Valentine's Day in Akita & Iwate

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February 20th 2010
Published: February 20th 2010
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The Infamous TeguchiThe Infamous TeguchiThe Infamous Teguchi

He's holding a bottle of "Panty Peeler" beer.
This year I spent Valentine's Day in Akita with the boy. Took the night bus on Wednesday night from Tokyo and arrived Thursday morning. After some much needed sleep we went spent a lazy Thursday at his place just enjoying each other's company. We cooked up a delicious batch of chicken kabuli and got unintentionally drunk on two gingerhais. (Black Stone shochu is far too smooth to be 40%!) It was pretty nice night regardless 😊

Friday we went to Meat Men with everyone for Chika's birthday - the same place we went for my birthday in December. It was just as delicious the second time around and only cost $40! Considering the amount of meat and alcohol you get it's totally worth it. I couldn't go there more than once a month though. It's just too much meat! You feel like your heart is going to burst after hahaha but it's totally a low carb dieter's dream restaurant. After Meat Men we ventured over to the Beer Bar to hang with Teguchi and introduce him to Jason who'd just arrived Thursday.

I didn't realize this the other times we went but Teguchi charges a seating fee of $5 a person. It's not really a big deal since he gives you food and his place is small, but it can be a bit annoying if you order a juice or a tea and your bill still comes to $15. Jim and I were already pretty drunk from Meat Man so only got a beer each and it was still $30. It doesn't seem to bad at first, but if you're going there more than once a week it adds up fast!

The next day we were meeting up with everyone to have cake for Chika's birthday and visiting a sand onsen in Iwate Prefecture. I'd never been to a sand onsen before so I was pretty excited. Before we stopped in there Jim surprised me and took me to this massive bamboo statue with a huge erection. I call it the penis man statue since I can't find a decent translation of its name. We took some hilarious pictures and I picked up some omiyage for Lacey and Kyle. They're gonna love it!

After we were all penis manned out, we drove down the road to the sand onsen. Honestly it was pretty amazing! Basically it's a regular onsen but there is a separate room you go into with a yukata (robe) on and they bury you in hot sand. For girls they give you a shower cap to wear so you don't get sand in your hair. It was really strange walking in to see a room full of people buried up to their necks in sand. It was like seeing a room full of pod people hahaha

The way it works is they dig a shallow hole, you lay in it and then stay perfectly still while they pile a bunch of sand on top of you. It feels pretty heavy at first but once you get past the initial claustraphobia it feels really nice. The sand isn't just warm though, it's HOT! You sweat like a beast because of the heat but apparently it helps your body get rid of toxins or something and the ladies working there soak your towel in cold water and pat your face down. My favourite part was that Jim and I could talk to each other while we were there since normally at onsens we get separated. 15 minutes later they dug us out and we got to go shower off and soak in the regular part of the onsen. My side was super busy though and I didn't feel like getting stared at so I didn't stick around long.

We shared in some birthday cake with everyone once we got back and then headed over to the Snow Dog Festival. It was incredibly cool! We'd seen the road crews making lanterns with snow off the local shop roofs. Basically they had this mould and they would fill it with snow, stamp it down and then hose it down. When they took the mould off you had a snow lantern shape that they later carved out and put candles in. I took a bunch of pictures so you can see what they look like. The Snow Dog Festival was basically a bigger version of that. They had these castles and buildings made out of all the snow they'd ploughed off the streets and shovelled off the roofs. Then guarding each castle or shrine was a pair of snow dogs that'd been made by the locals. Each one looked a bit different and they were all sculpted by hand. It was pretty incredible! I really wish they
Akita in the winterAkita in the winterAkita in the winter

Reminds me of Canada :)
did stuff with snow like this back home. At least the lanterns - maybe people would complain about the snow less if they could actually enjoy looking at it! There were fireworks too and free sake so we had a pretty great time. We even rode on the snow dogs hahahaha My ass is still frozen from that I think.

Unfortunately Sunday I had to head for home but the boy cooked me a nice breakfast so I wasn't super sad. Everyone else was heading down to the Namahage festival but we missed it because I had to go to my flight. Hopefully we can make it next year. It's a festival where these people dressed as demons come down from the mountain and scare all the children. It's a big scary story they have here to keep the kids behaving - if you misbehave the namahage will steal you away in the night. Cruel but apparently quite effective hahahaha

Enjoy the pictures from the weekend and hopefully I'll post again soon 😊

Happy (Belated) Valentine's Day everyone!


Additional photos below
Photos: 20, Displayed: 20


Snow Lanterns (carved out)Snow Lanterns (carved out)
Snow Lanterns (carved out)

A lot of places turned them into mini shrines like this one outside the hotel
Stop AIDS!Stop AIDS!
Stop AIDS!

A Stop AIDS campaign featuring characters from "Black Jack", a medical-based Japanese manga.
Awe :)Awe :)
Awe :)

Snowman love

26th March 2010

Snow men are cute.
Hello Jennifer I am glad that you are having fun there. By the way, the picture of "stop aids" is from a Japanese comic book which title is "Black Jack". If you read all of it, you can get a lot of medical knowledge...
12th April 2010

Ahhh thank you! I was wondering about that! I'll have to keep an eye out for it. Glad to hear you're enjoying the read :)

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