Shopping and the Spa

Sunday we witnessed the first signs of the potential typhoon

heading our way; a rainy and windy day. Perfect for the planned day of shopping and the spa.
After a very un-Japanese breakfast (bagels, smoked salmon, etc), we visited both a discount outlet mall and then the largest indoor mall in Japan., AEON Lake Town Center.
Aeon is billed as Japan’s biggest “eco shopping center.” At 220,000 square meters (and with five times the number of shops as the Tokyo Dome) it is certainly is large, but attempting to minimize its footprint through a concept labeled “Hito to Shizen ni Kokochi Ii”, a term that roughly translates as “people and nature feeling good together”.
The Center features landscaped lawns and numerous planters, but also uses solar panels and a hybrid gas eco system (the first of its kind in Japan). The combined efforts of these various eco-friendly systems results in an estimated 20% reduction in carbon emissions.
Two points of interest I have not seen or heard of at US malls:
  • Lake Town also features Japan’s first consumer-ready charging station for electric vehicles. 30 minutes charging (presumably while they’re shopping) is good for 120 kilometers (75 miles) on an 80% charge.
  • A very pet-friendly environment complete with an elaborate dog spa and a dog run for visiting customers.
I also returned to a large Uniqlo store to complete my personal clothes shopping, selecting a number of brightly colored items for the summer and fall season. Cannot help being a bit of a fashionista’ in Japan!
You need to be a fan of Bill Murray and “Lost in Translation” to understand my spa experience later in the day. While I am most familiar with the cultural customs and traditions associated with the bathing experience, I never fail to be amused by my “illusion of similarity” and produce a smile from my companions.
Today I feel asleep while laying outdoors on a slap of granite, slightly titled and flowing with hot spring water (create an image in your mind!) in the rain. When the rain turned from drizzle to downpour, a stranger woke and rescued me.
A refreshing experience and then it was “Suntory Time”.

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