Kanto Maigo – Day 2

Maybe it’s the time difference, I woke up fairly early, the world outside had only just begun to lighten with a shallow blue. The original plan for breakfast was to check out then go to Sushisei in Tokyo station’s Gransta. That opens at 7 which was still over an hour away. I decided to grab an onigiri and enjoy it with some coffee in the lobby.

 

或許是時差吧,比往常更早醒,外頭才慢慢揭開淡藍薄紗。原本計畫要等退房後去東京車站的Gransta吃壽司清的。那家要7點才開,還要一個多小時。我於是下樓買了個飯團在大廳配咖啡吃。

Picking a riceball at Lawson

 

Global Cabin lobby

 

Global Cabin provides many mangas

After an enjoyable light breakfast I headed upstairs to pack up my things, reorganize items such as moving the inflight reading book into the suitcase.

 

享用過簡單的早餐後我上樓整理行李,把一些像飛機上看的書這些不需要的東西收到行李箱內。

 

My jacket was nowhere to be found.

 

As Tokyo was not warmer than expected, I had not worn my jacket yet and it was still bundled in its special bag, almost like a rolled up mini-sleeping bag.

 

遍尋不著我的外套。

 

東京比預期的暖,還沒穿過我的外套所以外套還裝在專屬的袋子裏,捲成一捆像睡袋似。

 

When did I lose it?

 

I searched the cabin, then the floor, then the lobby. The jacket was nowhere to be found.

 

什麼時候不見得?

 

我找了客艙,整層樓,大聽。都看不到外套的蹤影。

 

Panic set in. Kusatsu Onsen was high up in the mountains, the temperatures was in the single digits and might even be below zero at night. I had better find that jacket or I would have to buy a replacement. At least Uniqlo was everywhere, it was a problem that could be solved with money, albeit an expensive one.

 

這下有點慌了。草津溫泉可是在高山上,溫度只有個位數,晚上甚至可能到零下。若找不到的話勢必要買一個新的。至少Uniqlo到處都是,算花錢可以解決的問題,雖然很貴。

 

I asked the front desk if anyone had found a jacket. No one had. Someone might have taken it but it seemed like it would be a silly thing to steal. I checked out all the same and decided to check outside, backtracking my path from the station last night.

 

我問櫃檯有沒有人看到外套。沒有。有可能被人拿走了,但外套又沒什麼好偷的。我還是先辦理退房然後到外頭看看,循昨晚來旅館的路徑找去。

 

The streets looked very different in the day, hard to tell if I was looking at the same streets so I sweeped an extra one or two to be sure. Nothing was found.

 

白天裡街道看起來很不一樣,很難確定昨晚走的是不是同一條。以防萬一我多走了一兩條街。還是沒找到。

 

At this point I was sure I had lost it between the station and Global Cabin, since I had a vague memory of adjusting the straps tying it to the backpack before getting on the train at Shinagawa and if I had lost it on the train other passengers were sure to call out.

 

這時我可確認我是在車站到Global Cabin中間掉的,有個印象在品川上電車前我還調整過把外套綁在背包上的提帶。若在電車上掉的一定有人會喊一聲。

 

I ran back to the Cabin front desk and asked them if it’s better if I ask nearby convenience stores or check with the police. The police, was the reply, and they pointed me to a police post by the station.

 

我跑回Global Cabin問櫃檯若是這樣我該問附近便利商店還是警察。問警察,他們回答道,同時跟我指說車站附近有個交番。

 

The police station was located in front of the station, at the corner of the main street and the bus loop. I walked up to them and explained to them that I had lost my jacket and described my jacket to them.(I had called mom to confirm the brand of the jacket)

 

交番就在車站前,公車圓環跟主街的交叉路口。我上前跟他們解釋我掉了外套,還有外套長什麼樣子。(跟媽聯絡過確認外套的廠牌)

The police post before Gotanda station


In retrospect, my Japanese had really improved enough that I could explain the situation without looking up words and speak pre-translating from English in the head.

