Sunday, July 24, 2011

happy 60th in kusatsu (草津)

earlier this week was chi-chi’s (my mum) 60th birthday.
happy birthday mum!!

guess how chi-chi wanted to spend this special day?
well, she and a group of close friends decided to climb mount mauao; a famous mountain beside the ocean at my home-town.
once at the top they cracked open a bottle or two of champagne which popa (my dad) carted up in his backpack and basically enjoy the amazing view and company.

I really hope you had a blast mum and didn’t get too tipsy on that champagne. the only way down is to walk or call for a rescue helli which you wouldn’t want as I’m sure it would make the front page headlines of the local newspaper!
hang on, isn't it illegal to drink on mount mauao?!?!
god, breaking the law at age 60 huh!

it sucks living so far away, especially at special occasions like this. it would be great if we could just pile on into the car, zip down the road to chi-chi and popa’s place and have a few glasses of champagne with them.
we knew that it would be impossible to be back in new zealand for chi-chi’s 60th so instead we decided to celebrate when mum's milestone when they were here in japan a couple of months back.

we took them for a weekend escape up to the small mountainous town of kusatsu in gunma prefecture (群馬県草津町) and k-chan's parents also made the trip from nagano prefecture for the celebrations.
kusatsu is world famous for its natural onsen; hot springs.
when i mentioned this to my parents I’m sure they started freaking out about having to get stark naked in front of a group of strangers and experience a real japanese onsen.

with that in mind we set out for the 4 hour drive from tokyo.

apparently there are over 100 hot springs in kusatsu with 34,000 litres of water per minute (now that’s a lot!) flowing out of the ground.
was glad to hear that this hot water is not wasted but used to heat the town’s schools in winter along with the streets, swimming pools, and many household etc.
the main attraction of the town is a huge hot spring located in the town’s center called yubatake (湯畑).
the wooden boxes you can see below are there to collect minerals which are then processed and sold as bath salts.

as we were stayed at a traditional japanese inn it didn’t take long before we were in our yukata and lounging around our spacious accommodation.
dinner was served in a private dining room and my parents were shocked at the amount of beautiful food which was served to us.
even got mum to wear the tradition red hat and cape; (akai-chanchanko) which is worn when one turns 60 and apparently starts to return to childhood.

after a few beers it was time to get naked.
seriously, onsen time.

surprisingly I wasn’t the least bit worried or embarrassed about soaking in a hot spring naked with my dad.
my dad didn’t seem too worried either but my mum on the other hand was a bit apprehensive having to go in with k-chan (she could go alone but was unfamiliar with all the ins and outs of onsen bathing).
apart from the water being a tad too hot for my parents they said that they loved it and were really glad to have experienced it.

wonder if they would do it again…?

so mum, happy 60th!
wish we could be in new zealand to celebrate with you!


Lavender Playground said...

Happy bday to your mom! It's always never too late to try something new!

shellie said...

Well happy birthday to your mum. What an amazing way to spend the day. I love it that she was breaking the law. I recently read a story about an actress from a childhood tv show who was arrested on her 70th birthday while smoking a joint on her way back from her birthday party in her corvette...hahhaaha imagine that phone call from ones mom! Those hot springs look and sound amazing. Someday i have got to get my butt over to japan it seems so amazing...someday...*sigh*

world of sekimachihato said...

* lavender playground
so true, makes me wonder when was the last time I tried something new, something totally different.

world of sekimachihato said...

* shellie
thanks for the well wishes.
some (yes some) laws are so there to be broken. I mean drinking champagne on top of a mountain isn't really disturbing the peace in my book.

you should so try to get over to japan one day although you might wanna abide by the laws over here. I don't think the saying "rules are made to be broken" applies to japan.
there are so many underlying rules over here it's not funny. you don't get many people breaking them either which for some people could drive you mad.

I have a funny feeling you would be all go for that onsen business. no?

shellie said...

hahaha i definitely would not break any laws in a foreign country purposefully. yes japan definitely seems like a "rules" kinda place. My best friend is 3rd generation japanese and it boggles my mind with all the proper way to do things so you dont come off as rude.
yes your funny feeling is correct. you know me so well already.

Luuworld said...

happy birthday to your mama! thanks for a nice post, nice to get distracted by this :)

kusatsu looks amazing, i would love to go there some day. hot springs rule!

can imagine it must be hard to live so far away from your parents.

oh and i love how your mum broke the law by drinking at the mountain! lol.

and the naked really should't be embarrasing, but i cringe at the thought of being naked w my dad. glad you handled it! :))

world of sekimachihato said...

* luuworld
hey dude, how are you? feeling ok?
i can't imagine what it must be like at the moment but hang in there; our thoughts are with you.

oh, and i'd rather you didn't use the words "naked" and "dad" and "handled" in the same sentence.
major cringe!

Life for Beginners | Kenny Mah said...

When I'm 60, I wanna be as cool as your parents. :)

world of sekimachihato said...

* Kenny
me too.
I'm proud to have parents who break the law without even realizing it.

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