Monday, June 6, 2016

Japan Road Trip: Tatebayashi


Our first night in our campervan was spent sleeping in the City Hall's car park, which backs onto Tsuusuda river in Tatebayashi. The banks of the river is home to many street cats so it was fun to get to wake up and pat cats.  Since it was super cold, some of them even came and sat on our laps - definitely hard to get up and walk away from that!

On a sidenote, five years ago, at this very park I was standing back just watching Ben do all the patting.  That event became a big stepping stone
in helping me over come my fear of cats - so it's a special spot for me :)



When we visited it was also time for Tatebayashi to hang their carp streamers (koinobori).  Tatebyashi actually holds the Guinness World Record for having the most displayed at one time - go Tatebayashi :)



An amazing thing about homeless cats in Japan and I think is a prime example of Japanese people's amazing kindness is all the street cats we encountered on our trip were really well looked after. They had shelters, fresh food and water and for these guys above, someone had even come around and aired out their blankets for them with new blankets put into their box.











We were also lucky to coincide with a dog show happening at a nearby field :)


I went and checked out the website above, I can't understand it but there were some amazing gems in the collection section.




Tatebayashi - dog in backpack

Tatebayashi - poodle



 The lady above was literally vacuuming her dogs coat.


Afterwards we headed off to see my friend Teruko and her three kids, Haruna, Hiroto and Yuto. It was so nice to pull into her house and have them all run out and greet us!



Ben taught them to play paddocks which they picked up straight away - such smart kids!


Teruko is an amazing cook and made us Ben and Fee friendly food - such love!




Haruna made that Lino cut cat painting you see above, I was saying how beautiful it was and then she gifted us with it *gasp* so special, it's now framed and living in our lounge room!

I think Hiroto stole my camera for this portrait of his little bro Yuto - told you they were clever!

 Farewell Committee!


That night we stayed in our first Michi No Eki, aka roadhouse in Haruna. We had an app in our campervan to find the nearest one which turned out to be a really helpful tool for travelling around Japan :) 

There was also an app to find the nearest onsen (public bathing house) which we visited that night. I might explains onsens, in depth, a little later but one thing we found out straight away is if you bring your own towel and face cloth/modesty towel the price is usually cheaper. Onsens will typically have a vending machine next to the front desk with the selections written in Japanese, I quickly learnt the symbol for person and took some educated guessed for the rest. This onsen had one price being slightly more expensive and since we didn't know this meant towel hire we hit the cheaper button and found out the hard way - luckily shirts make okay substitutes for towels :P We eventually hit up a 100yen store and bought our selves a towel and a facecloth so we could save the towel rental for the rest of the trip :)

Onsens were definitely one of my favourite experiences, at the start I had really little concern about my small back tattoo, although I did know that tattoos in onsens are frowned upon and often forbidden due to their association with Japanese Gangs (yakuza). My tattoo is so small and with my first onsen of our trip being so pleasant (a bunch of older ladies came to my rescue when I couldn't turn on the tap) I completely forgot about having my tattoo. Ben and I had a few tattoo rejection encounters later on and then after that I became super paranoid and didn't love onsens as much - I guess ignorance is bliss after all :p

12 comments:

  1. Great photos Fee, so many beautiful animals! I love your fluffy jumper too. :) xo

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    1. That jumper was a godsend not only awesome and muppet like but super super warm! :) Thanks Sarah!

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  2. I would love to just encounter friendly cats onot a daily basis. Stray cats in my city are usually too skittish to let someone pet them. In my apartment complex therected are a few stray cats, but we are discouraged from feeding them. I wish I could get my own cat
    , but they are too expensive to own in my apartment.
    This trip sounds amazing. I hope you get the chance to travel eventually.
    Great pictures! Everything is so crisp and beautiful.

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    1. aww that's no good! I hope you get some happy cat interactions in the future :) :) Thanks for your kind words!

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  3. omg, with all the cats, if I ever make it to Japan, I will never ever leave again. I miss mine so much, but monsieur is severely allergic to them, so it's not in the cards for us :(

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    1. The level of cat interaction was definitely high, although I will admit we did totally seek out the cats too :P I'm sorry about your cats - damn allergies ruin everything!

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  4. We had to get a room with a private onsen for me to experience one because I have sooo many tattoos now, and one of them has hanafuda, which would be considered a straight up yakuza tatoo (whoops). I love vacation serendipity where something awesome just happens to be happening in the the place you're visiting without you planning for it. And yay! for kitty cuddles!

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    1. Oh wow, had to google hanafuda! Have you ever shared all your tattoos before? Would love to see a blog post on them, if you haven't already :)

      Holiday serendipity is one of those magical things in life for sure!

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  5. I am already loving your trip. Such a.. I don't know the word for it.. but it feels like such a genuine local experience? Not glitzy and over the top fancy. I love it. And those cats. Bless those cats and the wonderful people who take the time to care for them this way.

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    1. I think it definitely help we've been before and actively wanting a different experience for this trip :) Last time we were all about Tokyo and getting in some countryside and this time was all about relaxing and exploring the unknown!

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  6. So touching that little Haruna gave you her amazing drawing! Aww! I love your comment about the kindness of Japanese people shown in how stray cats are well taken care after, so right! I thought the same when we stumbled upon them in Kyoto, the ones here are too cute to resist, I know I would have ditched any plan of the day to stay a little longer with them (crazy cat lady talk). And how awesome the dog show, such a local lovely experience.

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    1. I love that drawing so much and anytime someone comes over they always ask about and I get to proudly gush over it!!! Cats 4 life!!

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