Today, we woke up at 7 a.m. and skipped showers, as we're going to an onsen with the Snows tonight (tentatively). An onsen is a place where individuals take a shower/bath and then go into a huge public bath with mineral water [or like a jacuzzi or a cold bath]. I've heard that it's very relaxing. I was concerned about the level of sanitation before someone informed be about the before-shower, and for some reason I was convinced for several weeks prior to today that it was a mud bath.... I'm not sure why. 0_o Anyway, it's water...not mud. And they give you a "modesty cloth" to cover your gender area before you get in the onsen. Oh! And these are gender-segregated. I guess that's an important detail to mention. Anyway.
So after breakfast and devo we biked over to Co-Op (grocery store) only to realize that it was 8:30 a.m. and the store doesn't open until 9. But, we went with it and biked through some neighborhoods, which was a good experience. All the houses are different colors, like pink and blue and green, and 95% are all boarding instead of brick; a few are partly brick, but I don't think I've seen any all brick. Oh! And all the houses have a "gangkhan," which is a glassed-in area at the front of the house where you leave your shoes and change into slippers so you don't get dirt on the floor. It's really tedious, but certainly cleaner than any house in America. The houses (and cars) are generally a square or rectangle shape and have lots of windows. Everyone has a garden; most have lots of tulips in various colors (mostly red, yellow, and pink)--pronounced "tuleep-oo"--and about half have bonzai trees.
I haven't felt extremely like a foreigner or "celebrity," as Eliz says, until today. Lots of people were staring at us with big, silly, amused grins on their faces, and a couple people tried to talk to us. We didn't really know what they were saying.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Before the grocery store, during our biking excursion, we saw where the Bishops--some missionaries here--live, as well as where the cousin Snows used to live (and apparently it was painted pink--the one color Nathan vocalized he hoped they wouldn't paint it), and we stopped at a park. We took a zillion pictures, which was tonomoto tonoshi--really fun! I'm excited to upload and edit them. We're so, so silly!
After we goofed off for awhile, we returned to Co-Op and argued for an hour over groceries :P We finally settled on: crab meat, some vegetable mini-dinners, rice, Aquarious (kind of like Gatorade), peach and grape gummies, chocolate mushrooms (on a sweet bread stick thing--uhhhmazing!), beef curry, apple juice, individual milk tea for Eliz and some tea I'd never heard of for me--ginseng or something--Pooky (a sweet bread stick dipped in chocolate), individual peach and plum juice, gyoza--we aren't really sure what it is, but we had it for lunch and it was DELICIOUS--some kind of fried, breaded meat and veggies--and I had mine with soy sauce; it's something I think Dad would really enjoy, and I sooo wish there was a way I could bring back some for him; but so is life. We also got salmon, which I already know I like because it was in the oniggity I tried for dinner last night--a rice triangle or circle covered in seaweed and filled with some form of fish (in this case, salmon). I had trouble eating it at first, and decided milk tea is too sweet to eat meals with but a good "snack" drink, but I took a Tums and enjoyed it more as I became used to it. Anyway...we got cold ramen noodles and sauce, cheese to eat with eggs, melon bread--which apparently has a sweet melony coating on it, chocolate bread which looks like a sandwich and has chocolate filling, and raspberry-filled bread...I *think* that's everything...and Eliz says we'll get fried rice and more gyoza at a restaurant. Yay!
so today we had gyoza and Aquarious for lunch and have just relaxed and journaled for a verrry long time, as you can imagine, with the length of this entry [I wrote Day 4 and 5 in the same entry], and we *have* decided we're done with biking for today, or rather, our butt cheeks and thighs decided for us, but that's all that's been decided for the next 6 hours until the Snows pick us up to go to the onsen. Ta ta for now! Or...sayounara! Bye!