Camping Trip

Yesterday, we set out with MIL, SIL, and DIL (dog-in-law) to go camping in Numata.  I know little about Numata in terms of population/altitude/history, etc., but I have been there a few times.  There are some amazing waterfalls, often called mini-Niagara due to the similar shape, ski-slopes, and hot springs.  It’s an hour’s drive by motorway, although to get to and from the motorway can take as long too.  As it’s still in Gunma prefecture, Y often jokes about how it would be if he got a posting there.  I always laugh, but it’s pretty far from a joke to me.  It’s rural.  I mean there is a kind of centre a hike from the railway station, but it’s way away from where we stayed last night.  No shopping mall apart from the one Y and I went shopping at, consisting of a Beisia supermarket (which in all fairness is better stocked than the Fressay we have here, and even has a Baskin Robbins inside), a chemist, and a Beisia “fashion”..hmm, didn’t go inside there…  In terms of exercise, it would have to be sans gym or pool.  I think I would survive in Numata if I had to, but I’d just rather not.  I’m happy being a short drive away from Takasaki centre.  Actually, I recently thought about how lucky we are in this place.  Everything we need, without the fast-pace of Tokyo (even if Tokyo has MORE than you need), lots of beautiful scenery, safe for the children to play out, easy roads, etc. etc., but without too much countryside isolation.  Perfect!

So anyway, rambling again, we arrived at the “bungalow”, which was a two storey house as far as I’m concerned.  There were three floors really, a kind of split level built into the mountain side, so very interesting.  The whole place was lovely, but it was sooooooo badly maintained.  Filthy, in fact.  Now I’m ok with staying somewhere dirty, especially if it’s “camping”, but for the prices they charged, I’d have thought they’d have at least made sure the futons were aired and not damp and that there weren’t dead insects lying on the floor with ants eating them.  That’s just me..maybe others have different ideals.

The receptionist told us that we were the only guests that night.  What?!?!  Shock.  There are about five other little cabins (like a one room with a loft and no toilet/shower inside), two other big bungalows like ours and a huge field for proper hard-core camping.  So here we were, in the mountain-side, in the middle-of-nowhere, and then it rained, and thundered, and got dark.  I started to freak out.  I mostly freaked out internally so as not to get the children worried, but it all seemed too much like a horror film.  Aside from that, the front door was locked with a sliding lock, so if anyone had wanted to get in, it wouldn’t really have taken much!

The children went to bed at a later than usual 8 o’clock, and of course, they didn’t settle for a good while after that.  MIL went up and told them 5 classic Japanese tales, while the rest of us had some drinks, but they continued to run rings around MIL.  Eventually, I went up at around 9:30 and settled them into bed, then lay down with L until the went to sleep (along with me).  When I came downstairs, Y was asleep, MIL in the bath, and SIL a little more than tipsy ;).  So we went off to bed at 10:30, sleeping in bunk beds, which I haven’t done since I was little!  I was surprised to find that I bagsied the bottom bunk, which was a good thing considering what was to come…

Apparently, at 2.a.m., SIL heard some plastic rustling.  She crept downstairs to find L sitting alone at the dining table rustling a bag of oranges..spooky that he was sitting there totally calm, and crazy to think that it had woken her up but not me when she was on the top floor and I was on the ground, next to the living room with the door open!  His crying a little after that woke me up though, so off I went again to sleep in his bed.  And on it went.  I was so paranoid about somebody trying to break in or the children waking up and being frightened, etc., that it was less than a restful night for me!  But all in all, a fun couple of days.  I was VERY glad to see the sun pouring through the curtains!  Lucky thing was that the temperature was a lot cooler, but because I was frightened and the mossies were as big as my fingernail, we kept the windows closed all night!

The following day, we went to explore, but found that the “petting zoo” was a collection of locked hutches which looked as if they hadn’t been cleaned out in months.  And the pony rides entailed 20 minutes of saddling the ponies up, so we decided to give that one a miss!  We were greeted by a huge bee hanging around the front deck.  SIL told me that Y had been stung by a bee when he was small and gone into anaphylactic shock, so maybe he shouldn’t hang around for the second sting, which is supposedly more serious.  He had no memory of this of course, as I berated him for not telling me this earlier.  It’s ok, he replied, it’s a “bear bee” (I’m assuming this is just the japanese name, as google has nothing for me), which supposedly doesn’t sting, but just rips off your flesh and you go into shock from the pain and perhaps never recover.  Hmmmm…that’s erm, better then?

Well of course, we managed to escape the bee, and other nasties, and after a quick tour and meal at a nearby touristy place, we headed off home, where I am now writing this.  With doors that lock, screens with no holes, lights that don’t flicker (except for when I use the iron) and most importantly….air conditioning!  It’s great to go away, but it’s always great to come home too x

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