Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Jan 1 - 滝巡り

Today's breakfast was 8:30am, half an hour later than the usual time. I guess that's because everyone was supposed to sleep late last night. However, wouldn't it make more sense to be 9am or even 9:30am? Anyway, as I mentioned last night, I was watching Red vs. White Concert. The only reason I watched it was because Matsuda Seiko (松田聖子) and her daughter would appear together on the same stage. I am not a Seiko fan, nor her daughter's fan. I hardly know any song from Seiko (The ones I've heard are those adopted by HK musicians like Sandy Lam). But I considered it very attractive, much like Ken Griffey Junior who once shared the same field with his father. Seiko and her daughter appeared at around 10:50pm and sang the Japanese folk song "Ue o Muite Aruko" (上を向いて歩こう, I Shall Walk Looking Up). After that, I immediately went to bed at around 11:00pm, skipping what I've always considered the underrated count down.

I was curious about this morning's breakfast because I wondered what the Japanese are having on New Year day. Here's the full picture of what's served this morning.

And here came the rice ball bento that I asked the hotel to prepared last night.

I planned to go to all the waterfalls around the Yumoto (湯元) area today, as I'll be staying at a different hotel near downtown starting tomorrow. It takes an hour from downtown to Yumoto by bus, and so it won't be as convenient as now. The first waterfall was Ryuzu no taki (竜頭ノ滝). "Ryuzu" means dragon head, and "taki" means waterfall in Japanese. So literally it's the Dragon Head Waterfall. There's a full explanation in Japanese written on a big board but I couldn't understand. Here's a picture taken from the bottom of the fall.

There was a nicely paved trail (but icy) that went up the fall. Up I climbed, taking more pictures. In fact, I spent all morning here. Here's another one I took from the middle of the fall.

On my way down, I spotted the following on the ground!

I am not sure if you've heard of GorillaPod. It's a tripod (it still has 3 legs) with a novel design that it can clamp onto objects and therefore doesn't need a level ground to operate. Well, what I found was a broken piece from a GorillaPod leg. I was skeptical when I heard about it then. Now, my suspicion is confirmed, that it's not quite as reliable as the company claims.

I had my rice ball bento at Ryuzu no taki. Everything tasted plum! They are actually ok, and I didn't resent them. For me, the results were mixed when it came to plum. I once bought a plum wine from a Japanese supermarket in the Bay Area. I couldn't stand it! However, the plum wine the hotel served during dinner was delicious. Also, during dinner, the sauce for the warm vegetables had plum in it, but I again found it delicious.

Next was the Yu Waterfall (湯滝).

The water comes from Lake Yu (湯ノ湖), where last night's rainbow trout came from. The light was not right and so I didn't spent much time. Instead, I climbed the stone steps alongside the waterfall and eventually reached Lake Yu.

I then walked along Lake Yu and return to the hotel, taking some more pictures along the way.

Like yesterday, I entered the hot spring before dinner. At 6pm, I went downstairs to the dining room, and saw tonight's menu.

1. Karin wine from Tochigi prefecture. (I don't know what karin is.)
2. Nikko's yuba sashimi (Yuba is sheet tofu and it's a Nikko specialty, see Dec 30 blog.)
3, Soup made from vegetables from Okunikko (奥日光) plateau.
4. Warm vegetables served in a pot.
5. Four season flounder served in sesame miso sauce.
6. Pork steak.
7. Homemade mille crepe cake.
8. Coffee or black tea.

Here's the full view.

Here's how the fish looked like after I unwrapped it.

The hotel manager was kind enough and volunteered to take a picture of mine at the table.

The desert was the same as yesterday.

Tomorrow, I'll be staying in a different hotel in Nikko for 3 more nights. I'm afraid the location may not be as convenient as the current one, even though it's near the downtown area. Google map indicates that the bus stop is quite far from the hotel. I'll see. I hope they'll have Internet access, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Good night everyone.

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