Saturday, January 06, 2007

First day in Japan: shopping, sake, hot springs...

"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...


Melinda said...

Oh, I always make one, mostly due to my tattoos!

It all sounds great - sake, food, and onsen. Next time you swing this way, we should go to Sawanoi and then have a dip.

Say hi to Mayu for me!

David said...

You write soem great stuff about Sake and Japanese culture. i like your style and layout.

At the moment we are looking to increase the number of link in and out of our Tokyo site, and to be honest there are a number of stories re: Sake I wouldn't mind re-publishing with credit back to yur site.

Any how, please email me anytime

Anonymous said...

Is it right Sake is made of rice??
How do you make it??

thefecklesspunster said...

The sake bottle in your photo says Aramasa (新政). Here is their home page:


Valerie said...


Finally! Thanks!

McAlpine said...

Sawanoi's great ! Yukaisokai is a chain super sento with some of their tubs having onsen water. It's a place I used to frequent quite often here in Kanagawa. Nice trip you had.

Regina said...

Well written article.

Japan Shopping said...

This is what I like about Japan shopping, it comes along with a promise of delicious dishes after having fun shopping around. I think you enjoyed it a lot.