Thursday, February 14, 2013

Beppu...The Land of Hot Springs and Bedbugs.

We had a 3-day weekend this past weekend, one of two in a year, so I decided to head over to see Elaine in Japan again! I found tickets that were decently priced, after only seeing tickets for 650 dollars for a few days. Ben couldn't come this time.

Elaine and I arranged to meet in Fukuoka at the train station, then we took the train to Beppu, which is a small hot springs town on the island of Kyushu.

We managed to find each other in the station without phones, then bought our tickets and jumped on the train! It left about 5 minutes after we got there.

Here we are on the train.

We checked into our hostel after an uneventful train ride, then headed to dinner.

Here is Elaine taking a picture of me taking a picture.


This is a tower on the way to the restaurant. We had intended to go to this 50s style Japanese restaurant, but unfortunately it was closed.
This was a Korean restaurant. The sign said "Welcome." I realized after Elaine said, "Oh look, there's a Korean restaurant" that I'd read it in Korean and hadn't even registered that I was reading Korean. It was shocked.
On the way to the restaurant. A dark alley of course.

The oldest spa in Beppu.
Where we wanted to eat.
A painting of Jesus on a hill in South America.
The restaurant we ended up eating at, based on the number of pictures on the menu.

We got delicious food, which included sashimi, yakisoba and chicken

There was a large fire in the kitchen. The cooks seemed unimpressed by the fire.
We then walked around for a while, bought some ice cream and looked at various shops. We had both been up early and decided to get an early start to the day by sleeping early.

Little did we know...

We got into our bunk beds in the hostel and were ready to go to sleep. Elaine decided, stupidly, to go to the bathroom before sleeping. When she got up, she noticed a bug crawling on her bed. She said, "Oh no, bad news!" I said, "What's the problem?"

"There's a bug. Let me kill it....Oh was filled with blood."

Elaine's blood.

We had a bed bug.

Naturally, we panicked and decided to fling everything we owned into plastic bags to make sure that more bed bugs didn't infest our stuff.

We then laid awake discussing the terrible bed bug situation and feeling extremely itchy and scratchy.

We researched what to do with our clothes/bags once we got home.

We investigated the room and looked for bugs or evidence of bugs.

I noticed a black spot on the wall. Elaine looked closer. It was a booger.

We saw lots of fuzz, but no more boogers or bugs.

We realized later the walls were very thin and people could hear us discussing the bed bugs all night. I know this because the people in the room next to me used their phone as an alarm, which played Adele. They then continued to sing for much of the morning at 6 AM. I could also hear bells ringing outside.

I got zero sleep. I kept thinking there were bugs and then I woke up approximately every hour. At one point Elaine's phone buzzed and I gasped loudly. I'm not really sure what that was about. I laid awake and itchy until I finally catapulted out of bed at 7:45 AM.

We told the hotel staff in the morning about the bug and brought the dead one to him and he said, "Oh that's bad..." But did not seem in the least surprised.

How irritating.

We set out to investigate the town of Beppu, which is known for its hot springs.

And by known for its springs, I mean there are hot springs around the entire town and under basically every building. Normal houses have steam spring up from under the ground.

We looked at the ocean a bit, since it was right along the main street. It was quite beautiful.

Here's Elaine.
We went to the train station to catch the bus and get a map to all the hot springs we could visit, as well as the spa we were going to go to in the afternoon. We saw this statue outside the train station. A man flinging a child about from his jacket.

The title said "Shiny Uncle who loved children."

This is a view from the bus... a house with a very large amount of steam coming out from under the house. And some buses underneath that make that difficult to see.
Another steaming house.
We stopped at the first hot spring, which was also a zoo for some very sad animals in tiny cages, which was disturbing.

Here's the African elephant.

A llama with a problem ear.

Some flamingos, including a black flamingo.

Here's a hippo, with a horrible snaggle-tooth, waiting for people to feed him carrots.

