Wednesday, November 10, 2010

narai-juku : 奈良井宿

took ojiisan and obasan's new car for a spin on the expressway (ojiisan and obaasan were also in the car with us so i wisely set the cruise control at 100kmh...)
after a couple of nappy changes along route (for some reason kou-chan always poops when he's in his car seat) we arrived at the old town of narai-juku (奈良井宿) in shiojiri city (塩尻市).

narai-juku is basically a long-ish well preserved street which once flourished during the edo-period.
the weather was perfect for a stroll and it was a great place to pop our heads through the noren (暖簾); door-entrance curtains (??) to see what was on offer.

one shop in particular caught our eye as it had some great showa-period antiques for sale. k-chan and i fell in love with a handmade wooden bread box (the owner of the store makes them) but it was too over priced. we tried to see if they would give us a discount but nope, the price was set to stay. this is japan and not hong kong after all...
instead we bought some fairly common showa-period yunomi (湯のみ);japanese tea cups for 100 yen each.
currently unemployed this was probably a wise choice!

stopped off at another onsen deep in the mountains on the way home.
the natural spring water was great leaving our skin super smooth. shame that this onsen was so small; it felt like i was rubbing my elbows (and other body parts) with every man and his dog so to speak.
one boy (about 6 years old) pointed at me and said to his dad; "he's got strange hair". his dad turned around and looked like a deer caught in headlights when he saw me; a naked gaijin, but kindly explained to his son that yes; he has got blond hair and you have got black hair.
thank god the boy was pointed at my head and not somewhere else!


Life for Beginners said...

I love all these old streets in Japan where much of the culture, heritage and life are preserved. And oh my - kou-chan has the cutest smile ever! :)

pascale said...

is that like a nagaya? I love them,they are so simple and they say 'I am humble yet wise'.
Do I make sense?
I always wonder if it's warm enough in the winter though.

Your parents in laws are going to miss you guys a big bunch after spending such fun days. Especially the little one. :)

Kou chan has a super adorable smile, I could just go and eat him!! (okay, I won't please please let me see him next time!)

Anonymous said...

You have such nice in-laws who take you to all these wonderful places (even though you are the one driving).

You know I am Japanese, but I don't do onsen, really, as I don't want people staring (you know they do) at my "innocent" tattoos. So to have blond hair and everything else, man, I feel uncomfortable just thinking about it. You are a brave man.

world of sekimachihato said...

* Life for Beginners
we often say to each other; "wouldn't it be great if all of japan was still like this".
but i guess if it was it wouldn't be so special.
these streets are great to capture on film and even better to explore. lot's more of these streets around for me to check out!

world of sekimachihato said...

* pascale
correct me if i'm wrong but i think a nagaya is more of a single long building. these ones here are actually separate, but your right, i don't think they would be very warm during winter. it would still me nice to sit around a "irori" (囲炉裏) and soak in the warmth.

hehehe, looking forward to catching up early next year!

world of sekimachihato said...

* aixxx
i so don't get what the big deal is with tattoos and onsen. ok, so i know about the ya*kuza and all that; but god, so many "young" people have tattoos now that you would think this odd theory would pass.
most guys don't stare at me too much but you still get the odd few who have a good peek. i just have a good peek back lol.

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