Gono to Tokyo

When in another country it’s important to try the local cuisine. But sometimes it’s hard. I love a Malaysian breakfast, but Japan… It depends.

Fortunately Funofushi Onsen’s breakfast was served as a buffet. So I could leave the slimy brown guts (I’m guessing) and select dishes such as grilled fish, miso soup and salad instead. Alex devoured five croissants with strawberry jam and umpteen cherry tomatoes.

Then what better thing to do than to take a hot bath. We entered the second indoor bathhouse area. There was a standard hot bath, one with bubbles and a rather slimy and dirty rotemburo overlooking the sea. And a hot sauna. Both of us used the cold plunge pool as well to reset our bodies.

Check out was at ten, an hour before our transport back up to Wespa Tsubakiyama station. So we took a walk down to the rocky coast, eroded conglomerates of igneous and sedimentary rock. We spotted crabs and shellfish and one pool must have been freshwater with mosquito larvae and other bugs.

Overlooking the resort was a wind turbine. Considering that these resorts are popular for the claimed health benefits of the onsen water they don’t seem to have an issue with the supposed infrasound generated from the turbines. A lack of working coal mines in Japan perhaps? 😉

Last minute purchases of apple products from the souvenir store, then a minibus returned us up to Wespa Tsubakiyama. More purchases of snacks from the gift shop there. Gnomes climbed over the red roof.

We had some great seats at the front of the Resort Shirakami train, Kumagera again. I regretted not setting up the video camera again as there were more spectacular coastal scenes.

Eventually the train swung inland through plains of rice paddies, the sun shimmering off their waters. Through low hills and forests, past towns and cities. At Higashi Noshiro we changed directions, our car becoming the rear.

We had about three quarters of an hour at Akita, enough time for a quick lunch of the local speciality of kirintanpo nabe at a station restaurant. Not my favourite dish, but not so bad either.

Then aboard the sleek Komachi Shinkansen. This “mini-Shinkansen” runs slower along the dual gauge tracks between Akita to Morioka, from where it joins the main Tohoku Shinkansen line where it can go full speed.

Unfortunately, I was stuck in an aisle seat and was joined by a young lady who immediately pulled down the blind. So I missed out on a lot of the interesting mountain scenery visible from the more intimate mini-Shinkansen line.

We were all a bit tired of trains by the time we got up to full speed and when we reached Shinjuku I could have straight away fallen asleep in bed. But there was dinner to be had, at one of our favourites, Tonkatsu Wako, in Subnade underground near the hotel.

B and Alex needed more clothes, so we made a trip to H&M, spotting a European hipster trying on pineapple glasses, and UniQlo, the noise driving us to distraction. So glad to be back, this time overlooking West Shinjuku from our room.

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