Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Steamy Weekend

In more ways than one. The weather. The loooooove motels. The hotness of a stone room.

First, the not-so-steamy stuff. On Friday, my not-crazy-at-all gym friend, Izumi, joined me for dinner. She picked the restaurant, an Italian place that I had never been to, and we spent three hours enjoying our meal and talking. The food was oishii and the conversation was nice. We discussed all sorts of things and although I’m not sure if she was following everything I said, it wasn’t awkward and we made a dinner date for next Friday at the other restaurant that she wanted to take me to. A successful first date (and things weren't strange between us at the gym today. Ha.)...

Izumi mentioned that she forgot her camera but wanted to do “Print Club.” You all know that I’m never one to refuse print club! She said she hasn’t been in a booth for two years and as we scoured Mihama for the best shots, we found a bit of a Print Club Mecca with scissors for cutting apart your pictures at various stations, about 20 different booths, costumes to wear for your pictures if you’re so inclined. We picked the shiny booth that was “New Model” and jumped in. I was so happy to see that Izumi struggled with what exactly was supposed to be happening as well! I thought it was just my total lack of Japanese skills. We took some of the best shots that I’ve done and had a blast trying to figure out all the menus.

(Sorry I can't take a better photo of photos)

Today at the gym, she said that she had "so much fun with Print Club!" It was apparently the highlight of her weekend. I thought it was going to be the highlight of mine as well …. until…

On Saturday, Bridgit and I decided to take hold of destiny and make our weekend worth something for once. So because it wasn’t terribly sunny, we decided to finally hit the Love Hotel Valley in Okinawa City. Obviously, Bridgit and I weren’t in it for a romantic rendezvous. We just wanted some sort of crazy Hello Kitty themed room with a big hot tub. We grabbed some snacks, had our bathing suits, and some magazines to lounge around and look at. The love motel business is described nicely here. Essentially a lot of generations live under one roof and well, you can use your imagination as to why people might visit these hourly hotels. You can either get a “rest rate” for two hours or if you show up late at night, you can pay a nightly fee which is usually cheaper than an actual hotel.

So here’s how things happen:

First, you pick your hotel. We drove the valley and were deciding between a pirate theme, carnival, or 2001 astronaut theme. Inspired by Johnny Depp, we zigzagged our way to the giant submarine pirate building.

You pick a garage and pull your car into the spot. At this place, you pick up a phone and say what room you are checking into and then the garage door closes (with material to block your license plate number). You walk a short little hallway up to your room. The door mysteriously opens as you walk in and there you go, your own little retreat.

We were so disappointed, because the bath was only big enough for one person (although it did have jets) and the room was really nice! We didn’t want nice! We wanted swashbucklers, eye patches, and “Ahoy, mateys!” Bridgit called the front desk and somehow convinced them to let us leave without paying for the room. They opened the door to let us back out and then the garage. (You have to pay before you are allowed access to the car.)

Our next stop was the carnival one. Surely, with crazy clown signs and elephants and seals, there would be some sort of theme room.

This place was creepy from the get-go and despite the whole front desk anonymity thing, Bridgit got a lady to give us a room with a big tub for cheap. We walked in and ummm… well…. I don’t know how to describe this room except to say that there were no clowns, no lion tamers… only a ton of diseases crawling around an absolutely decrepit room. The tub was big, but no jets and also quite creepy. So we soaked in the experience for about 20 minutes, paid our dues, and took off giggling at all the craziness we had run into. Who cares if we never exactly found a theme room. We’ve done the love hotel thing and it was hot.

While we were sitting in the room, trying not to touch anything, we planned our next course of action. We decided that even though we didn’t have the directions with us, we would try to find Thai Med and have some hot stone therapy. By some miracle, we found the place and for only 1200 yen, I was treated to a relaxing afternoon at a spa. The basis of the treatment is that you lie down on hot stones that have some sort of infrared radiation that is completely safe (and apparently is a cure-all, including preventing cancer and relieving costiveness (whatever that is)! Score!). There is steam pumped into the room with some relaxing music (although the politicians outside on bullhorns seeped through at times). You face down for five minutes, flip and do your back for 10-15 minutes, go outside to drink water and eat some Okinawan sugar, and then head back in for another cycle. I did the whole thing four times in 90 minutes. And you sweat. And sweat. And sweat. Your outfit weighs 20 pounds more by the time you’re done excreting all the water in your body. You can feel a constant stream of sweat and the pores literally being opened on your face. It was amazing. After I finished my time, I needed to wait for Bridgit (who got a very personal lymph node massage) and enjoyed the best tea ever. I was completely relaxed. Fantastic. Check it off the list. (We found a spa near my apartment with pedicures, massages, etc. and plan to hit it after payday this week. Also, according to Izumi, the gym has a hot stone room downstairs that I can use if I pay a bit more.)

And that brings us to today. I’m not scheduled for any trysts, unless you count chilling with McSteamy, and am just sitting indoors enjoying the torrential downpours and thunder. Perfectly suited for my relaxed self. That hot stone stuff must work miracles. Ahhhh....


Anonymous said...

Instead of going to the spa me and laura decided to put up a fence. Talk about sweating bullets. We did put some hot and dirty stones around the flower garden :-P

Side note I wonder what happens when you get 10,000 viewers?


Rachel said...

Ummm... I think you win a free night at the Carnival love motel.

Carly said...

Wow. In regard to getting diseases, I think those love hotels are second to sleeping with prostitutes in 3rd world countries.

However, the spa sounded lovely. Getting a facial is on my list of 101 Things.

Lisa said...

The photo thing actually looks like a ton of fun ... too bad Americans are probably too self conscious for it to ever catch on big time here. :(