How I Love Japan (Part Three)

After we left Nikko, we went down the coast of the Izu Peninsula next to the Atlantic Ocean. I picked up a few pinecones to put in my pocket, a reminder that even halfway across the world, much remains the same.

We had the opportunity to stay in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese hotel complete with tatami mat rooms, futons, and hot springs. One baths first, then submerges oneself into the naturally hot spring which is about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. I could only stay in about ten minutes, but it was so lovely to sit in the hot water surrounded by woods.

But, the second night was the most difficult one for me of all the trip. We were served another traditional Japanese dinner in eight courses, each dish more exquisite than the next. There were garnishes of chrysanthemum leaves vinaigrette, and other assorted plants and animals of which I could not be sure. I was told something was a scallop, but when I put it in my mouth, and with mounting nausea swallowed it, I discovered it was a raw Anglerfish liver.

I do not like my food uncooked. I am embarrassingly American at times.

There was a stop at Banjo Falls…

and the Black Ships museum, reminding us of Commodore Matthew Perry who brought his nine black ships to Shimoda to “request” that Japan leave her isolationist position and open the ports to the U. S. Fortunately, this is now seen as a good thing. What impressed me the most is that these documents were written in the 1850s. (Other museums had documents dating to the 1500’s. What Microsoft Word document is going to have that kind of lasting significance?)

Finally, we took the shinkansen (bullet train). I have never been on a ride as smooth or efficient as this. We absolutely glided to Kyoto in less than two hours. It wasn’t scary in the least.

13 thoughts on “How I Love Japan (Part Three)”

  1. Oddly enough I can do raw if it’s something traditionally eaten raw, like an Oyster or spicy Tuna or something like that but a fish liver??? Blech!

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  2. Um…no…no raw fish or liver or fish liver…ha! It’s funny, my little girl who wouldn’t eat anything but canned green beans when she was young is a lover of sushi in every form. I laugh and laugh about that. Love that bullet train picture. And love the bathing pool or whatever it is. So clear and lovely.

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  3. Bellezza,
    I am enjoying your Japan posts so much. I visited Japan in 2016.. I didn’t stay at a ryokan, but I did sleep on a Tatami mat one night (with an extra cushion underneath). The shinkansen is an unbeatable way to travel through Japan. Thank you for another gorgeous post!

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  4. M, I am seriously loving these posts. Your photos are fantastic! I think its so cool you stayed at a traditional Japanese hotel 😉 That food – wow! I’m like you though, I like mine cooked all the way through. That waterfall – OMG!! And those documents – amazing! A bullet train to your next stop sounds terrific to me. Keep on sharing 🙂

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  5. As everyone else has mentioned, your photos are fabulous! You have a great eye, capturing the most beautiful detail of the ordinary and extraordinary. Thank you for giving me a glimpse of this beautiful country, as I doubt I will ever visit. The ryokan looks lovely and I would have enjoyed the hot bath, but the food would be quite a struggle for me. My brother travels to China (on business) quite frequently and we have discussed the challenges of eating in a foreign country without embarrassment. I’m not sure I could do as well as you did. I, too, prefer my food cooked and like Kay’s daughter, mine used to live on bagels, noodles, avocado on toast and grilled cheese sandwiches. She is now much more adventurous than I with her love for sushi. No, no, no! 🙂

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  6. Oh Bellezza, you made me laugh about being “embarrassingly American”. I love raw fish – if it’s on a menu here even as an entree (oops, starter or appetiser, for you) I will go for it. Raw tuna, for example, is so delicious. I now have to question if you REALLY love Japan!! Haha.

    Seriously, though, isn’t it great staying in a ryokan. I love staying in tatami mat rooms and sleeping on futons on the floor. We try to mix them up with some business hotels where we know there are guest laundries, but they are not the same,

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  7. I laughed at the experience with the angelfish liver. I’ll eat anything but the trick is to not ask what it is. I wish North America and Australia had bullet trains. They are so wonderful. I am enjoying your trip.

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