Day 1: Yokohama – Good To Be Back!
- Despite functioning on only 10 hours of sleep collectively in the past 3 days (through attempted plane naps and on-land naps), I never felt more energized upon looking over the town that I fell deeply in love with 10 years ago.
- My goodness, it’s all true. We see a packed train carriage with the doors closing, but a businessman sprints in and there is literally no space, and the train staff don’t shout at him or at people to move, oh not at all – the train staff instead shoves the man in the train, with legs braced in a straddling position for more strength, and manually closes the door on him. This poor man in a suit has no space to move to the point where he cannot even change his facial expression because it’s mashed up against the train door, which further smooshes his face…I felt so terrible for laughing but I blame my Mum who burst out giggling first. I love Japanese people. Their dedication is insane.
- Immediately after leaving our bags with reception, we went on a trip down memory lane, prancing around Minatomirai (“Remember when we thought that was an actual roller coaster of death” “Sweet Factory still exists!” “I know McDonald’s is right up that escalator…” “Isn’t this where you made those skateboarding videos to Avril Lavigne songs”) when most shops were closed (8am), and then walked through Cosmo World (“Wanna go to the haunted house?” “I want to win beef jerky”).
- I snack on a tuna & mayonnaise onigiri.
- But the first true activity was when I brought up going to an Onsen (hot spring bath where you go naked) – my mum and I simply loved going when we were living here, and we had a favorite one opposite World Porters we went to on the weekends. So there we went! When we saw that familiar Onsen logo my Mum got very excited.
- My sister isn’t as big a fan of Onsens.
- I was never really embarrassed to be naked in front of the other Japanese locals in an Onsen, because it’s a culture. I always found the human body very beautiful (maybe a contributing factor to why I’d like to become a doctor) because we should respect and celebrate this vessel we are given to inhabit. This time was no different. Except now I kept thinking of areolar tissue and the rectus sheath. Seriously? Even I can’t stand my own self. Can’t ever escape anatomy.
- I have terrible eyesight and obviously I’m not going to wear glasses inside, so maybe that’s another factor to my lack of embarrassment of my own nudity
- Suddenly we are all feeling light-headed because of the stark heat of the hot springs and cold wind. But first, I had to stand and wave my hands up in the air because we are at the top of a building with a killer view (no, not me as the view, the Yokohama landscape view). We head back to the hotel to check-in (12pm).
- I really have to stop associating every single oblique zebra crossing with the inguinal canal…
- And then we nap. And mine turns out to be not 30 minutes but 3 hours.
- So we wake up and decide to go to Yokohama Station and Mum desperately looks for Cafe De Monde but it’s permanently closed. We end up eating Omurice at a restaurant that plays a surprising array of music for a little Japanese corner shop (“Hair” by Little Mix, “Worth It” by Fifth Harmony ft. Kid Ink, “New Thang” by Redfoo)…
- We get coupons for a free spin on a lucky draw downstairs part of “Join Us”, so we go. We spin this contraption and out pops this yellow ball, and before we know it the man is ringing a bell loudly and shouting celebratory phrases in this public place and gives us a 500 yen coupon to spend!
- Then we walk to Tokyu Hands (!!!) and there I buy a hedgehog calendar, and the calendar of Instagram famous shiba inu Maru recently released for my brother (Christmas present).
- We buy taiyaki, a waffle-shaped fish filled with sweet red beans. Puts London’s version to utter disgrace.
- Then we sit in the Pompompurin Cafe (famous Japanese dog-themed cafe) and even the lamps are in the shape and colour of the dog (but quite pricey dessert considering it’s just a pile of very nice whipped cream in a tart, but it’s a scene of the dog in an Onsen with a piece of mochi as a towel on its head so maybe it’s worth that presentation)
- We walk for hours, and get trapped in the after 7pm sale where every single food store is shouting to get attention to their reduced prices and it is the best thing ever.
- I buy sushi (how can you not), and my sister buys a mochi with a full strawberry inside, and sleep. And once again I thank God because of how lucky I am to be here with my family.