 

現在回想,我的日文無意中進步到可以直接跟他們解釋狀況,不用預先查字典或在腦中思考英文該怎麼翻成日文。

 

They asked me about the jacket’s appearance, when I lost it. They nodded when I mentioned the jacket’s brand. A good sign.

 

他們詢問了外套的外觀,我何時掉的。我提到外套廠牌時他們點了點頭。好跡象。

 

Someone did bring in something similar to what I was describing, they said, but it was not there.

 

Wait, they found it but it was not there? I was thoroughly confused and my heart dropped.

 

的確有人拿來類似形容的東西給他們。他們這麼說。但是不在這裡。

 

哈,找到了但不在這?真是把我弄糊塗了,浮上的心又沉了下。

 

One of the policeman gestured for me to follow him out. He pointed to a map on the giant board nearby. Someone did bring it in, and they had sent it on to the main Osaki police station, I would have to go there to pick it up.

 

其中一位警官招手要我跟他出去。他指向一旁的地圖看板。的確有人拿來,但是他們已經把東西痛到大崎警察局去了,我必須去那裡取回。

 

I was relieved. The trip was going to be delayed but it looked like I was going to get my jacket back. I thanked the policemen and they fared me well, wishing me to take care.

 

放心了。行程會有所耽擱但看來外套是能找回來了。我向兩位警察道謝。他們也跟我道別,要我路上小心。

 

Osaki police station was about 10 minutes walk from Gotanda station. There was a policeman standing on duty outside and after explaining, he pointed me to the second floor.

 

大崎警察局離五反田車站走路10分鐘遠。外頭有個警察站崗,聽我解釋後他指引我到二樓。

 

Inside, I was asked to fill in some forms and waited for them to bring out the jacket. There were some confusion because apparently my jacket had been brought in with another bag full of things which they assumed belonged to the same person. They had to call the police post to double check whether the person who brought them in said the jacket was found with the bag or near the bag.

 

在局內,他們給了我一些表格填寫,等他們把外套拿出來。出了些亂,原來我的外套是跟另一袋東西一起送來的,他們於是誤以為是同一個人掉的。他們聯絡交番確認撿到的人是說外套跟袋子一起撿到的還是只是在附近撿到的。

 

I was asked to check the jacket to confirm it was mine. The strap of the jacket’s bag had snapped which must be why it fell off the backpack.

 

他們請我確認外套內容。外套袋子的提帶斷了,怪不得會從背包上掉下來。

 

After about 30 minutes, I finally left happy with my jacket in hand. I returned to Gotanda and thanked the policemen at the patrol post, then resumed my planned day.

 

大概花了30分鐘,我終於高興的抱著外套走出警察局。我回五反田的交番謝過那裡的警察後,重新開始一天的計畫。

 

It wasn’t such a bad experience. The lost and found in Japan was as legendary as people said. Still, best take extra care going forward.

 

有這經歷也不壞。日本遺失物找回真如傳說的一樣。不過,往後還是多多小心吧。

 

It was by now after 8:30 and way behind schedule. I had not had breakfast yet and I had not bought my rail pass either. I was definitely going to miss the direct express from Ueno to Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi. The best hope was skipping breakfast and see how much time I could make up by taking the shinkansen to Takasaki.

 

現在已經過8:30了,進度超落後。而且還沒正式吃早餐,也還沒買鐵路周遊卷。從上野直達長野原草津口的班車是絕對趕不上了。最好的方法是省略早餐,看坐新幹線到高崎能搶回多少時間。

 

I got my pass at Tokyo station at the JR East tour office at the Marunouchi north exit. Unfortunately looked like I was going to miss the shinkansen train by a few minutes that would have allowed me to catch up to the Kusatsu express at Takasaki. I checked the connections timetable. Was not too bad, I would have to take the local train from Takasaki to Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi and arrive about 30 minutes later than I would have with the express.

 

我在東京車站丸之內北口的東日本旅遊中心買了pass。可惜幾分鐘前剛錯過能在高崎趕上特急列車的新幹線。我確認了一下轉乘時刻表。還不算太糟,從高崎搭區間車只會比沒趕上的特急慢30分鐘到長野原草津口。

Marunouchi North

The shinkansen train was a soon to be phased out E4 series, the only double decker shinkansen train type.

