OPERATION: DOWNFALL (The Invasion of Japan for Otaku Purposes [aka ODTIJOP])


Anywhoozles, the bus driver dropped us all off at the lake that we had passed earlier, and the pirate ship was still there! I started to get very excited over the possibility, but Mehve kept saying, "No! No, Rossman. No! Just get that thought out of your head right now." But then my dreams came true when Fish-san made a bee-line for the most excellently cheezy pirate ship that I was already in love with. I didn't say a word. I just smiled like the Cheshire Cat to Mehve and ran for the boarding plank. Then I met a Japanese pirate on board and named him Captain Fake Boots McCheezy Beard because his costume was cheaper than anything you'd find at Party City, and the Japanese man behind the super lame beard was loving the shit out of his job! Photo ops with McCheezy Beard were like $30 American though, and fuck that shit.

The boat trip around the lake was okay, but except for one large Torii sticking out of the water near the end, not that interesting. I did bang my head upon the low ceiling in the pirate ship again (this time for a small concussion), but that was the most notable thing that occurred while we were "at sea."

We made it to the other side of Lake Alkali, and the bus was there already to pick us up and take most of the tour back to Tokyo... But not Mehve and I! We reminded the dying Fish-san that we were to be left at some drop-off point so that a van from the hot springs hotel we were staying at that night could pick us up. He almost collapsed while raising his hand to give us the "Okay" sign.

Hakone pirate ship.

How goddamn awesome is that! A pirate ship tour in Japan under the watchful gaze of Mount Fuji. My life is complete.


Panty machines hooooooo!

Japanese pirates just have their minds in the gutter.... Well, I guess that's true of ALL pirates now that I think about it.

Once again, I tried to crop them out as best I could, but look at all the weird people just staring at me and taking my picture while I posed with Pirate-san. What the fuck? If you think it's funny what I'm doing, people (and you shouldn't, it's retarded), then why not just pose in a similar picture yourselves? What, are you going to show a picture of a tall white stranger posing with a fiberglass pirate on a lake in Japan to all your friends at home? Yeah, that'll impress them!


Me and Jack

I'm sure that I had 20 people behind and below me taking my picture for this pose too. Fucking weirdos.


Hakone torii

The only real interesting site on the lake tour: a pretty cool torii sitting out in the water. That is all.

We drove up another small, windy, country, mountain road for a few minutes, and then the bus just stopped in the middle of the road and the driver jumped down, opened the under-carriage, and yanked out Mehve's and my suitcases before we understood what was happening. There was nothing around us, not even a bus stop.The dying Fish-san mimed that we were to get out, so we waved good-bye to all of our new friends and hopped off the bus. Before the tour bus zoomed away, the onsen hotel's van swerved around the bend and almost ran us over before screeching to a halt inches from our feet. The driver flew out of the vehicle, threw our shit in, and tried to shove us in the back seats, but Mehve and I had something that we had to do first.

Before they could shut the tour bus door on us, I ran back into it and asked Fish-san for the honor of getting his photo with us, and then Mehve and I propped him up between us like Weekend at Bernie's Bernie for a glorious shot!... He honestly may be deceased in this picture at this point. I don't know.

All hail Fish-san!

God rest the soul of Fish-san. May he be giving tours in the afterlife.


Fish-san was then carried back onto the bus, and we got into the hotel van, and it then took off, racing back up the mountain to its origin point.

After another 15 minute drive up, up, up the mountain we were on, we came to our own personal live-action Hanasaku Iroha onsen hotel. My mouth hung open in amazement. We were truly at the Kissuiso? Hotel! Well, in real life it was called NAME HERE, but in spirit it was the Kissuiso? to me.

While checking in, we found that only 1 person in the entire operation could speak any Engrish at all (and he only had the vocabulary of an English-speaking toddler), and were told — mostly through pantomime — that when we were outside of our room and just walking around that we HAD to wear the designated yukatas provided in the room. It was a game of charades that Mehve won by pulling the answer out of thin air. I don't know how he figured out what that guy was saying/acting out. I was going with "Smokey and the Bandit 3! Smokey IS the Bandit!" That would have probably just added to the confusion though.

