Over a recent three day weekend, Kanako and myself decided to do some domestic travel north to the city of Tottori. The main draw here are the sand dunes, which aren’t really seen throughout the rest of the country. I had heard some great things about the place, and for as much Asian travel as I do it was high time to take in some Japan.
I got out of work on a rainy Friday and went right to the bus station. It took about 5 hours for me to get there, and only one for Kanako, who can fly for peanuts. The first night was uneventful though, since we only met at the Tottori station around 11pm. The next day however, the rain had let up to reveal a day that was a bit drab, however dry. First thing in the morning, we got right out to the sand dunes where we would spend our time relaxing at the Sea of Japan, atop a hill of sand. This place was no Silver Lake or Sleeping Bear, but the sandy beaches served as a kind reminder of the Michigan I left behind.
The hill is much bigger going down to the water.
There was some early morning rain, so the camels had gone home, meaning we would need to come back a littler later. While waiting, we went over to the main dune which I, at great a physical toll, carried Kanako’s carcass to the top of. This sort of brawny lumberjack display of affection isn’t so much something you see in Japan, so a lot of people were noticing aloud. At the top, we spent some time taking in the sights, chatting, and doing whatever. Then it was time for the ceremonious running that none of our peers were engaging in. I suppose that’s for fear of falling, but only the Japanese as a people would let something so harmless as falling into sandy to keep them from fun. Most people just stood at the top, though a few dared to walk down. Kanako received some acclaim for her hop-skip method, then I the showed her up by hauling ass and blowing her out of the water. This happened thrice, each time giving her a bigger head start. The endeavor endedwith me completely bailing on my face in front of some ladies. I felt pretty cool.
Clips of the aforementioned.
From there we walked back to the camel zone, but being past 4pm, they had once again returned to their domicile . Too bad, but it did at least save us 35 dollars. From there, we met with our CouchSurfing host, this time a 40 year old guy, self described as eccentric. He lived with his mother in a gorgeous home deep in the woods. We were happy to spend some time with the two of them, for free, eating his delicious food in a house that was much nicer than any hotel we could have gotten. The first night we made some really nice pilaf, and I added in some sliced grapefruits. After dinner, we pretty much retired to the traditional Japanese room he had prepared for us, though we stopped to see his toy collection along the way.
With our host, who worked as an interior decorator. His house showed it.
The next morning we took off to go check out a local fish market. This wasn’t anything too crazy, but we bought some really nice local seafood to cook later that night. We were going to do a tea ceremony there, but it closed before we had the chance, so we settled for having coffee with a couple of his friends and taking a stroll around his house. Dinner too was very nice, though the portions had me hoping for more. In the evening, Kanako and I watched a movie and slept. This day didn’t have any great amount of tourism, but we did enjoy just relaxing away from home,
From the next morning, we did a good breakfast and he took us around town a bit. We went to an old European styled manor once occupied by an important feudal family. The mix of traditional Japanese gardens and European architecture gave a unique environment to walk around in. Also, we made use of the ballroom for a quick waltz. The rest of the day was a curry lunch, and driving through a small village along the rocky beach shore. Eventually we got back to the bus station were we parted ways. Kanako managed a fairly energetic goodbye from an adjacent car’s window, I had to slump down in my bus seat a bit to shirk the attention I was drawing.
The great manor of the Ikeda clan.
Here at the foggy northern coast of Japan. Really beautiful, though I’m sure that sun would have helped with the atmosphere a lot.
The weekend was a really great chance to see more of beautiful Japan, and to cross off another of those ‘must-do’ places. We haven’t talked too extensively, but I have some bucket list items yet for Japan and we can usually work out for Kanako to have vacation when I have a three day weekend, so these sorts of weekend getaways will certainly be continuing.