This morning I took the Odakyu line all the way to Odawara to meet Akira, with my peculiar aroma of meat and milk ensuring that I had a free seat on either side of me for the duration. Upon meeting Akira we took two trains, a funicular, and then a ropeway Gondola to the top of Hakoneyama volcano. It felt like something out of Challenge Anneka, although I can’t ever remember her being above the cloud line and loosing all feeling in her hands for the remainder of the day. At the summit Akira and I ate black eggs, which had been boiled in the natural springs of the volcano. Eating one of these eggs is supposed to extended your life by 7 years, but after eating three of the buggers I simply felt egg bound.
On our descent down the volcano Akira and I popped into Fujiya Hotel, a very famous establishment that counts Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon, and Charlie Chaplin amongst its previous patrons. Needless to say I was a bit surprised when there wasn’t a fanfare reception to announce our arrival. After a bit of a wonder around the beautiful Odawara castle we caught a train to Itou, down in the Izu peninsular, where Akira had booked us into a traditional Japanese Inn (Ryokan) for the night. At ¥3400 (-£25) for a private room it represented incredible value, especially as it had its own private onsen. I tried in vain to disguise the fact that I very nearly put not just my fist, but also my entire arm, through the paper screen of the sliding door in our room, but Akira was far too polite to say anything.