I’m in Beppu! Woo! I’m finally getting to do a little more travelling now that I’m on Spring Break for like two months. Beppu is famous for its hot springs or onsen and they’re EVERYWHERE here. (Please, no one freak out about the picture for this post. All you can really see is my back anyway, nothing scandalous. I sent it to mom and she told Rachel, “hey, your sister sent us a picture of her naked.” -.-) Steam actually just leaks from vents in the street here because there is so much natural hot water under the ground pretty much everywhere here.
On my first night in Beppu, I just kinda wandered around until I found my hostel (with my unnecessarily heavy backpack…in the dark), but once I got here (yup, I’m still in that hostel, hi!) I met these two very nice guys in the common room. One of them was from Australia and the other one was from Germany. We had a nice conversation and got to know each other a little. Then the Australian guy asked if we wanted to go hiking with him the next day. I had no better plans, so I said sure (he actually wanted to hike up to some natural hot springs, but when the German guy said he was busy, it was hilarious to see him try REALLY hard to phrase his invitation so it didn’t sound like “hey we should go hiking so I can see you naked” xD). Honestly, I’m very relaxed about that kind of thing and I don’t really care (plus this is Japan…onsen culture anyone?). So, the next day we headed out to go hike up to these hot springs in the middle of nowhere. Like seriously:
It took us maybe an hour to get out there by bus and walking, but there were actually three hot springs we were looking at going to. Hoooowever, there was this slightly worrying scene on the way there…:
*gulp* We also passed a police car on our way in. Not exactly promising, but we tried to stay optimistic. xp
So we went up to the first hot springs location he had marked on his map, but there was a fence and it said “temporarily closed.” At that point we were like, “no, yup, we are going to be murdered.” But we really didn’t want to go back without finding the hot springs, so we headed for the second one on the map. On the way there, we found this really cool abandoned dam (at least that’s what I think it was, whatever, it was like 50 feet high and we could sit on it, so that was pretty cool).
It doesn’t look that high in the pictures, but trust me, it was high up. Anyway, we kept hiking and ran into an old man walking down the hill. I asked him in Japanese if the hot springs over here were still open since the other one had been closed and he answered me in English. It was kinda weird O.o. (That’s never happened to me in Nagasaki, ever).
So, we finally found the hot springs! Woo! But there was another old man at the springs and he wanted to chat (I think he smelled the Japanese language ability on me or something, because he completely ignored my companion, who speaks no Japanese beyond konnichiwa), so I had to stop and chat with him for like ten minutes while the Australian guy just stood there in awkward and confused silence (mostly the old guy went on about politics and terrorism in the west and how Japan is such a peaceful, nice country, so no wonder people are visiting from all over the world to escape…yeah, I mostly just nodded and said “Is that so?” a lot).
Then he left, so we actually got to enjoy the hot springs. I basically just looked over at the Australian guy and said “I won’t make this weird if you don’t make this weird.” He agreed and we stripped and got in the hot water. It was pretty cold out, so the hot water felt amazing.
Needless to say, we both took a lot of pictures. Then we took turns taking pictures of each other, warning each other if the photos were R-rated or not. xp I know people are really weird about it in America and most Western countries, but being naked with a stranger was really not an issue. I had no interest in him, he had no interest in me; we just sat in the water (often sitting on the edge with just our feet in the water because we kept getting overheated xp) talking and enjoying the day for like two hours. It was one of my best experiences travelling so far just because it was such a spontaneous thing and I really don’t like doing the whole touristy thing, so getting off the beaten track was amazing and relaxing and fun.
After that, we hiked back down and went home. The next day, the German guy joined us for some karaoke. For the first time, I got to be the one to be the Japanese translator for karaoke (in Nagasaki, I was usually with a group that had one or more people who are better at Japanese than me, so I never really did that xD). I felt pretty awesome. xp We had a ton of fun and I learned a German karaoke song that apparently will make me the life of the party if I go to karaoke with German people in the future. xp It’s called “Moskau.” (yes, that is just “Moscow” but with German spelling.)
After that they both moved on to other cities for their travels and I spent the rest of the week as a dedicated introvert. I just ate konbini food (basically convenience store tv dinners) for most of the week and hid in my room playing games. Hey, I gotta store up my energy for touristing with Paige and my family in the next few weeks. xp Not the most exciting travel, but I enjoyed it.
Today was my last full day in Beppu, so I went out and just walked around mostly. I found a nice park and read there for a while (and also took some pictures xp):
Then I walked until I walked by a place that smelled good and went inside (that’s how you find the best food; you just walk until you find a place that calls to you xp). The food was pretty good, I have to say (you can’t go wrong with bacon):
Then I headed down to the beach. On a clear day, you can see Shikoku (one of the other main islands of Japan; this one is Kyushu) from Beppu, but I couldn’t see it today.
The water was pretty though and I enjoyed walking through the city at night. There were two guys playing music in an underpass that connects the two sides of the highway, so I gave them some yen and stopped to listen for a while. Sometimes it’s nice to just have some nice slow-paced travel with no touristy stuff. =)
Well, I’m off to Fukuoka tomorrow. First time on a train by myself, we’ll see how it goes. xp Wish me luck! ❤