 

The E4 train was being phased out because it was old and too slow compared to the E7 on the Hokuriku line which shared some of the tracks. An accidental luck that I managed to ride the double decker before it was gone.

 

搭的新幹線是快要退休的E4型列車,唯一有雙層的新幹線車型。

 

E4列車被淘汰是因為太舊,跟共用一部分路線的新式E7列車比慢太多。能剛巧在退休前搭到這種雙層列車真是太好了。

E4 train

 

E4 stairway

 

The train definitely had an aged feel to it. The lighting was not as bright and the seat cushions a little faded. Because of the double decking the vestibule area felt crowded, cramming in an elevator for the onboard service trolleys and stairs heading up and down.

 

這車果然感覺就很舊。燈光不是很亮,坐墊也有點褪色。由於雙層的原故上車處相當擁擠,需要塞入升降販賣推車的電梯和連結上下層的樓梯。

 

Originally I headed downstairs as there were less people, then I thought it there were still seats, why not go upstairs to enjoy the better view. That was one advantage with the double deck, the upper deck offered a high vantage point often over the sound barriers by the tracks.

 

原本我往比較沒人的下層走,然後才想到反正有位子何不坐視野比較好的上層。雙層車廂的好處就是上層提供了很棒的制高點,不會被軌道旁的隔音板導到。

 

After Omiya when the buildings begins to thin out, I noticed a small white peak in the distance. It was Mount Fuji. Even if Hakone failed to give a clear view of the mountain, I can say I have once seen the great Mount Fuji.

 

過了大宮後擁擠的大樓慢慢變稀少,在遠方可看到一個小小白色山峰。是富士山。就算箱根那天天氣不好被雲擋住,這次也可說看過富士山。

Mount Fuji from the shinkansen

There was almost 30 minutes transfer time at Takasaki. The station was smaller and basic than expected despite being the junction of the Hokuriku and Joetsu shinkansen lines. Had expected something closer to Okayama. (Okayama actually sees twice as much traffic than Takasaki so what was seen was appropriate, really shows how sparse the population in eastern Japan gets once outside of the Kanto area)

 

在高崎轉車要等快30分鐘。車站意外的簡易,原本想北陸和上越新幹線交叉的車站應該會更熱鬧一點,類似岡山站那樣。(岡山站的使用人數其實是高崎的兩倍,所以這樣的車站大小其實差不多,可見在關東外人口有多稀少)

 

It would be past 12 by the time the local train gets to Kusatsu and I only had a single onigiri for breakfast. I grabbed a drink and an eki-ben to eat on the way.

 

區間車要過12點才會到草津,而早上到現在才吃那麼一個飯糰。我買了一罐飲料和一個便當準備在車上吃。

 

The stationed sold daruma shaped eki-bens. Takasaki was home to the famous Daruma temple which I planned on visiting on the way back.

 

車站裡有賣達摩形狀的便當。高崎是有名的達摩寺的所在地,預期回程時會去參拜。

Bento shop Takasaki

A surprising number of people boarded the train. Even well past the small township dotted rural areas there were still a quarter of the people left on board. Guess there were just that many people headed for Kusatsu.

 

上車的人意外的多。就算過了小村點綴的田野後車上依然剩四分之一的乘客。要去草津的人就是這麼多吧。

 

The view outside reminded of when I went to Yamadera. Steep mountain valleys of red and orange basked in a golden light. Occasionally a few homesteads popped into view across the river before the train disappeared into narrow tunnels.

 

外頭的景色讓我想起去山寺那次。紅色橘色的陡峭山谷沈浸在金色陽光下。偶爾可看到有莊園在河對岸,電車進入山洞一閃就不見了,

Hello Kitty daruma bento

 

Bento. Taste is okay, may have needed some pickles to refresh the taste.

90 minutes later the train finally arrived at Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi. Almost 3 hours since departing from Tokyo and there was still some way to go. There was still another 25 minutes bus ride from here to Kusatsu Onsen. Scores of passengers streamed through the station and onto the connecting bus.

