October 6, 1961 – Fuji

Fujiya Hotel, Fuji – Hakone National Park, Japan – Cloudy, no rain

      When I woke up this morning I felt amazing and I wasn’t sore at all like I expected from all the pounding and rubbing I’d gotten last night.  I felt so good I dawdled in bed a little too long and had to rush to get ready to leave for breakfast and another day of touring.  Edith seemed to be in better spirits this morning and to have put her annoyance of the night before behind her and I was glad of it.

      While I waited for my food at breakfast I decided to use the time to write a letter to the Fillmore Herald about yesterday and another letter to Ramona.  Kiki had let us know that it would be safe to mail letters from the Fujiya Hotel.  After finishing a quick letter to the Herald I started one to Ramona:

October 6, 1961 – Fugiya Hotel

Dear Ramona;

     This is a fabulous hotel (The Fujiya Hotel in Hakone, Japan).  We are in the Flower Palace and our room is called the Hydrangea; it is large with big easy chairs, tables and a lovely bath with hot mineral water.  It is a spa.  Our meal last night was 12 courses and the food good.  First I had hors-doerves then the plate vanished then clear soup, then a little pickle beets cucumber and I forget then salmon then beef and noodles etc.  Everything on a clean plate each time.  The china was beautiful clear white and gold.  We are sure living in luxury.  Last nite at 9:30pm I took a hot bath before Edith and I had a man come up and massage us.  He did me for an hour and 10 minutes.  Edith complained so much while he did it that he only did her for 1 hour.  But oh I was rubbed and pounded until I thought I would be sore this morning but I feel wonderful.  He had such strong hands that were like silk.  Don’t tell anyone this – they will be shocked. 

     Ramona find Dr. Schlesses address and send it to me.  You will be getting the Fillmore Herald.  Keep the copies and get more if you can.  You will also receive a package but don’t tell it is a puzzle box with a secret opening.  Gotta go.  Love Mother (Be sure and save the stamps)

     Our tour was expected to drive along the shore of Lake Hakone so we could get a close up view of Mr. Fuji however it turned out to be cloudy once again and I didn’t get to see the mountain very well.  I decided not to take pictures when we stopped at Lake Hakone because of the weather. 

      Once we left the lake we went to a train station where we boarded the limited express train, Tsubame, (Swallow) to travel in a first class reserved seat car to Numazu.  On the way there we were served a four course luncheon which included a very tender steak with mushroom sauce.  The train had good, roomy coaches but it swung from side to side because it overhung the narrow gauge track built several feet above rice fields.

Swallow Train at Numazu Station

Numazu

      At Numazu I took a few pictures of some interesting people near the train gate.  One lady who especially intrigued me was a Bird Woman who had a huge grin all the more stark because of her prominently missing teeth.  She made me smile and yet feel sad too because she seemed so happy despite being so obviously poor.   She graciously posed for me several times. 

Bird Woman Near Gate in Numazu

Bird Woman in Numazu

      Since we had a little wait at Numazu I decided to walk around a little bit.  Near the train station I saw a small cemetery and when I looked closer at some of the graves I was touched when I caught a glimpse of more than one tombstone dressed with a kimono on it.  I didn’t know what to make of it but I had wondered if the grave might have been that of a Geisha or some other great lady of Japan.  Seeing that reminded me of the cemetery at home where Stuart was buried and the graves I’d seen which had been decorated with personal items left by the family.

Cemetery with Kimona's on Tombstone

      When we caught the express train to leave Numazu I almost lost Edith.  Getting on and off the doors only stayed open for 1 minute and they shut abruptly.  Edith was a little slower than I was trying to get on and she almost didn’t make it.  We found you really need to step fast getting on and off.  The train passed through the third largest city in Japan, Nagoya, on our way to Kyoto. 

      Kiki had told us that they made Noritake china in Nagoya.  I was sorry I wouldn’t have a chance to spend some time there shopping.  I would have liked to send some home.

      Kyoto was our next city to visit and we were all excited to stay there because it was considered to be the “classic Japanese city.”  We’d been told that Kyoto and the surrounding area were special and a great area to visit. 

      We arrived in Kyoto about 3:00pm in the rain and Kiki quickly took us to our hotel, the Miyako Hotel.  I had high hopes there would be some letters waiting for me when we arrived but Edith and I were both disappointed to find there weren’t any.  We were given our rooms but at check in we were told we only had a few minutes to freshen up before we had to meet again in the lobby.  The hotel and rooms were nice although not as fancy as some of the rooms we had had in recent days.

Miyako Hotel at Kyoto

View of Miyako Hotel at Kyoto

Another View of Miyako Hotel

       At 5:00pm Kiki collected us in the lobby and took us to our distraction.  I was amazed when I saw the Japanese varicolored lanterns hanging that lined the roads on our trip to the restaurant.  At the Hamamura Restaurant we were treated to a Sukiyaki dinner where we had the meal with beer, saki and cold tea while we were seated on floor cushions.  I had a hard time sitting on the cushions and being comfortable but the food was better than I had expected and there certainly was a lot of it.   I kept fidgeting around trying to find a good way to sit.  Eventually I saw how some of the other ladies were seated and sat the same way.

      After dinner Geisha girls performed for us and after all I had learned of the culture so far I felt very privileged to have had them entertain us.  They played heavenly music for us to listen to.  The Geisha were so talented they made me wish that I had even a little of their skills.  In many ways I felt like I was in another world listening to them play.  The Geisha were so elegant in their dress and delicate in their motions.  When they walked or moved their movement flowed.

      By the time we had been returned to the hotel and I’d made it back to my room I was ready to go to bed as soon as possible.  I washed out some of my clothes before I took a hot bath and then turned in for the night.

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