Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Japan Diaries, part X: Leaving paradise

Another entry about Shirahama? Yes, because the guest house Mifune deserves it. On the first morning we had already decided to stay another night and seeing how our hosts didn’t understand a word of what we were saying we had looked up “to leave”, “tomorrow” and “Tuesday” in our phrase book. It worked wonders, they were delighted. At first we thought they were stressed. We had to change rooms! The Americans had left and we had to move into their room. Ah no, we said, the room we have is fine, great, marvellous, arigato. The hostess kep insisting until we realised that it was her best room, and refusing was actually rather rude. And so we gratefully accepted and waited while she scurried about like an ant to get it all ready.

The other room was also a fine room, the wash stand was slightly newer, otherwise there was little difference. Except that at eight in the morning the next day (my friend was washing, I was in my jammies) there was a knock at the door. I opened it, hastily putting on a kimono. It was the hostess, speaking Japanese at me animately and pointing at herself (Japanese point at their noses if they indicate themselves) and downstairs. “What does she want?” my friend asked, around the corner. “I don’t know,” I said. “Does she want us to pay now?” S said. “Do you want us to check out?” I asked the lady. She hesitated, shook her head, and beckoned some more while speaking Japanese at me. “Oh well,” I told S, “I’ll just go with her.” “Good plan!” said S. And so I put on my slippers and went downstairs, only to find a full breakfast waiting for us. Ah. The special room came with special breakfast.

We left our bags in the ryokan (“May we leave our bags here until the afternoon?” – “Aaaah, aaaah, nono.” – “(He doesn’t understand) Um. Backu-packu. (point) Here. (point) One o’clock? (point at watch) – “Ah! Haihai!”) to enjoy some more sunshine and Shirahama before the long train journey to Nikko. While S lounged on the beach I made spirals in the sand, spotted some little crabs on the rock and found a half-closed shrine just off the beach. As I said, I like exploring.

At one o’clock the lovely host couple took us to the train station in their car. As we were bowing (low!) the woman received our little gift of ceramic clogs from Holland with a smile and said “You (point). Come (beckon). Back?” YES, next time we are in Shirahama, we will definitely come back to Mifune!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Ninja, in case you were wondering, the sign in the 2nd picture says "[something something] footbath". The kanji are very hard to identify if they're written in this wild style.