2019 Year End Trip Day 12

Local time: 12/31/2019 New Years Eve!!

Today was New Year’s Eve. It was an extremely winding and blustery day, however, it was an extremely clear and beautiful day outside, so our Japanese host planned for us a driving tour around the Ito peninsula. But first our morning started off with a healthy breakfast by the lovely Vicky.

After our breakfast, we headed down from the mountain toward the coast.

Living on the mountain was pretty interesting. So everything you bring up, you will have to bring down, this includes all the garbage and recycling. So for this little mountain village, there was a self run community recycling center. Basically, every time we are heading down from the cabin, we would stop by this small building and drop off our trash and recycling materials. We would sort it by things that can be incinerated, recyclable metal, plastics, paper, and cardboards. There was even a swap center right next door.

The weather was so fantastic today that we had a chance to see how the stream looked so beautiful.

And as we get closer to the coast, orange groves were every where, when I everywhere I mean every where. This entire area are famous for their oranges.

As we drove along the coast of Ito peninsula, there are many small towns, I think because of the weather, it was just amazingly beautiful. The water was just so amazingly clear, and this was inside a small fishing harbor. Typically, in a harbor, the water is usually pretty muddy and never so clear that you can see the bottom, but not so here.

Besides, oranges, the costal area are also famous for their big eye fish!

As our journey continues along the coast, we almost immediately stoped again, because there was a free foot onsen. What’s better than a free foot onsen on a beautiful day with friends.

Once our feet were clean and warm, our drive continued. And the coast is just incredible! We stopped at various scenic spots and each time spending more time admiring the incredible ocean view.

As we approach noon, our host tells us that we need to hurry, because we maybe running out of day light. It was so bright out and feels like we still have a lot of time, but our host tells us that we need to cut across the mountain to see the coast on the other side which is even more amazing. So since we had an amazing breakfast, our lunch was at the trusty Seven! Those sandwiches and Pocari Sweat are addictive!!

As we cut through the mountains, I pointed out how amazing those persimmon trees were and our friend yelled to the driver STOP! And she tell me go get some for us!!! I jumped out of the car and ran across the busy traffic, toward the creek and the persimmon tree, hoping to grab a few super ripe fruit. However, once I got next to the trees, I realized that all the low hanger fruits are gone and the rest are not easily reachable. So only the iPhone camera had a feast on these beautiful fruits and I return to car empty handed.

Once we cross the pass and reached the other side, the coast line is truly amazing and surreal.

Before we leave this side of the peninsula, we had to go for our final onsen soak of 2019. This time it’s at a small outdoor public onsen, not a fancy onsen like last week in a ryokan. This onsen only cost us 600 yen per person. But first you walk up these long steps from the parking lot to a tiny shed on the top.

The changing room was tiny, there was barely enough space to change with two adults. Also it made changing really really awkward. Can you imagine striping down naked in front of a stranger arm length away in a small room. Yep… Awkward!!!

However, once you are done and step into the small pool the view was incredible.

The wind today was extremely strong which made it very difficult to keep warm, even with the hot onsen, my head was still very cold from the wind. So after only around 15-20 minutes of soaking I was done.

Our drive back home was long, but it always seems faster on the way back even when you are going on the same path. Because of how comfortable everyone felt after the onsen, everyone was passed out during our drive. Hee hee!

Once we got close to our mountain hide away, it was almost sunset, and our Japanese host, pull out his google translator and said, “ I have one more stop for us, I hope we can make it in time”. We sped up the mountain to this wind farm to watch this amazing last sunset of 2019!!!

When we finally got home, it was time to prepare the end of the year dinner. We had so much seafood and food that we brought up and we had to finish it tonight, since we are heading back to Tokyo tomorrow, there was no point in saving anything.

Our dinner began with fresh oysters. The ones that were not super fresh or I messed up during opening we deep fried.

Our headline dish of course was the big eye red fish, we bought. I cleaned and Vicky cooked the fish.

We also had some amazing sashimi, specifically super fresh maguro (Tuna).

We also cooked up some left over trim from yesterday’s scallops.

Following typically Japanese New Year’s Eve, we had Japanese TV programming running in the background as we drank and ate a fantastic New Years Eve Dinner. Happy New Year !!!! Good bye 2019 and Hello 2020.

After a long night of celebration, I had some few moments of alone time which I wrote my end of year blog post reflecting on 2019. Right before we went to bed, our friend told us to look outside. It was amazingly clear night sky. I have not seen that many stars in many many years. And what is even more amazing was that I was able to capture it with my iPhone.

Happy New Year!!