 

90分鐘後終於來到長野原草津口。從東京出發已經是3小時前的事,到目的地依然還有好一段路。還要坐25分鐘巴士到草津溫泉。二三十名乘客魚貫穿過車站踩上等待著的巴士。

 

The bus accepted suica which I used. One could also take a boarding token and pay on disembarking. The bus had undercar storage so luggages are no problem.

 

巴士可以用西瓜卡所以就用了。也可以拿乘車卷等下車再付現。車下有行李空間不用擔心車上放不下。

 

After winding through the mountains, the bus finally pulls into Kusatsu bus terminal. On automatic mode, I followed the others to the Yubatake, the famous onsen field that flowed through the middle of town. I had walked the length of it before realizing I had been looking at the map the wrong way. The bus terminal was on the same side of the Yubatake as my hotel which meant I had walked way past it already.

 

穿過彎曲的山路,巴士終於駛入草津巴士站。我在自動模式下跟著其他人往湯畑走去,那個小鎮中央有名的溫泉廣場。我都快走到另一頭時才意識到我地圖方向弄反了。巴士中心跟旅館是在湯畑的同一側,也就是說我已經錯過了。

 

Grumpily I dragged my luggage back up the road.

 

我氣呼呼的拖著行李回頭走上坡。

 

My stay in Kusatsu was Futabaya. A small hotel with a special focus on catering to foreigners (I chose it only because it’s close to the yubatake). It was early however and only the owner was there, a slightly grumpy old man who had thought I had showed up expecting to check-in. His tone improved when I told him in Japanese I just wanted to leave my luggage there.

 

在草津住的是Futabaya。一個有特別針對外國旅客的小旅館(但選他只是因為離湯畑近)。還很早,只有旅館老闆在,一個脾氣有點硬的老頭,以為我來是想現在就辦理入住。我跟他說我只是想把行李放著後他態度馬上好多了。

Futabaya

Time to hit the onsen town streets. Since I did not intend to visit the onsens till after check-in (obviously), I took the opportunity to check out the Yubatake and many shops lining the nearby streets.

 

可以去逛溫泉街囉!在入住前我沒打算去泡溫泉(當然了),剛好用這時間看看湯畑和兩旁的商店。

 

Kusatsu could be described as the postcard onsen town. Even its layout was perfect, I could not tell whether this was by design or very good fortune of geography. The town was of course centred by the Yubatake which was a long oval dividing the town into roughly 4 directions. Top (where the source of the onsen pours forth), down (where the onsen pours in a magnificent waterfall into the pool below) and left side, right side.

 

草津可說是最典型的溫泉小鎮。連小鎮的分佈也很完美,不知道是特意設計的或是地勢上運氣好。由湯畑為中心小鎮可分為四個區塊。上側(溫泉源頭),下(溫泉水瀑布般落至下方水池),然後左,右。

 

At the top was a large open courtyard sits the community onsen Sirohatanoyu, the imposing public onsen Gozanoyu. At one end of the courtyard a flight of steep steps lead to a shrine on top of a hill which provided excellent view of the town.

 

上側是個廣場,有社區公共溫泉的白旗之湯和大眾溫泉御座之湯,廣場一端有一陡峭台階通往丘陵上的神社,可俯視整個小鎮。

Shirohata onsen source

Onsen source flowing down through the channels in the Yubatake

Shirohata public onsen

 

View from the shrine

On the left side was a footbath and rows of shops in traditional looking housing.

 

在左側有足湯和一排傳統式建築的店面。

Foot bath

Shops around yubatake

From the bottom the main road leads out to the other many community onsens dotted throughout Kusatsu.

 

從下方的主要道路可通到草津特有的無數社區公共溫泉。

Yubatake onsen channels

Yubatake waterfall

To the right was the Netsunoyu where the traditional Yumomi performances was performed (more on that later), and a very well situated 7-11. There were other convenience stores in Kusatsu (there’s a Lawson opposite the bus centre), though in more out the way locations. Between the Netsunoyu and 7-11 leads the main onsen street to Sai no Kawara park and open air onsen.