Here's his mouth with carrots inside.
Then, we saw the first hot spring.

They were called "Hells." There were eight for viewing, but we visited six, since the other two were a bit out of the way.

Here's a steaming plant.
And a steaming fence post.

Annddd the hot spring.

The hot springs were supposedly full of wild life. We saw a cat and nothing else...

A friend on facebook commented that the hot springs were like Yellowstone, Disneyland version, which was definitely how it felt. It was beautiful and fenced and stone sidewalked.
Elaine made fun of me a bit throughout the trip, because the lead up to take every picture was very awkward. I had to wear my glasses, due to the laser eye surgery I'm getting on Saturday, so it was an ordeal to take them off, put them in my pocket, adjust my eyes to the sunlight etc.

So for every picture of me looking composed, there are 2 of me looking awkward, with an awkward hand not quite in my pocket or my eyes closed.

Here are my eyes closed.

The next hell had a garden and some flowers.

It was bright blue and beautiful.

Here I am, looking composed.

Here was a lake near the hell.

Prime example of my problems composing myself.

Here I am looking normal. But, we noticed that we couldn't see the hot spring's beautiful water behind us, so we decided to take another one.

Here's the second one, with my eyes closed and completely unprepared.

Then, it was extremely bright, so I didn't quite open my eyes all the way...sigh.
We decided to have someone else take a picture of us instead.

Here is a statue of a Japanese raccoon dog.

Apparently they exist. Elaine saw one dying on her campus.
Another hot spring. Red this time.

They had a greenhouse at this hot spring.

Aka a hell emitting gas use greenhouse.

They also had a foot bath, which naturally we had to try. It was quite hot and a fantastic idea.

Here are my feet. My shoes were tied too tight by accident, so they look a bit veiny.
Awkward pants.

Some fruit. I'm not really sure why there was fruit floating inside, but there was.
This hot spring was mud.

Another foot bath.
They used the steam from the hot springs to cook food, like pudding and to make hard boiled eggs.
So, we bought some pudding. And later bought some eggs.

Another mud hot spring.

Here is a devil statue.
Me and a raccoon dog and the devil statue.
Awkward picture.

Another beautiful blue and green hot spring.

More mud.

They did something weird and made the hot spring steam more, but I'm not sure how they did it, since they were explaining in Japanese and Korean.

The next hot spring was a crocodile park. Apparently the hot spring created "ideal conditions for breeding crocodiles" which naturally meant that they needed to breed crocodiles.

Here's a crocodile enjoying the sunshine.

Also, my flight was 55 minutes and I went from 19 degrees in Seoul to a balmy 50 degrees in Japan. I wore converses to the airport and my ankles froze, but in Japan I was extremely comfortable and not freezing. It was weird.

Some eggs, which we bought.

A very fat crocodile.
If you look carefully through the steam, a woman is cooking the eggs and corn.

Here's the last hot spring we visited, which was also a piranha aquarium.

Here is a tree that looked like an elephant.

After visiting all the hot springs, we decided to head up the mountain and visit an outdoor hot spring, which required sharing a hot spring with some older Japanese women.

One woman talked to Elaine in Japanese for a while, while the other women on the other side of the hot spring laughed at us.

The hot spring we bathed in looked like this, but a bit larger. Obviously we couldn't take pictures, due to the fact that we were all naked.

Somehow it was not uncomfortable. I'm not really sure how that happened. There was a fence that was rather low and felt like the entire mountain could see us, but that was not the case, luckily.

After the hot spring bath time, we headed to the monkey park, which was a very strange and terrifying experience.


  1. Does remind me of Yellowstone. Great photos. Felt like I was there. My goodness but you get around. Glad it all worked out for you. Can't wait to hear about it in person.

  2. I had the re read the blog to see that you described the "Hell"...I thought as I was reading that you had forgotten your english...haha...looks like you had an awesome time, other than the bedbugs of course...nude bathing..I am really scandalized now!