Today looks to be a rather short one, in terms of road time. I'll be heading up from Yokohama to Kawasaki, which is about a 15-minute drive from my hotel.
I'm not in a huge hurry this morning, as the lack of travel provokes my lackadaisical attitude. It also doesn't help that the slowly digesting mass of Ramen is contributing to my lethargic mood.
Aside from the typical coffee walk, a big part of my morning routine is stretching. More than any vanity muscle, my mobility is primary to my overall health.
Everything we do extends from the joints and muscles that we often overlook.
Over the years, I've found the best exercises that help preserve my body.
Regardless of the physical activity that I've been doing, I've discovered that certain stretches for each body part do wonders for my physical abilities.
Like a properly maintained motorcycle, I believe that everybody should start their day with a warm-up routine or exercise to wake up their body.
Little movements add up (especially on the road), so I think it's wise to keep your body fresh and prevent injuries.
After re-discovering the different angles of my arms, I work on getting my things together and mapping out the route for the day.
In front of the DZed is a pier, with a smattering of local fishermen. One of which is in a struggle with a potential lunchtime treat.
I can't tell from my angle what he has on the line, but it's clear that the old gentleman has more on the line than he bargained for.
It's in that moment where you can draw a parallel to the plight of this country.
Despite the various levels of terrain and climates, Japan has (and always will be) reliant on its relationship to the Sea.
How they eat, make a living, even deal with the weather, can all be tied to this large body of water.
Perhaps it's because it's so opposed to my land-locked roots, but it's never lost on you that this nation has no choice but to be dependent on the Ocean.
Moments after seeing his fellow fishermen celebrate a big catch, I fire up the DZed and head up the road towards Kawasaki.
I know this city is much smaller, in comparison to Yokohama, so there won't be as many things to see.
The most notable attraction is Nihon Minkaen, which is an open-air museum filled with buildings from the Edo period of the country.
Within minutes of finding a hotel in Kawasaki, I remapped my GPS for Nihon Minaken. It appears that the Museum is on the edge of town, so it's along the way to Tokyo.
Upon arriving, I'm informed of the Museum's history and importance by a tour guide.
This place lays the ground for buildings ranging from old farmhouses to a full-on Kabuki stage.
The Japanese government considers this to be an important cultural site, as all of these buildings were moved from different prefectures to this location.
There are several activities that visitors can partake in here. Anything from making rice cakes to lion dances (whatever that is) allows participation. While these activities sound...
Interesting... One particular thing that caught my attention was an "indigo dyeing workshop".
I've read that indigo has historically been a popular color in Japan, mainly because of its abundance in a variety of plants.
From what my guide told me, the Edo period highlighted some of the class disparity in the country, forcing the lower class to use cotton products (which were easier to dye).
From that point on, indigo dye (Ai-zome) officially reached the Zeitgeist around the country. The color has become synonymous with a variety of clothing here.
The most notable piece of clothing to receive this dye treatment are Yukatas.
As part of my guided tour, I was allowed to dye a piece of clothing.
Considering the stash of headbands that I've been collecting, I thought it would be fitting to add a flare of indigo to this collection.
I didn't want to taint the one that you gave me, so I used my oversized white shirt and shed some of the excesses to form a new band.
I've been told that the process for dyeing a piece of clothing in this indigo mix is quite long, so I didn't hold my breath for a quick novelty gift.
While my band, along with other pieces of clothing are being dyed, the guide fills us in on the specifics of the process.
In Japan, the plant with the highest concentration of the dye is polygonum. To extract the dye from the plant, it must be fermented and kept in the ground for at least a week.
Once that is completed, the dye is then heated before use.
I didn't have a specific detail regarding a design pattern, so I enabled my guide to use their creativity and bring forth something unique for my new bandana.
Since the process does take time, I decided to spend the rest of the day wandering around the museum, partaking in other activities.
That includes having an early supper at their Soba restaurant.
There seems to be a theme with buckwheat around here, as the noodles I ate and the dye used for my bandana are both closely related to the wheat product.
You'd think that a day after a Ramen-filled extravaganza, I'd want to abstain from any noodle activity. Unfortunately, the rural location of this museum limited my culinary options.
Meals like this excite me for the prospect of visiting Osaka, which is known to be Japan's best city for food.
Considering the variety of great dishes I've had on this trip, Osaka promises to clear a high bar.
The day draws to a close and I retrieve my newly minted bandana. The swirling, flowing motif of the dye gives my bandana such a unique look.
I'm thrilled with how it turned out, as the oddly designed bandana is better than any piece of clothing I could have bought.
I proceed to wrap the piece around my forehead and start the DZed on the road back to Kawasaki.
Today wasn't the most exciting, nor was it the most informative. However, it gave me something that may symbolize this trip more than anything else I'll acquire.
For that, it will be considered a very memorable day.
Tomorrow, I'll make another trip up to Tokyo. You mentioned something about visiting Shibuya, so I'm eager to re-discover that ward of town.
Thanks and I'll see you soon!