Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Fun & Frolic of Japan

Japan-The land of rising Sun

When my dream came into living reality of traveling to Japan-the land of rising sun. That too, to the sacred Mt.Fuji, I was totally exultant & jumped out of excitement. The journey begin with Japan Airlines(JAL).A direct 8 hour flight till Nirata. Oh what an amazing & easy flight it was on an reclined seat of business class. After landing & transferring to Apa Resort Myoko Pine Valley which is in Niigata prefecture in Fujikyu bus after a tiresome land journey of about 200 kms away. Japan has 47 prefectures or administrative divisions. The view of the resort took the entire fatigue out of me. Look at the various shades of greens as if the nature is welcoming us with all the zig zag turns to this prodigious hotel. We had a grand welcome here, “konnichiwa” with a bow meaning hello with respect with some outstanding Japanese food along & wine awaited us for dinner.
The view from the glass window. Totally Stunning!!

The room was quite neat & spacious but the toilet was quite small with a small tub. What excited me the most in my trip to Japan were the toilet. The seats came with adjustable temperature shower jets for the ‘front’ & “back’, an add on with music make up, at some places a special attraction was, a blow dry functions for the bum.

Next was the visit to Mt.Fuji or locally called as ”Fuji-san”. Yes, “San” is always added to a name to give respect here in Japan. I could feel the goose bums all over me while I was gazing to this secret mountain. The highest mountain in Japan, Mt. Fuji is 3,776 meters above sea level, and is located more or less in the center of Japan, stretching over Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures.  The area surrounding Mt. Fuji is a most attractive tourist route for there are all kinds of sightseeing spots in the environs such as the Five Lakes of Fuji known as 'Fuji-go-ko' and Hakone. Mt. Fuji has been the object of awe and admiration as a sacred mountain and a divinity of fire. Some myths depict Mt. Fuji as a deity, most frequently as a goddess. I was in Yamanashi Prefecture, totally astonished to have a view of fujisan from high up where we reached by the cable car. The clouds were playing hide & seek with this black tip of Mt.Fuji. The sun too was a part of the game. Couldn’t have had a better view though. Some shopping & souvenir added to the charm of my kitty. For all the language problem: bargains, food & to shop for any specific thing, Raj & Rakesh were a great help who are also Indians but mostly work there.

Our visit finally landed us at Hotel Mt.Fuji, which has an onsen, a natural hot spring, enriched in sulphur & iron. A dip for 15 mins. in this richsome onset, detoxicate all the toxins from the body, any pain in the body can be removed in a couple of minutes from this healthy water. It gave me a relaxed & refreshed feeling after a tiresome day. Many use it as nightcap of sorts as it is open till late night.

Many other experiences of the trip will endure. A must visit on my wish list. I was showcased all across the winery, given the demonstration on wines, the way it is made,& musts to keep in mind before picking up a glass of wine: check the colour, ordour & taste. Saw the bunch of grapes hanging up there, which were so eye catching, could not resist to taste! More thrilling where the roller coaster rides in Fujikyu Highland, Most remarkable was my ride on Hippo vehicle(Bus),which ran us on the road, in between the greens for almost 20 mins & suddenly jumped into lake Yamanaka. The Buddhist Zen temple (15th Century) whilst during zazen, seated meditation, you are hit with a bamboo rod on your shoulder if you lose concentration.

Shizuoka prefecture is a treasure for powdered green tea locally called “macha”. They hump on varieties of the same in ice cream, cookies, candies, mousse & even soap. Here, green tea is another brew. It is practiced as a sacred tea ceremony. It is elevated as an elaborated art form-the tea equipment, the chadogu, the vajra asana style seating, the entire episode of tea making is touched by grace & respect. Fukatsu Fumiko, has been still learning this graceful art who must be somewhere in her 60’s & started learning it from her teens. Every move-pouring the water in the boiler, stirring the powder with a bamboo brush was like a rhythm in itself. Watching her on every step in the making was as an unsaid essay, easy & relaxing to both body & mind. Once ready, the tea must be consumed whilst in vajra asan & as a sacred offering.

No wonder the fitness of the Japanese is so fit as the food intake is rich in proteins-sushi, sashimi, tuna salmon are made with restraining oil & minimal use of salt.
Super- light on stomach & the digestive sytem. The rice wine “sake” is like a part of their staple food to flush down everything. I also enjoyed some Indian delicacies like Sambar, Rajma Chawal & Gajar ka Halwa in one of the Indian restaurant’s there., This was indeed a surprise which was an add-on to my Trip here. For Japanese food, one should surely eat a meal at “K.House” too. They have a chain of 40 restaurants across Japan. For Japanese food lovers, in India a surprise beholds for them too from the same chain called “Fuji Restaurant” in Delhi & 2 more in kolkatta. Soon they will be coming up with some more in India. This fun & frolic of Japan trip will always remain bright & high in my memories.