November 5, 2013

A fistful of summer

I began the summer by taking a plunge in a coffee bath. I feel like I have not slept soundly since. This hot spring contained a respectable amount of real coffee, and that is the right caffeinated metaphor for the summer just passed. As we have now reached the definitive end to the warm months of 2013, let’s take a look back, shall we?

Naomi had found out about this spa, called Yunessun, near Hakone, a popular weekend getaway spot south of Tokyo. It has over 25 different-themed hot spring baths, including a waterfall, aromatic (citrus), Japanese sake, green tea, and the aforementioned coffee spa. They had me at the word “coffee.”
Courtesy of
The kids dove into the blue popsicle-colored spa (I had to keep M. from trying to lap up the water) while I reveled in the wine spa. Naomi had to prevent me from testing the wine spa water. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree...
Visiting Yunessun spa was a unique way to kick off our summer fun and travels.

July was about all about fighter jets, flea markets and a fishing hole.
We found a new park near the Atsugi Naval Air Facility that has a kickass jungle gym, so the Rising Daughters could run amok. Located at the end of the main runway, we had the occasional booming flyover of F-18s either landing or taking off.
On weekends when we had no specific plans, we usually went off to one of many flea markets in and around the Yokohama area. Love them bargain hunts. Around that time, we also found a fishing hold right in the middle of the city which Elena, in particular, has taken a shine to.
 Later, in July, when temperatures began to rise to the sweltering zone, we escaped the heat in the neighborhood’s annual Obon holiday festival, held in the evening, so the girls could dress up in their summer yukata to parade around the festival grounds.
This summer ritual has become a favorite of mine. Elena created a unique lantern at school that was selected to help decorate the festival ground's lights, and she went on stage for her public awa yoshikono traditional song/dance debut.
It was terrific to see her dance around on stage, and Marina was having fun mimicking big sis’s movements.
On the way home, the very intoxicated (and usually very quiet) local barber called me over from across the street and plunked a cold beer into my mitt. I received the blurry but well-meaning picture of this merriment the next time we went in for haircuts. This type of gesture makes our neighborhood nice to live in. Bring on the heat, I said!

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