Ah! So much has happened in the past few days and I've been too exhausted to blog by the time I got back to APU!
Gomen-ne! I'm sorry!
Happy belated Easter to everyone!
Anyway, I think I left off on Sunday. Sunday night we ran into town and ate okonomiyaki, which is basically like a pancake mixed with a variety of different ingredients. It was pretty good, especially with the sauces and combination of foods. It is a do-it-yourself type of meal, so the ingredients were placed in a bowl and given to us, while the grill was on the table. None of us were sure how to cook it, so we all kind of winged it together. The result was delicious.
Monday morning was a mandatory health examination at the local clinic/hospital in Beppu. Boy did this make everybody's morning. Girls had to change into the night gown tops, boys could keep their shirts. We had a chest x-ray, weight/height measurements, eye-sight testing, urine sample, blood test, and T.B. test. That's how I like to start off my week. All was well until I had to give blood. I tried to tell them it would be difficult, but they still took my left arm and poked around until they realized that they weren't going to get any blood from me. She then tested out my right arm, and with no luck, moved down to my wrist. All the while she was telling me in Japanese how strong and brave I was. I told her this was nothing new. At least I took it better than some of the wimpy boys that were there. Some were refusing to give blood, while others were freaking out about the T.B. test. I told them it was a piece of cake, as long as they could find your vein.
The trauma of the morning was spent recovering in Beppu again where the group continued exploring the city and shopping around a little bit. Most of us wanted to buy a normal sized pillow without the bean-bag filling, so that was on the top of the priority list. Luckily for us, there was a festival going on in celebration of the Onsen (hot springs). It was quite an interesting sight to see and there were many people lining the streets waiting for the parade to start. I'm not quite sure what exactly took place, or the symbolism behind everything, but I got some really cool pictures!
It was also the first time I've had sushi since I've been here! We went to one of the huge malls called You-Me. There are restaurants on all of the floors, so we headed into the sushi bar. This one is another self-serving type place where the plates are served on a conveyer belt running around a bunch of tables. If you see a plate of sushi you would like to eat, you take it off of the belt and enjoy it. Afterwards, the waitress adds up the number of plates for the tab, each one costing differently according to the colored plate. By the end of my meal, I had about six or seven plates stacked up. It was really fun!
Today we went to visit the Jigoku Onsen, or The Hells, which are famous hot springs that are actually too hot for people to use, and are instead more like visitor attractions. They were gorgeous! There were eight hells in total, and we made sure to hit them all. It was so exhausting, but really worth it. The first one had to be my favorite because it had the prettiest scenery and a beautiful landscape. Here are some pictures of The Hells, I took so many pictures!
Sorry that I'm not being more descriptive about the past few days. I'll try to catch up with the details later, right now I'm struggling to figure out how to do my laundry. It feels as if I've been up every morning before 8 a.m. and back inside my room by midnight. I'm dead tired and haven't felt this exhausted since I went to Disney World. But its a good exhaustion.
This is the curry that I had today for dinner. I don't normally like curry, but by the end of our Jigoku trip, I was so hungry that it was a lot better than I expected. Much better than the cafeteria!