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Stephen, Mallory, Jeff, Chaz, Dan, Lindsey, Alex, and Hayley have pastries for breakfast that Chaz, Jeff, and Mallory bought at a store and they eat it inside the Airbnb. They also try some sakura mochi. Stephen explains that they will be taking the bullet train to Nagano to visit a ryokan, while Dan, Lindsey, and Hayley head to an art show to meet Shibasaki, a water color artist that Hayley likes to watch on YouTube. Alex stays at the Airbnb due to not feeling well.

At the train platform, Stephen's group buys bentos to eat. Meanwhile, Hayley's group visits a Lush store in an underground mall and then heads to the art gallery, where Hayley gets her art book signed. Afterwards, they decide to eat at Tokyo Station and head back to the Airbnb where they watch some Japanese TV shows.

Stephen's group arrives at Sakudaira station, where they take a bus and then a snowmobile up to the ryokan. They change into yukata. They then discuss where the correct orientation on your waist is to tie an obi and Stephen asks if he can just keep the knot in the middle. Chaz tells Stephen that his way of wearing the obi should be fine and that people will understand because he is a tall white man. They all then head to the onsen. Stephen, Chaz, and Jeff head to an onsen outside and Stephen says that he was able to bring the camera with them because they were the only people in the onsen. Stephen says that the onsen are separated by gender, and while he was undressing there was a cold breeze which caused him to scream. He said that he could hear Mal laughing from her side after hearing him scream.

After they leave the onsen, Jeff remarks that it was truly relaxing, and Mal recounts her amazing experience as well. Back in their room, Stephen awkwardly attempts to sit at the table (he is too large and there is no space). The four head to Chaz and Jeff's room to have green tea and manju. Next, they explore the inside of the ryokan, trying hot spring water on the way. Stephen uses his hand to drink it instead of using the wooden cup and proceeds to spit it out. Jeff is able to drink it and says it "tastes like eggs", but Mal immediately spits it out. They visit a gift shop and Jeff tries a blood pressure machine.

Back at the Airbnb, Hayley recounts how she, Dan, Lindsey, and Alex had taken a nap, then eaten at Kura, a revolving sushi bar. She shows off toys they received from the gachapon at the restaurant. Dan says that his birthday is tomorrow and says that this was a great pre-birthday dinner.

Stephen, Mal, Chaz, and Jeff eat a multiple course set dinner at the ryokan, including hotpot and tempura. Afterwards, Chaz and Jeff visit the indoor onsen while Stephen and Mal return to their room. Stephen talks about how the ryokan has events and that they decided to participate in the star-gazing event. However, the weather was cloudy so they had to cancel the event. Mal writes about their experience in the guestbook, and Stephen explains how he was surprised at all the things they did because he wasn't involved with the trip planning. He says that he will definitely remember this unique experience forever.

NotesEdit

  • A ryokan is a type of traditional Japanese inn that typically feature tatami-matted rooms, communal baths, and other public areas where visitors may wear yukata and talk with the owner.
  • Sakura mochi is a Japanese sweet consisting of sweet pink-colored rice cake with a red bean paste center, and wrapped in a pickled cherry blossom leaf.
  • An obi is a sash that is tied around your waist when you wear a yukata in order to keep your yukata in place
  • Onsen is the Japanese word for a hot spring; the term also extends to cover the bathing facilities and traditional inns frequently situated around a hot spring.
  • Stephen, Mal, Chaz, and Jeff didn't know what many of the dishes they were eating at the ryokan were because the staff didn't know what the English names were for the food
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