We were led to our room by a smiling non-English speaking girl, who after she opened our door spent a good 2 minutes walking around our place simply pointing to things, not even bothering to tell us in Japanese what she was showing us. She'd point out things like the bathroom, the toilet, the TV, the closet where our pillows and floor mattresses were, and the yukatas and slippers that we'd have to wear outside of the room. That's when I noticed something and pointed to the slippers.

"Excuse me," I said. "Ummmm, do you have any slippers for people with feet larger than a size 5? I have HUGE feet." I then pointed to my shoe, and then placed my foot next to the largest slipper available in our room. "See? I look like I have Godzilla's foot next to Tyrion Lannister's shoe. I don't think this will work."

She just smiled, nodded, and then backed out of the room saying "Sank you," closing the door behind her.

I think I then said "Fuck... Hey, Mehve, how big are those yukatas?"

"About Hobbit-sized," he said whilst holding up the one that he thought was the largest in the drawer. It wasn't. It was maybe Hobbit-child-sized though.

Our Hakone Hot Springs hotel room

Mehve gives our first actual Japanese-style hotel room a thumbs up.


Good times in Japan

We really are turning Japanese, I think we're turning Japanese, I really think so.


Yukata on gaijin in Japan.

Oh yeah. We are two manly bitches!


Mehve and I then spent some time chilling out and resting after the big day we had, and I popped open a pack of Pocky and turned on the television. I then shit myself over what I found. Fucking Maison Ikkoku was on the telly, and it was the episode where Godai first starts tutoring Kyoko's niece. I then took a picture of me in a yukata in an onsen hotel eating Pocky while watching Maison Ikkoku on actual broadcast TV to show to Mulder, who would then probably shit his pants over the pure awesomeness of that as well. Honestly, I think THIS may be the most Japanesey picture that I ever participated in.

Maison Ikkoku in Japan

Words escape me.


At a little after 7PM we then started wandering around the place (in our tiny yukatas, of course. We ain't no rule breakers) to find the dining hall. The Pocky didn't really do that much for us and we were hungry. We found it and gaijin smashed our way in, picking a table to sit at on our own, due to no hostess appearing after 5 minutes of waiting. When our hostess/waitress did appear she looked horrified that we chose to sit where we did, but she didn't move us. Instead she brought us out our tea and started serving us our pretty large dinner — which was something like 8 courses — and crammed with stuff that neither Mehve nor I could identify with 100% accuracy. Here's what my notes (that Mehve and I collaborated on later that night) said about that meal:

Lots of fish and lots of strange textures. I think we started out with small pieces of sashimi, and then there was that stuff that looked like a yellow cube with shrimp and the red/green blobs with no taste what-so-ever. Oh, and the squash bowl filled with a sea food chowder. That was possibly my favorite part of the meal. Then there was the sweet potato, the salmon with a strange filling with a pink onion on top, and some pickled veggies. After that we had the shrimp with sweet potato filling, sardines, and beef with mushrooms. We also had 2 kinds of miso soup (one with a strange jelly and tofu in it), rice (of course), and then we finished the whole meal off with giant apples.

I don't remember what most of that stuff looked like, let alone tasted like, but I do recall that I liked at least 75% of what was offered, and we did eat almost all of it... except that miso with the jelly bits in it. We were too embarrassed to take many pictures of our meal in this place though seeing as we were the youngest people there by at least 50 years, and I was already almost flashing everybody by the way that I was seated, because of my mini-yukata that I was wearing.

After the mostly delicious meal our waitress came out and started asking us something. I shit you not, it took us 3 whole minutes of charades and me speaking Engrish to figure out what she wanted from us. She was getting so frustrated, and the rest of the dining hall kept looking down at us as if we were asking WHY they wouldn't let us kill and eat babies in this fine establishment.

