Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tokyo for Christmas: Day Four

Day Four...

December 26, 2009

I'm having a hard time trying to figure out what day it is, so I'm now going to post the day on each entry. My computer is still set on Mountain Daylight time so every time I try to post for the day that it really is here in Japan, the computer wants to "hold" it for an additional 16 hours. That probably doesn't make much sense, so never mind!

Last night before bed, Mr. Travel did some research on the internet to plan our day. He stumbled across a "Yokota Travelog" complied by the Officers’ Spouses’ Club. This is what we needed all along! He found a nice day trip in the Chichibu-Tama National Park. Inside the park is Nippara Caverns. To get there we took an hour long train ride (we're becoming experts at this now) and 30 minute bus ride and a 30 minute hike.

Mr. Travel and Kathi

The Train

Inside the train looking out the door.

The bus station

This time, the train wasn't crowded at all, probably since it was a Saturday. I am really beginning to like this whole train thing. It sure is easier than driving. I could get use to it, I think. This time the scenery was different since we were leaving the city. It was more of what we saw yesterday, the forested hills with a river running through the valley/canyon.

"Pop" machine

Little store, I don't think they sold Coke!


Cool sculptor at bus station

Cool sculptor at bus station

Very narrow road!

Garage right on the road!


Here's some literature I found on the cave:

The Nippara Shonyu-Do is about 800m deep, with about 300m open to visitors. It consists of eight caves divided into two sections. The old caves, “Kyu-do,” were used as a training site for “yamabushi” or itinerant Buddhist monks at the Issekizan Shrine Temple for 1,200 years before the cavern was opened to sightseers, Visitors to the Kyu-do first purify themselves with water at the nearby waterfall and then offer coins to the guardian god enshrined in the cave. The new caves, “Shin-do,” were discovered in 1963 and have much finer stalactites and
stalagmites than the “Kyu-Do.” Scientists estimate the caves were formed 5-7 million years ago.

The cave is a constant 52 degrees, very humid and wet inside. All the signs inside are in Japanese, no English at all. So glad we didn't get lost! Actually there was very little signs in English anywhere that we were today. Good thing Mr. Travel did his research or we would have been lost for sure! Inside the cave there are several steep stairs which are all wet and slippery. Luckily, most of the stairs had hand rails or it would have taken me forever to get down them! My calves are aching tonight! Looks like I've started my New Years resolution of the exercise thing early!

When we got done with the cave we walked back to the bus stop (30 minutes) boarded the bus and rode it back to the train station. We then hopped on the train and made our way back to the train station. By this time we were hungry for lunch/supper so we stopped at a big shopping center and ate in a restaurant there. Once again we looked at the plastic food outside the restaurant and pointed to what we wanted to eat on the menu. I thought I was ordering sweet and sour chicken, but it wasn't. I'm thinking it might have been some sort of fish, but I really have no clue! It was good though! Dan the Man and Nick both had some sort of beef stir-fry.

I'm glad they didn't seat us at one of these tables,
I don't think I could have got back up!

My meal.

Mr. Travel and Nick exhausted and resting on the train

With our bellies full and our legs aching, we headed back to the base. Nick went back home to rest, he's still fighting this cold thing and Dan the Man and I are in our hotel room watching the movie "The Last Samurai" starring Tom Cruise. It is really cool watching it because the scenery looks very much like where we were today! Also some of the Japanese phrases that are said in the movie are becoming familiar phrases to us. During Mr. Travel's internet searches he came across a temple some 2000 years old on top of Mt. Mitake where some of the samurai use to worship. There is also some samurai amour and weapons up there. Too bad we didn't go there today.

21 years old and still can't wear his pants properly!

Okay before I sign off for today I thought I'd share this with you. Let me introduce you to the most sophisticated toilet I have ever encountered! Here's the control panel. I didn't try any of the options because to tell you the truth, this Country Chicken Girl didn't know what they all were. What's the difference between the "spray" and the "bidet"? I can see there is a difference, but since I've never experienced either, I wan't sure I wanted to try it, especially since I was in a public place and had to come out of that bathroom! I didn't want to get my pants or whatever all wet and that's exactly what looked like was going to happen if I tried the "spray" or the "bidet"! LOL And as for the "flushing sound", well that just automatically came on. Guess that was to camouflage any sounds that might squeak out? What was the "stop" for??? Stop what? Once you start you don't want to stop until your business is done. "Powerful deodorizer"? Was that what you used after the "flushing sound"?? LOL!! And "WARM SEAT"? Are you kidding me?? Oh my gosh, who knew these things exsisted? As for "Nozzel Clean"... hmmm, I have no idea. What nozzel? I'd rather encounter one of these contraptions, verses the "squatters." All the other pottys I had to contend with today were the squatting kind. I'm sorry if I have offended anyone with this potty commontary, but I find it noteworthy and maybe this knowledge will come in handy for someone else!

As for tomorrow I think we have baseball and bowling on the agenda. Nick has a baseball game here on the base at 11:00 am and then we might go bowling. I'm wondering what my legs are going to feel like tomorrow! Well, time to hit the hay. See you tomorrow! Oh and a special thank you goes out to Mr. Travel for taking charge of our sight seeing and making sure we don't get lost! I love you! And one more thank you to Nick for being such a trooper even when he doesn't feel well! Love you too!


  1. I'm guessing the squatter is like the open ditch I encountered in the Forbidden City in China. It was very scary!

  2. The above was me

  3. I just want to know what you do if you have diarrhea and have to use the squatter???? Praying I don't have to find out!

  4. These Japanese bidets are very cool, I think you would have liked it. Spray is for your back side and bidet is for girls.

  5. Actually I did a search online for bidets so next time I encountered one, I'd be prepared. I actually found a YouTube video explaining the Japanese bidet, what a riot! I am now informed on these contraptions, but a little leery to use one since there are no towels in any of the bathrooms. Most Japanese carry their own towels to dry their hands and what ever else needs drying!