U and I went camping last night. My trusty little night had it's Japan debut and U and I tried something new as a couple. We both love camping but had never actually gone together. We started off easy - car camping in a site with full amenities - and I do mean full amenities, the "outhouses!" (A far cry from the sites I camped at in Jasper National Park with their "green thrones" - green plastic seats with lids, open to the sky and beautiful scenery as the local wildlife enjoy chewing painted wood so hut-type outhouses tend not to last.)
Annnnnyways... The site, in Chichibu in Saitama prefecture was great. In addition to drive-up tent sites they have cottages and all sorts of animals (rabbits, ducks, chickens...) and a chatty older guy who lives on-site with his family as managers. He gave us a couple of freshly laid eggs and we got to chatting. A very interesting fellow... He had built the main building and all the animal huts out of... out of empty drink cans and cement! All that is showing of the cans is the circular silver end shining from the grey cement - making for rather unique buildings to say the least. The manager proudly told us about all the TV stations that have featured the site, about all the foreigners who have cone all the way to see the buildings. When he heard my answer to the question "what do you do" he invited us in fir tea by the wood stove and introduced is to his wife, who is descended from one of the important ladies in the Tokugawa ooku (shogun's women's quarters).
Annnnnyways... good site. Good food too. U picked out a packet of "cheese fondue." (No, Cath, nothing like the real thing, the poor boy is in desperate need of a REAL cheese fondue experience) and I had pre-steamed potatoes and broccoli to go along with the crusty French bread. We also grilled thin slices of Spam over the fire and then finished it all of with U's first smores! Yum!!
The only trouble was that poor U forgot how cold it gets nowadays at night so which I was cozy in my trusty long underwear and three-season sleeping bag (that's a CANADIAN three-seasons, meaning the tag declares it handles down to -5), he was wearing a couple of long sleeved shirts and a light sweatshirt with his hiking pants and had only his light sleeping bag. The poor guy was cold and awake for most of the night. I was blissfully unaware and after a week troubled by insomnia slept over 11 hours!
This morning as we sipped hot chocolate and roasted mochi over the fire we excitedly discussed our next camping trip - after a stop at the camping store for a sleeping bag liner for U and a couple if camp chairs (sites in Japan don't tend have picnic tables like sites often do in Canada). It was just the escape we both needed after stressful work weeks. And the rain? It waited until after we visited a couple of shrines and were driving home!