Last weekend my husband’s planned trip for his parents was nearly derailed by Super Typhoon Lan which blew into Japan for its own extended stay.
Despise the wind and rain, we made it to our Ryokan, or Japanese Traditional Inn, in Tochigi Prefecture where the leaves are just beginning to change.
The devastation of Super Typhoon Lan.
Our ryokan had a strange guard dog.
Despite icy blasts of wind that could knock a person almost off their feet, this Ryokan Overlord remained at post. He leaves at sunset and comes back to post at sunrise. He’s like the Inn’s unofficial mascot.
My mother-in-law fretted whether he was cold out there. She wondered if they could have at least let him wait in the entryway. He seemed to love people and was an absolute sweetie to the guests. I guess his job was “Inn Greeter”.
When I squatted down to pet him, he took it as an invitation and hopped into my lap and would not leave. It was endearing at first, but eventually I needed to leave. I had to pry his claws off. It’s tough being so loved…
The room my husband and I stayed in.
Our futons came with pillows as soft as finely-grained sandbags. If you know how most Japanese pillows are like, you’ll know that’s a compliment. You’re lucky if they’re more comfortable that a bag of bricks.
Bet you can’t guess what brand of laptop I use.
This is where you fetch your yukata. I had to take a Large because I’m tall. the yellow ones are for kids.
The belt — obi — was in the room.
Slippers are provided.
I grabbed my big towel and small towel and headed for the bath.
That symbol on the curtain is a stylized version of the standard one that marks bathing areas in Japan.
I went right, to the red curtain.
Whew, the essentials are nearby. Thank God!
They had a fun room. I love table tennis, but there were no paddles and balls nearby. I guess you have to ask at the desk. I was tempted to challenge my husband, but I can be quite aggressive at table tennis. (Blame my father).
Taiko drums. I was tempted.
All right, you got me. I could not resist free karaoke. This room had a karaoke book from the 2000s and a selection that reflected that. I remember having to use this crap when I first came to Japan over a decade ago, in the dark ages. Back then we had just invented the wheel. Fire was changing the way we cooked. Truly a glorious age.
The selection was outdated, but my favorite animes are all from the 2000s. So I was set.
And if you want a more detailed account of what a Japanese Traditional Inn is like then check out my video which features footage of what Super Typhoon Lan was like in Japan then here’s a video.