Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Futo, Izu

Last week after our trip to Chinatown, Josh said that he wanted to do something more adventurous and start exploring Japan. We checked a couple of schedules and found a snorkel trip on Saturday - and signed up! So at six o'clock Saturday morning we left the house, rented wetsuits and snorkel gear in hand, and boarded the bus for the Izu peninsula.

What a day. The ride was 3 1/2 hours long (!) and took us up to Yokohama and around mainland Japan to Futo. Mt. Fuji was visible for much of the ride, so we got our first good views of the volcano. It is already peaked with snow at this time of year - the climbing season is only July and August. I wish we could have gotten a better photo.

Izu is known for snorkel and scuba opportunities, and it features gorgeous cliffs, aquatic coves, and tropical fish. We suited up and headed for the water.

Unfortunately we couldn't find an underwater camera, so I can't show you all the cool fish we saw. Instead I will show you silly pictures of us in our gear.

Josh said I look like a Sea World employee. I promised him I wouldn't publish what I said he looked like.

Snorkeling was fun, but the chop was strong and the currents were rough - I managed to cut three toes on the rocks. After a couple hours in the water, we took showers and headed off to explore.

Turns out most of the so-called hiking trail was located on top of a freaking mountain. We saw some stairs and headed up

and up

but it was worth it.

Then I saw some giant spiders up there, and

well, that was that. Anyway, we were hungry, so we sat on the beach to eat the PB&Js I brought. Josh and I have a tradition of putting tortilla chips in our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches - it's the same picnic lunch we had the day we got engaged. (AWWWWWW...) Josh was really, really into it on this day.

Hee hee hee! I can't believe he lets me post these.

There was only one other couple on the trip with us, and they were NOT having a good time. Nor were they friendly, but that's beside the point. Since everybody was done snorkeling, our guide took us to another part of the peninsula for wasabi ice cream, which is a local specialty. Josh decided to brave it, and I played it safe with cantaloupe flavor. They were both really, really good! The wasabi came on sweet, then warmed up quite a bit at the end, and the melon tasted just like it should. They were even good together.

Ugh, I'm making a really weird face there. Let's see...

That's better.

We kind of thought that might be the day, but our guide was really great. He gave us an hour to explore the Dogashima Orchid Sanctuary (web site in Japanese only but the photos are great!) Josh and I left our cranky cohorts behind and spent the hour on the campus. That's where we met the parrot, by the way. :)

The place was incredible. There are greenhouses everywhere, countless orchid varieties, a research and development center, and displays like the peacock above, made entirely of white blossoms. There are some really weird plants too, like the carniverous guy pictured here

and this, um, well, this.


Moving on from the vaguely pornographic plants, there was an 80 foot suspension bridge called "Love Call Bridge." I wish I knew the story behind it, but it was pretty incredible to see.

I wish we could have gotten a photo of us together on the bridge. We had such a great time goofing off together and seeing the flowers! These will have to do.

I do have one shot of us together - there's a tripod set up and a sign which reads "Best Photo Spot" in several languages. Don't think I haven't chided Josh about these socks.

What an incredible day! When we got back to the bus, we discovered that our unfriendly companions had spent the hour sleeping on the bench seats. I think maybe this wasn't the trip for them.

It got COLD on the way home - the wind picked up and the twisty drive was rough on my motion sickness. But the views of Fuji in the sunset were amazing - worth stopping the car for a picture. I had to take my hat off in the wind, though.

Just the little part of Japan we've seen has been amazing. During the ride down, we saw rice fields, bundles of straw hanging in the sun, and dozens of fish spinning on a big contraption, drying in the afternoon air. There is so much more to see and do, and we're going to get to as much of it as we can. Care to join us?


Otenth Paderborn said...

About the Seaworld comment? It's definitely the pose! Ta-daa!

What a fantastic post. The evening photo with Mt Fuji in the background is wonderful.


clembo said...

So beautiful! The water, the spooky old stairs, the orchids, Mt Fuji, and of course, Josh's socks. Thanks for all the great pics! You are so smart to be adventurous while you are there.

I'll pass on the giant spiders, though. We have enough of them in SC.


Melanie said...

Wow, Em, what a day! I loved the pictures, you running down the stairs was so funny. Glad you had such an awesome time. love mel

Bethanyivy said...

What an awesome trip! You look great in your wetsuit : ) Keep up the awesome exploring, and make the most of your place in Japan.