Kyoto, Japan Day 5 (8-16-12) Funaoka Onsen and Daimonji

I got breakfast with Gina at the same place. I then did laundry, and she and I laughed at Japanese dramas and cartoons until she was ready to check out and head for her train. She made a good point when she said that I could “just meet other people,” in the sense that she and the guys weren’t the only possible travel companions I could have. I’m terrible with goodbyes, I do almost anything I can to avoid them, at the expense of my time. Gina was calm and didn’t have this problem. I really enjoyed her company and getting to know her.  We hugged and she left.

I then mailed two postcards and got one of those cold coffee drinks from a convenience store. I folded up my laundry, responded to some FB messages, and now I am writing th9is. I think that if I could do this over I would have flown to Osaka still but would have gotten the train pass so I could fly out of Tokyo (or vice versa…I feel like I am missing out a little bit by not going to Tokyo. But going there and back without a pass is financial suicide, it would be over 200 dollars including returning back to Tokyo).

So after writing this, I waited for Howard and Ray to arrive. At 4:30ish they finally got there. We made our way to the bus stop. Howard didn’t want to go to the Onsen (Asian sauna where you don’t wear clothes) so we parted at that point. We made plans to meet up at the bus station again at 7:30. Ray and I rode the bus to Funaoka Onsen’s nearest stop. It was harder to find than we expected, but Ray was really good at asking for directions. We did eventually find it though. It was a little smaller than the Korean jimjibang I usually go to in Korea but  I enjoyed it. There was even an “electric bath” where somehow there was  a contained electric current in the water. I couldn’t go for for more than 10 seconds. There was a note advising people with heart conditions not to use that pool. It was  cool in theory but for some reason I couldn’t stay in it!

Funaoka Onsen front view

A girl struck up a conversation with me but when she went to another pool I figured that was the end of it. She was Korean by nationality, but had been born in Japan and only spoke Japanese as her native tongue (and English obviously). But then when I was in the dressing room she approached me again and asked if I wanted to join her and her friends to see the burning letters (daimonji ) on her friends’ rooftop. Ray had to go get Howard, and I went ahead and joined her friends.  They took ages to get there due to a fire and immense traffic but once they were there  we all enjoyed talking to one another. There were varying  levels of English, and between the three of us I had the lowest Japanese level. But it was fun. Ray and Howard realized they wouldn’t make the last JR train to Osaka, I apparently missed the last bus out too. We left around 1:00 and I didn’t get back to my hostel until like 2:30 am or something like that.

Kiwa (Giwa?) is awesome. Unfortunately I haven’t heard from her since I left Japan, but I’m so thankful she gave me the chance to hang out with some Japanese people! 🙂


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