I managed to get the boys up and moving early this morning. We wanted to spend some time at the sumo wresting tournament before we had to head over to Mt Fuji. With all of our clothes drying in the closed laundry area, the earliest we could get moving was 8am after the area opened back up (lucky for the guys or I'd have had us out of there sooner). I was impressed that we were up and checked out of the hostel by 8:30am and on our way to the train station. Things were going a little too well, though, so something had to happen. As we got to the platform to board the train Fred realized he had forgotten his black bag. Tyler and I waited for him at the station as he ran back to our hostel to retrieve it. Luckily it was still sitting in the lobby of the hostel.
Two train stops later we were at Ryogoku where the sumo wrestling is held. We walked to the JR station nearby and put our big bags in lockers for safe keeping while we spent the morning at the tournament. As the hostel receptionist predicted it was
practically empty Monday morning for the low level wrestlers so we walked right in to grab some seats. We hunted down some breakfast and settled in to watch the matches. Fred grabbed a bento box which he enjoyed while Tyler and I split a box of these filled-pancake type treats. Some had cream and others red bean paste - both were delicious and filling. We saw a bunch of matches of the low level wrestlers so the men ranged from normal looking to super fat. Each match started with a song either singing the names of the sumos or blessing the stage, we weren't quite sure which. Then the two enter the ring and do a little intro ceremony which includes the lifted leg move that we all associate with sumo wrestling. Then the referee would start the match and basically the two man ran into each other and tried to either push the other out of the ring or get him on the ground. Since the ground was sand, sometimes one would slip and go down right away, but most times you got to see them push all that fat around until someone was out of the ring. Every
time they got close the referee would make this "tatatata" sound. A couple hours later we headed out our long trek to Mt Fuji.
Thankfully the hostel gave me directions, so we hopped from train station to train station until we ended up on the line from Ostuki to the Kawaguchiko station we needed to get to our hostel. The train was themed around Thomas the Train and had the train cartoons covering it! It was a beautiful ride with green rolling hills like you might see in western Pennsylvania or New Zealand. Then out of the hills pops up Mt Fuji. It's so odd to see only one mountain around, but since it's a volcano I guess it makes sense. Tyler and I had a field day trying to get pictures out of the train window. However, the haze again made it difficult for my dinky camera - I may be stealing Tyler's upon our return.
We knew that we did not have much time in town so we went straight to the Cable car ride up a small nearby mountain. As luck may have it, the station had lockers to store our big travel bags in
while we went up. The view of Mt Fuji was absolutely amazing! It was a bit hazy so it may be tough to see it in my photos but again I have Tyler and his giant camera to steal pictures from. There were some interesting things in addition to the view at the top. There was some story about a rabbit and a racoon that we couldn't read but we enjoyed messing around with the statues and photo costumes they had available to go with it. They even had a rabbit shrine that people were trying to throw seashells through a rope hoop (no idea why). Fred, hang as always got some Mt Fuji dumplings but he was a bit surprised that they were not covered in caramel instead miso sauce. Disappointed he handed it over to Tyler to finish and it seemed too be our cue to leave.
Unfortunately we only had my Japan Travel guide map of town which didn't have a whole lot on it and a general understanding of our hostel's location. I took us on a walk around Lake Kawaguchi in hunt of the hostel. Since we were at a higher altitude the weather
was a bit chillier. Fred attributed it to the Frostidon - Godzillas frosty counterpart. We somehow managed to find the hostel with little trouble. When we arrived it was a madhouse. There were three other groups checking in at the same time as us. We got our key and headed to our dorm room. We ended up sharing with three older ladies from Malaysia (who took all the bottom bunks and snored louder than the two guys!). The boys were ready for a good sit down meal because I had them eating on the go (aka trains) all day to fit in as much sightseeing as we could. As we were about to leave, Fred aaked how much our rooms were. After telling him I realized that it sounded like too much. Now due to Tyler's delayed flight and the fact we could not climb Mt Fuji, I had sent a message canceling one night in Kawaguchi so we could spend an extra day in Tokyo. It appeared in the confusion of all those people checking in we were charged for both nights. So I had to spend a few minutes working with the receptionist to get that fixed (again
me between the boys and food).
Finally with that out of the way we headed to a recommended restaurant stopping to get some money at the ATM. The restaurant had fun tables on the floor. Lucky for us they gave us one with a sunken whole underneath so we didn't have to kneel the whole time. The local dish happened to be a soup called houtou. It reminded me of the chicken noodle soups with the really thick noodles, except I had duck in mine. Crazy Fred ordered two meals (surprising us and our waitress - she was laughing while reading back the order of three drinks, three people, and four meals). His reasoning was that he had to try the dumplings. Amazingly he finished both. I was so stuffed I didn't even finish my one!
Of course we could not call it a night that early since it was only 7, so we found directions to the only bar in town. On the way we stopped at 7/11 to get some breakfast for the next morning (starting to plan ahead for the guys and their stomachs). Since we could, we grabbed some drinks for our walk. I
made a comment about needing a cup of ice for some of the drinks. Next thing I know Fred is running over with some cups of ice. They sell cups of ice in Japan (later we learned it is for ice coffee) and they were called Party Ice. How convenient! He purchased one for his whiskey and coke mixture for the walk. On our walk, Fred commented on what a good idea to bring to the US! Then we realized that you can buy cups of ice. It was even called Party Ice (later we came to learn the ices are for iced coffees that they sell at convenience stores). Fred was enjoying it on the walk and thought it would be a great idea to sell in the US. We started debating the benefits when we realized that the US sells fountain drinks that you get a free cup of ice with. So then Tyler and I were merciless when teasing Fred about the fact that he paid for a cup of just ice.
At Bar Cooliyo, we were the only people in the bar since it was 7pm. But that gave us some time to overcome the
language barrier since the bartender did not speak any English. We order our first round of drinks and started reminiscing about our trip. Tyler and I were arguing about whether or not we were in the shadow of Mt Fuji. At one point I slipped up and said Mt Earth instead of just Earth, now they won't let me live it down. Somehow we realized that the bar had free WiFi. After going so many days without constant access to the internet we had a little too much fun with YouTube. We went through all the old videos we each enjoyed. I introduced Fred and Tyler to the Harry Potter Ticking time bomb song and to Marcel the shell. We then watched Charlie the unicorn and I explained how the voice in my head was a lot like the two adventurous unicorns. (One more thing they won't let me forget I said). At the end of the night we got our check and were blown away! We spent 780000 yen (~$700)!!! For the next 10 minutes we tried figuring out how we managed that and what we drank. Finally we have up and went to pay. Turns out we mistook
the yen sign as a 7 and really it was only 80,000($80). We were so happy we misunderstood!
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