Heading for the Hills

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Left for Takayama (高山), a town in Gifu (岐阜) prefecture appropriately named, literally: high mountain. We checked into Hirayu (平湯), a lodge on the side of Norikuratake (乗鞍岳), a 3026 meter mountain in the Japanese Alps.

We got a late start, as usual, because our coordinator is an extremely busy track coach. Even though he finds an assistant to cover for him when he is on vacation, he still goes in to deal with problems the morning we are leaving on trips. We stopped for some special ramen on the way and still arrived early enough to relax in the hot springs (温泉, onsen) before dinner. After dinner our entire party, three men and three women, enjoyed a private bath.

In my original blog, three years ago, someone got the mistaken impression that I had been bathing with naked women. Normally we get naked before using the baths, but there are separate men’s and women’s facilities. However, this time, because we were using a private bath, the men and women could bathe together.

OK, I’ll drop the other shoe: we wore bathing suits.

We had some local sake (酒) over ice while soaking and chatting. It was a very relaxing time. The mountain air was cool, the minerals in the water were entrancing, the rustic structure was endearing, and the light conversation was amusing.

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