Sunday, July 1, 2012

Japan - Day 11 - Hiroshima

     This was a day of extremes - the first half of the day being exhausting, the second half quite delightful.  We slept in later than we meant to at B and B Juno, probably because the pouring rain always seems to make me want to stay in bed.  After breakfast with Sybilla, we headed out into the rain with all our gear, only to have my suitcase handle break!  Fortunately, Sybilla had Gorilla tape on hand for a quick repair, but I'm thinking this trip may be the last for my beloved cow suitcase- especially sad since you can't get them anymore and I receive compliments on it wherever I go. Alas.
Want to know what a minute on the bullet train is like?

       We have definitely purchased too much stuff, and had to add a bag of souvenirs to our 2 suitcases and backpacks.  This was actually quite a lot to lug, in the pouring rain, to the bus stop, on the crowded bus to Kyoto Station, down all the long stairs (not an escalator in sight- though a kind Samaritan woman about my age unexpectedly grabbed the handle and helped me down the last half of the stairs. That sort of sudden kindness is not uncommon here at all.) The we had to catch train #1 to Shin Osaka, train #2 to Hiroshima, and then ride an INCREDIBLY crowded tram to our ryokan in 91 degree humid heat.  We were about ready to expire when we finally got here!
     Ryokan Sansui is kind of a budget ryokan for the business traveler.  It was the highest rated of 3 that I found in Hiroshima - it is mostly fairly pricey hotels here.  The proprietress speaks a little English and her stairwell is decorated with photos of all her guests.  Our room is TINY - just big enough for our 2 futons and not much else.  I thought it was a bed and breakfast, but my receipt says breakfast is not included. That's OK, as I don't ever want to see miso soup and pickles on my breakfast table ever again.  After James turned on the air conditioner and we both rested for a bit, we checked the tide schedules.  It turns out that the high tide on Miyajima Island was at 9 pm tonight- better than the times for tomorrow, so that became our plan for the day.
     By the time we left the ryokan at 5:30 pm it was down to 81 degrees.  The tram was also less crowded and we were both able to sit.  The ferry to Mihajima is covered by our rail passes and, by the time we reached the sea, it had cooled down enough to be nice and balmy with a lovely breeze.  The jellyfish in the water floating around the ferry look identical to their cousins on the other side of the Pacific floating near the Vashon ferry. I had hoped to see the tame deer on Miyajima, but thought we'd have to hike a bit to see them.  Nope, they were right there wandering around fearlessly when we got off the ferry and started to walk toward the famous Torii gate.
     I had a few biscuits left in my purse from breakfast, so I had lots of friends very quickly.  I loved the feel of the beautiful antlers of the males - so soft - and we saw a doe with twins calling to her fawns - she made a squeaky sound and the fawns answered.  I took some video and hope the sounds were picked up.  She clearly told them, "Stay there, Mama's busy."  "But Mommmmmm, we're hungryyyyyy," they whined.  "Do what I say!"  She insisted, but later relented and let them come down to nurse.  So cute, and very tiny.
     After a spectacular sunset and pictures of the shrine, we went to dinner at a Japanese bar.  It had low tables but chairs on the floor so you could sit with your legs hanging down under the bar - very comfortable and I enjoyed my chicken teriyaki.
     As we walked back to the ferry, it began to sprinkle and we saw 4-5 deer gathered together in doorways, comfortably out of the rain.  There is a cage around the restrooms to keep the deer out or I imagine you'd have to fight them for the warm seats.  James was mugged by one deer who came up behind him and stole his map.  We'll need to get another tomorrow.
     The tram home at 9ish was less crowded.  There seem to be children everywhere you look in Japan and, thus far, I've not seen one parent yell or seem to be angry at a child.  Children are very indulged and a child who cries or has a bit of a tantrum is cosseted and comforted.  I see everyone watching the children on the tram with fond smiles.  I think it's a pretty good system actually.  By the time they're a little older, the kids have figured out that cosseting is for babies and they scorn to be catered to and strive to be independent. I wouldn't mind seeing a bit more of those attitudes at the Walmart back home...
     Now we're back, showered and ready for sleep, in our tiny room.  The only trouble is that the proprietress has gone to bed and I can't find the hair dryer.  Oh well, damp hair for me, I guess!
I am getting TIRED of Japanese food.  I need a pepperoni pizza, and a salad.

Our business ryokan in Hiroshima.

Very small room, but the futons are pretty comfortable.

On the ferry to Miyajima

By the Torii gate

Feed the deer, tuppence a bag....

This is my favorite video.  I love hearing the doe talking with her fawns.  Turn the sound up.

Fawn nursing

The spectacular sunset

The gate is very beautiful at night with a high tide.

Deer resting in the doorways at night

Link to: Ryokan Sansui

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