It was an honour to meet her Japanese family. I think they enjoyed meeting all of Neena’s friends. Neena’s grandmother showed us how beautiful the art of wearing Kimono was, by dressing Neena in a most gorgeous furisode (maiden’s style) kimono. we were then all given beautiful bags of handmade origami as a gift to take home!
A great Japanese meal in the TATAMI Room, working our way through over 12 dishes of real Japanese food, with everyone looking the part in their YUKATA!
We then spent time reflecting on the last 18 days and thinking about the wonderful adventures and opportunities that the team undertook. The kind and generous hospitality we experienced from the Japanese people, to the strengthening of our relationship within the group, those at home and with the Lord, who had provided for us throughout the trip and granted us His love and mercy. You will be very proud to hear how each and every child stepped up and gave it their very best!
I can not tell you how privileged I feel to have led this team, honored to have Miss Roche and Miss White here and how blessed to know that the team have done so well!