It turned out that our waitress was simply asking what time we wanted to be served breakfast in the morning. We wrote down on a napkin "8:30AM", and then I drew a smiley face for her. The face that she made when she thought that we were looking away was fucking awesome! It was the kind of face you make when your big brother's friends are at your house, bossing you around while your parents are out for the day, and you have to keep getting them Coke's and chips while they watch football on the only TV in the place, and they make you smile while you do it, but deep inside you just wish that they would die painfully from rabies or a steam-roller, and you let that smile fall from your face into a look of utter disgust and hatred the second they turn around. She had that look NAILED.

Gaijin smashing Japanese dinnes since 2011

Good meal, angry waitress, non-Japanese-speaking gaijin. Good times.


After dinner we braced ourselves and got all psyched to hit the onsen! Both Mehve and I had been looking forward to the onsen experience for months now. We'd been prepped by over 20 years-worth of watching anime series that always had a special onsen-themed episode! So we grabbed our towels and then walked down to the the bathhouse which led to the outside hot spring.

Despite our years of prep-work though, as soon as we got down to the empty bathhouse we were both a little lost as to what we were to do.

"I think we disrobe and wash ourselves first with these buckets and shower spiggots," I said.

"Maybe... That sounds right," Mehve replied. "But I don't remember if we do the onsen first or bathing first. Do we want to be clean going into the onsen, or wash the sulfur smell off us when we're done?"

We compromised and ended up washing ourselves off both before and after then onsen soaking. Don't judge us.

Anyway, we eventually got nekkid and made our way outside to the hot spring. The cold Autumn mountain air and the hot, hot natural spring water was an amazing combo. If I recall, it was a bit cloudy, but we could still see the moon, and Mehve kept telling me to stop singing the anime Beck's "Full moon sways; Gently on the surface of the lake" song. I did, but only when two old and wrinkly (I mean super, hella wrinkly), super serious Japanese men came out and sat in the water with us. We outlasted them by about a half an hour. I don't remember exactly how long we stayed out there, but it was quite a while. Oh god, seriously, whenever I just want to relax, to this day all I have to do is close my eyes and remember the cold air, the hot water, and the sounds of the mountain. I can't wait to go back some day.

Onsen tips

I wish I noticed this flyer previous to our onsen visit and not just after we got back to our room.


After a while some clouds permablocked the moon and stars, and we left the onsen for good. Mehve and I then went looking for a soft drink machine that had cold milk in it. Every time you see anime characters going to the onsen you always see them drink a cold milk afterward with one hand on their hip right after they get out of the water. I just had to do this in order to feel that I really, truly did it right... But there was no milk in any of the machines in the place. I was surprised. I thought this milk thing was a big deal.

So then we walked all the way back to the front desk where we knew there was a small (itty bitty) gift shop/convenience store. They had little child-sized cartons of milk for me, and some green tea for Mehve. We were both happy, but Mehve just kept on making fun of me for my milk obsession.

Gaijin smashing onsen and milk!

Mehve informed me that although I'd seen a lot of anime where people would visit a hot spring and then drink milk in the pose that I am demonstrating above, what I apparently failed to notice is that it's only women who do this, as it's apparently an old-wives tale that it'll improve their bust size... I need to pay better attention to things.


We made our way back to our room and got all our mattresses and comforters out for the night. When we turned the lights off I was blown away by just how absolutely pitch black it was. No street lights creeping in from the huge picture windows, no digital alarm clock, and nothing that even glowed in the bathroom. Just absolute darkness. I thought that if I waited my eyes would adjust, but no, it was always just black as Jimmy Jammer's soul. I only tell you this because at one point Mehve snored a little and I woke up, and as I tried to find my way to the room of requirement to release my bladder, I missed the left turn that I was supposed to make, stepped down into the entryway, and face-planted into the front door. Mehve didn't even snuffle at the noise.

Sleep in hot springs

And I was out like a light. See you tomorrow, Japan!


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