 

往右是表演傳統湯舞的熱乃湯(之後再細說)還有一個享有天獨厚位置的7-11。草津鎮上還有幾家便利商店(巴士中心對面就有家Lawson),但都偏外圍。在熱乃湯和7-11中間就是通往西之河原公園和露天溫泉的主溫泉街。

 

It was very well laid out, the streets were compact giving a cozy feeling. The constant steam from the onsens whirled and danced in the cold air, ever changing. The Yubatake was a sight to behold and could be viewed from many angles. The onsen street to Sai no Kawara was not long but packed with all kind of interesting shops, sweets, grills, manju (steamed bun), souvenirs, traditional crafts. In comparison Yufuin had way more shops and variety, however because they tended to be more modern and fashionable they lacked a sort of cohesive charm.

 

整個小鎮切分的很好,窄小的街道給人很溫馨的感覺。溫泉散出的蒸氣在冷空氣中飛旋飄蕩,無一刻停住。壯觀的湯畑從各個角度看都給人不同的感覺。到西之河原的溫泉街不長卻塞滿了各式有趣的小店,甜點,碳烤,饅頭,手工藝品。相較之下由布院店家多,種類也更多,但是趨於現代感少了一致性的討喜感。

 

Yufuin’s onsens were also all hidden away in the hotels and ryokans, there were barely any public baths, felt more like a resort than a traditional onsen. In Kusatsu the presence of onsen permeates its every stone and wood.

 

由布院的溫泉也都在飯店旅館內,幾乎沒有公共溫泉,比傳統溫泉來說更像渡假地。在草津,每一石一木都透露著溫泉的存在。

 

It was snowing lightly. The woods and roofs were covered in a thin layer of frost, the weather did nothing to dampen the spirits. The streets were busy, filled with tourists and air of excitement.

 

天飄著薄雪。樹林和屋頂上覆蓋著一層薄霜,即便這樣寒冷的天氣無法澆熄人們的興致。街道滿是觀光客和興奮的氣氛。

 

I went back and up to the bus terminal where the community library was also located. In the library was a section detailing the history of Kusatsu and how onsen is tied to the town’s development.

我走回到巴士中心內的社區圖書館。圖書館內有講解草津的歷史和小鎮溫泉的發展。

Bus center

 

Library, showing the effect of the strong acidic onsen on concrete and metals

Wooden onsen pipe

Then proceeded to walk the length of the onsen street to Sai no Kawara Park, then went fooding on the way back. There was plenty of food to try if I wanted, but I settled on the onsen egg and pudding. One of the manju shop was generous enough to offer every passerby a freshly steamed manju, a cup of green tea, and a welcomed seat inside the shop. That earned them a lot of customers.

 

然後走溫泉主接到西之河原後再沿路邊吃邊走回來。想要的話能吃的很多,不過我只選擇了溫泉蛋和布丁。其中一家饅頭店慷慨的給經過的旅客一人一個饅頭一杯綠茶,還在店內提供座椅。這招吸引了很多顧客。

Onsen street

Shop in onsen street

 

Grilled fish

Cooking onsen egg outside the shop

Pickle shop

Sai no Kawara park

Statue at Sainokawara park

Giant onsen footbath

 

Sai no Kawara park

 

Onsen egg

 

Pudding

Pudding shop

 

Shop selling rice crackers

Onsen street

 

It’s soon time to check in. The front desk was attended by what looked to be a young man from the middle east or southeast asia, who spoke decent enough english, one of the foreign workers that Japan is feverishly recruiting to make tourism more welcoming to foreigners. He handed me a discount voucher to various baths and shops (every accomodation in Kusatsu give out these to guests) a map of the town and recommended some of the onsen baths to me.

 

很快的到了入住的時間。櫃檯後是一個中東或東南亞來的年輕人,講的英文不是太好但足夠了,現在日本觀光產業正積極召集外國員工來提升對外國旅客的服務。他給了我一張溫泉和商店的折價卷(草津的住宿應該都會發這張)還有小鎮的地圖,推薦幾個他覺得不錯的溫泉。

 

He also gave me a bag containing a bottle of juice, a yoghurt and two pieces of bread, what was described as a “light breakfast” so they could qualify as providing breakfast on the booking websites. Would have rather they lopped 500Y off the price and I’d buy what I wanted from the 7-11.

