Oh look, here's Ayako...!
And the latest and greatest addition to the elephant collection: Dumbo!!! I also received a plush elephant toilet paper dispenser. It dispenses out of its bum. No joke!
Jeff hamming it up with the infamous "sex on the beach" flower.
I just think this is a cool picture of Mikiko and Kevin. You guys rock!
Saturday (and Sunday)
Well, it was a slow start, beginning with the fact that both Ayako and Mikiko stayed at our place overnight. But eventually, Jeff and I got on the road. I had requested an overnight stay at a ryokan (traditional Japanese hotel) with an onsen, and that's what I got... in the beautiful area of Yamanashi. We enjoyed traditional Japanese meals and more naked dips with curious Japanese folk. It was great, and really relaxing. And as usual, we saw some great mountain scenery.
That's me, relaxing in my yukata after a dip in the onsen at our ryokan.
The area was really famous for its fruit and wine. (Sounds Niagara-ish, wouldn't you say?) Check out the grapes! They are grown higher than back at home, and the have these protective paper thing-ies that are put around them. And of course, each bunch looks perfect, in typical Japanese style!
Finally, Sunday morning we left the ryokan and went to a nearby outdoor onsen that is famous for its sunrise/sunset views of Fuji. It was, of course, hazy, but the outdoor baths were amazing regardless. So beautiful, on the side of the mountain, with a great view and volcanic rocks to sit on and lean against. We agreed we will definitely come again later in the year when the air clears up... perhaps when Maria comes (?)