We are back in Tokyo today.
Last week we were in the Hakata area and the Beppu area visiting my family-- relaxing, walking around, trying to improve my Japanese. We went to the ramen stadium, learned how to cook gobo, walked along the Beppu Bay, got in a boiling hot onsen (hot spring), and sat in on a calligraphy class. Jeff was able to meditate in both temples-- everyone was impressed that he could sit for so long. (I can only last about 5 minutes.) My family has been extremely hospitable and receptive to our last-minute plans. We've experienced many new sights and smells, including new green tatami mats, boiled-egg sulfur baths, and life-changing udon in Osaka's underground city.
We went to see 2 of the Jigoku onsen (the colored boiling hot spring tourist attractions), but ended up going to an old wooden sento-style (neighborhood bathhouse) place patronized by local grandmas and grandpas. I had no idea what to do because I couldn't see anything-- but it was a good experience (and only 100 yen).
But there is trouble in paradise-- on Saturday, upon being picked up at a countryside train station in the Kansai area, we immediately knew that the first farm was not a good place for us to be. It was obvious that what we were looking for (learning, sustainability, cultural exchange) was not present at this place-- actually, it wasn't even a farm, just a country house with chickens, and the hosts were off site most of the time. We decided to leave, and now we're back at Kae's apt in Tokyo trying to regroup and find a plan B. (misa)
(jeff) in other news after meditating in the hakata temple i felt amazing- as i came to realize in my own way the teaching of using no way as way- so i danced around on tatami mats-
here are some pictures to soften the blow-