 

他又另外給了我一個塑膠袋,裡頭裝有一瓶果汁,優格和兩個麵包,勉強稱為輕早餐。這樣他們在訂房網上就算符合有提供早餐了。其實我寧可他們房價便宜500Y我自已去7-11買我要的。

 

Futabaya was not what I would consider a proper hotel, instead it had a bed&breakfast feel to it. The room was above average size but decidedly bare bones, there was a desk but no reading lamp, the small fridge and kettle was simply placed on an slightly raised section of the room. (Feels like it used to be a Japanese style room before being converted with a western style bed)

 

對我而言Futabaya算不上真正的旅館,比較像是民宿。房間算大但配備簡單。有張桌子但沒有檯燈,小冰箱和燒水壺就放在房間一個稍微墊高的區域上而以。(有點像原本是和室後來改裝成西式)

 

They did provide two sets of towels, a set of yukata and a handbag for easy carrying. A much appreciated offering. I changed into the yukata and headed out to the onsen.

 

旅館有提供兩套毛巾,一套浴衣還有一個方便攜帶的提袋,這點很體貼。我換過浴衣出門去泡湯。

 

In the lobby there was another group of foreigners checking in. They were thoroughly confused when they saw me in the yukata. Did they have to wear them to go to then onsen? they asked. Only if they wanted to, the young man attending the front desk told them. But it’s much more convenient if you wear them, I added.

Futabaya room

大廳內有另一批外國人正在辦理入住。他們看到我穿浴衣露出困惑的表情。他們去泡湯時也必須那樣穿嗎,他們問。若你們想要的話,櫃檯的年輕人跟他麼說。不過穿浴衣比較方便,我加道。

 

My first stop was the Shirohata no Yu, the one in the main square and also the closest one to the hotel.

 

第一站就是白旗之湯,就在廣場,離旅館也最近。

 

Entry is free, the bath is maintained by the Kusatsu town community. The place was tiny, in the peak season this place had to be packed. In the small rustic wooden building there were barely any divisions between the entrance, the changing area and the bathing area. There was no need for any heaters in the changing space because of the constant steam pouring over from the baths.

 

免費入場,這是草津鎮自己維護的公共溫泉。地方很小,旺季時一定比下餃子還可怕。小小古老的木建築內幾乎沒有任何隔間區分入口,脫衣和泡湯區。脫衣區不需要暖氣,光是不斷從溫泉池滾滾而來的蒸氣就夠了。

 

There were 3 baths, each large enough to maybe sit 5-6 people. There were no showering area, before entering the bath one was expected to fetch water from the baths into a bucket then wipe down the body with a towel (which you must bring yourself). No soaps.

 

有三個池子,每個大概夠坐5-6個人。沒有淋浴區,進入池子前用舀一桶水然後自己用小毛巾把身體擦乾淨(毛巾自己帶)。沒有肥皂。

 

The onsen water was hot. The hottest I had ever experienced. According to the descriptions, because the source water in Kusatsu are so hot, some as high as over 90 degrees, most of the baths also tend to be quite hot. A few minutes was all I could stand at a time before getting out of the water.

 

溫泉水好熱。這是我見識過最熱的溫泉。根據介紹,由於草津的溫泉水湧出溫度超高,有的超過90度,大部分的湯池也偏熱。每次只能在水裡坐上幾分鐘就耐不住需要起來冷卻一下。

 

When I got back to the hotel the staff told me that Shirohata was actually one of the hottest bath around, the map he gave me actually had a hotness rating next to each bath.

 

回去後旅館的人才告訴我白旗是最熱的湯之一,給我的地圖上其實每個溫泉湯龐都有標示熱度。

 

It was nearing nighttime and I head out to get something to eat from the 7-11. There were some food places around, I just got lazy again.

 

After dinner I got out of the yukata. It was getting cold and snowing and there was no hanten provided for warmth.

