Carmelita Kubota lives in Canyon Lake much of the year, but she also calls Japan home during the summer.
In the first two weeks after arriving in Japan at the end of May, she helped coordinate a visit by a Rotary Club from Manila, Philippines, with a Rotary Club in Japan. Carmelita has played a major role in strengthening the friendship between the two clubs since 1984.
Next up on her itinerary was her niece’s wedding, where she was the guest speaker for the reception. Afterwards, the newlyweds took Carmelita, the bride’s mother and a friend of the mother to the luxurious Onsen Resort on Izu Peninsula.
Carmelita says, “In Japan, ‘onsen’ is a term for hot springs. As a volcanically active country, Japan has thousands of onsen scattered along its length and breadth. They traditionally were used as public bathing places and, today, they play a central role in directing Japanese domestic and international tourism, as well.”
With Japan scheduled to host the 2020 Olympics, the Japanese government aims to make tourism a major industry for Japan by encouraging foreign travelers to visit places outside metropolitan areas.
“An onsen is the place to experience, and I am fortunate indeed to be pampered in a relaxing, hot soak overlooking the panoramic view of the Suruga Bay in the open air bath – or as they say in Japanese, ‘routemburo,’” says Carmelita.
She adds that, immediately following the calming soak, a meal “delicately prepared with artistry and taste” awaited the guests in the traditional Japanese dining room. It included several courses, mostly consisting of seafood.
Before arriving at the luxury onsen, some of the wedding guests stopped at a souvenir shop to purchase gifts for friends and loved ones. “In Japan, it is customary that when you travel, it is a warm tradition to bring back home souvenirs from the place you’ve been,” says Carmelita.
On their two-hour drive home, the group stopped off to view the iconic peak for which Japan is famous: Mt. Fuji.