Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Challenges Begin

Our vacation had gone relatively smoothly so far, but this morning in Hakone we faced a few more challenges.

Our day started out fine with a nice buffet breakfast. I had a mix of western and Japanese dishes including tsukemono (pickled vegetables), kamaboko (processed fish), miso soup, and shumai (Japanese dumplings), along with scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage, eggs poached in the hot springs, and French toast.

After breakfast we drove up the winding mountain road to Owakudani, which is famous for kuro-tamago (black eggs) that are hard boiled in the sulfuric hot springs. Legend has it that eating one of these black eggs will add seven years to your life. (Japan has many of these types of legends).

Getting to the area where the eggs are boiled requires a short walk up a steep path. And that is where our problems began.

Similar to other times when we had to hike, after just a few steps, Kai started to complain loudly that he was too tired. And that it was too hot. And that he just could not do it.

Yes, it was hot. It was steep. But it wasn’t that long of a walk. Other kids much younger than Kai were bounding up the stairs with no problem. Is it too much to expect that he should be able to do the same thing without making it an ordeal?

I tried to encourage him up the hill but lost my patience when he kept complaining when he reached the top where there was actually a nice cool breeze.

I looked around and took pictures of the hot springs while my wife and in-laws took Kai back down.

I also bought a package of black eggs for all of us and then headed back down.

When I reached the bottom, Kai was much happier, and apologized to me.

Kai was intrigued by the black egg and wanted to live longer so he gladly ate one. (The photo shows him holding one that I already peeled.)

After that, we went to cool off and he had a snow cone that made him even happier.

But his good mood did not last long. We drove over to Hakone Sekisho, and Edo-period checkpoint. As we started a short walk to see the sights and exhibits, Kai was again loudly protesting.


This is going to be a very long vacation at this rate. This heat will be nothing compared to the days when we will be walking around outside for much longer periods of time.

His whining made me feel like putting him in jail.

After that, we were all ready to head back to Tokyo. Kai’s grandfather drove us down the road that wound around and down the mountain. It was too cloudy to see Mount Fuji, but it was very scenic nonetheless.

As we were driving, Kai started to complain loudly that he wasn’t feeling well. When a boy complains as often as he does, it is sometimes difficult to tell when he is really ill and when he is not. But this one seemed real so we asked his grandfather to find a place to pull over.

This road has very few places that have shoulders but luckily he found one quickly. My wife and I rushed out of the car but before Kai got out of the car, he threw up all over the floor in the back seat.

That just capped the morning we had had.

We drove back to Tokyo without further incident.

Kai’s grandparents ordered Domino’s pizza and Kai gobbled up a third of it all by himself. Obviously, he was feeling better.

After some time to relax, we temporarily said goodbye Jiji and Baba and headed to the Shinjuku section of Tokyo where we would be staying for the next few days.

My sister and her family would be arriving soon and the next part of our adventure will start.

They all arrived at the hotel around 7PM, very tired from having started their travels about 24 hours earlier with little sleep since. But they seemed happy to be in Japan, and we were happy to see them.

We found a small noodle shop for dinner. Kai had octopus and shrimp tempura. My brother-in-law had a curry dish. And the rest of us had various forms of udon, along with kara-age (fried chicken).

Now we have a big day of sightseeing ahead of us. No doubt it will be an adventure. Let’s just hope it will be a mostly pleasant one.


  1. Best wishes for a good day!

    And here I thought those eggs were going to be black through and through! haha.

    1. Just the outer shell was black. Ha!

  2. Wow...your whole family! Themed eggs...who would have thought :)
    Those pictures made me miss Japan. I love all of the food and the sights. Keep taking lots of pictures. Please tell your family that I wish them a very enjoyable trip.

    1. Thanks, Shiroi. I love all the legends; so many of them are food related.


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