"An old, but tasteful environment
feel comfortable space surrounded by
the attached furnitures and dishes.
Well, you will taste delicious dishes
you have never had tonight."
That was the promise on the brochure of Tofuro, what I took to be a "chain" izakaya in Chiba, Japan (I think it was a chain and I think it was in Chiba. Details were fuzzy on this entire trip and I feel too guilty to ask Mayu to spend hours translating for me - if anyone can tell what that sake was from the photo, please let me know!)
The day started with shopping. I bought the first of many sake cups on this trip at Sogo. These aren't my usual style, but I thought they were interesting and I hadn't seen anything like them before.
We had dinner at Tofuro and followed up with baths at Lapis Lazuli badenroom. I love onsen. The few that I have been to seem to have a few things in common: several baths of varying temperatures, some inside, some outside; a place to buy refreshments; an area with lounger chairs, usually with big screen televisions. This is one thing that I have never understood. You go to the baths, have a massage, get completely relaxed...and then go to a lounge area to watch loud, crazy t.v.? Well, obviously, that is the height of relaxation for many people. I still love onsen. I've been to two previously, La Qua in Tokyo near the dome and another in Yamanashi, but this was the first time I had a female friend along with me to explain all the intricate rituals and manners expected at onsen. I was amazed at how much I must have offended on my first two visits! Oh well, I take it that Japanese expect gaijin to make endless faux pas...