 

差不多晚上了,我在7-11買了吃的回房間吃。附近有別的食堂餐廳但是我懶得去找了。

 

晚餐後我把浴衣換下。氣溫越來越冷,雪也越下越大,旅館沒有附半纏可穿在浴衣外禦寒。

Dinner, some kind of noodle with soup

One thing that was very different about Kusatsu was how late the shops open. The main onsen street still had saw activity up till about 6pm, the shops around the yubatake area opened till 9pm, there was plenty of time to wander around and visit the shops even if one arrived late in the afternoon. Bus loads of people who stayed at hotels on the outskirts were being dropped off in the square, the illuminated yubatake elicited many impressed sounds from them.

 

草津與其他地方不一樣的一點是他的店開得很晚。溫泉主街到6點前都還人來人往,湯畑周邊的店開到9點,就算是下午比較晚到到也還有很充足的時間悠閒逛街。一車車交通車把住外圍旅館的住客送到溫泉廣場前下車,湯畑在照射燈下不斷引來驚喜的呼聲。

 

The yubatake was a marvelous sight to behold at night. The colours changed every so often, shining through and reflecting off the dancing steam. The whole square was awash in contrasting lights and shadows, almost magical.

 

晚上的湯畑如夢如幻。每一段時間燈光顏色會變換,穿照,反射過飄舞的蒸氣。整個廣場灑滿鮮明的色彩和影子,如闖入了魔法國都。

Yubatake in twilight

Yubatake at night

 

Yubatake at night

 

Yubatake at night

I grabbed a hot coffee from the 7-11 and sat down outside a souvenir shop, beneath its eaves. Watching the light snow flicker in the spotlight against the dark skies, observing the crowd passing by. feeling the cold breeze and the warmth of the coffee.

 

我買了杯7-11咖啡,在一家特產店的屋簷下的椅子坐下。看著雪花映著漆黑的天空在燈光投射下飄閃,看著來去的人們,感受冷風和咖啡的溫。

 

It was a shame it took me this long to come here. And I wished I did not come alone.

 

現在才來真是太可惜了。若有別人一起跟著來就更好了。

 

The Sai no Kawara park was similarly lit up. Here it had an almost ethereal feel, almost would be a little creep if there weren’t the sparse bath goers heading to and from the Sai no Kawara onsen bath.

 

西之河原也同樣有打燈。這裡的感覺有點虛幻,若不是有零星來往露天溫泉的泡湯客,可能還會有點詭異。

Sainokawara at night

Sainokawara at night

They might have chose this presentation because of the legends of the onis (demons). It was said that the sounds of the bubbling hot springs were mistaken to be the sound of oni playing sumo wrestling.

 

會有這樣的設計可能跟在地的惡鬼傳說有關吧。傳說溫泉冒出泡泡的聲響被人們誤以為是惡鬼在玩相撲。

 

There was a small flight of steps that led to a path on top of the ridge going to the other side of the park. At this time of day there were no one else on the trail, it was covered in snow and I left a clear trail of foot prints. The paths was lit by a line of lights that were broken at intervals. The story of the snow witch from the Kendaichi manga for some reason flooded the mind, in which people stranded in a snow storm were brutally hacked to bits by a machete wielding snow demon.

 

公園中有一小段階梯連結山脊上的一條小徑,通往公園另一頭。這時間小徑上空無一人,白雪覆蓋的路徑上只有我走過留下清楚的腳印。小徑由中途壞了幾處的一串小燈照明。金田一漫畫裡的故事情節不知為何湧入腦海,被暴風雪困住的人們被持柴刀的雪女一一剁成肉塊。

The desolate trail

I decided to turn back. There might be bears about. Definitely not because of the possibility of snow demons.

 

我決定還是回頭好了。有可能會有熊出沒。可不是因為什麼雪女的。

Saino kawaraat night

Sainokawara at night

My camera’s battery was almost flat at this point, the shops in the square was also closing up. The last of the tourists were getting on the last shuttle buses to go back to their hotels. I decide to also call it a day.

 

我的相機電池已經閃紅線了,廣場的店家也準備打烊了。最後一批旅客也正排隊上車回去旅館,我也就此結束這一天。

 

Yubatake at night

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