Saturday, February 25, 2006

Weekend in Hakone

Naturally, it is supposed to rain, but we will be leaving for Hakone, a resort area near Tokyo. Probably one of the closest and most convenient for people who live here. That is why it is usually crowded. We will be taking the "Romance car." Nothing especially romantic about it I guess, it's just the name of the train. If you want romance, you have to create it on your own.

Short trips like this have become part of our life here as opposed to longer cross country vacations that we would sometimes take in the US. We have several short excursions like this every year.

What is exciting about this trip, other than a chance to breathe fresh, clean air and see a few trees and hills that aren't surrounded by (or covered in) concrete, is the fact that we will be staying in a ryokan. A ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn. But the best part is that we will be having in-room meal service. Usually, in fact always in my experience, the food is absolutely delicious. Most people who have never eaten much Japanese food think of rice and sushi or some strange unusual food. You do get unusual food as compared to most Tokyo restaurants (of which many serve western-style food), but the food often includes regional specialties. In Nikko, it was yuba, which is made form tofu and has numerous forms. My wife didn't care for it, but I loved it. I am not sure if there is any specialty in the Hakone area---the last time we went there, we ate French food at Fujiya Hotel. Fujiya is where John Lennon and Yoko Onno lived for a while in the 70s. It is a beautiful hotel, and one I would recommend if you want a western-style room in a hotel that looks stereotypically Japanese from the outside.

I should have pics from the area sometime in the middle of next week.

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