Monday, December 26, 2011


Under normal circumstances I avoid buffets: there are too many tempting desserts; all that exercise walking around fetching platefuls of food; and you end up eating strange combinations such as Chinese food with beef stew. Vacation is not normal circumstances and so I find that the buffet here at the ski resort is perfect. It offers variety which runs the gamete to feed the spaghetti soba coffee jelly eating Mule to the tempura vegetable fried steak eating Mama with a side of beer.

I don't know where we can ski in the States that can offer the pleasures of snow, food, and such a cool pool as is here in Tomamu. The pool is for the kids, but the onsen attached to the pool is for all. It is such a strange thing to walk outside naked in the snow and plunk into hot water. It was so steamy I couldn't see in front of me for several minutes. As I neared the edge of the onsen, the trees bearing snow appeared and the dark sky was clear save for a twinkling star. I don't think we have this kind of place in America- if it exists, I need to find it.

What is it about water that makes us feel so much better? Is it because we crawled out of primordial soup way back in the gene pool?

Heat is a lovely thing as well. Since we've begun using the kerosene heater in our amazingly cold house here in Japan, I have noticed that I sleep and feel better. Today while we were skiing, the Mule, who was wanting to leave, made a beeline to warm up by the fire as we neared the firehut thus prolonging our time on the mountain.

The elements of life are so simple. We need to return to fire and water in daily life more often instead of our electronic gizmos of flickering light and our quick dosing of water in the morning shower. In Japan, bathing is an art. Though I may freeze my toes off in my house in winter, I have also deepend my appreciation of bathing for a lifetime.

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