Today there was a trip with my Daiwa kohai (i.e. the year below) to a private onsen resort near Hakone. I had missed out on the opportunity last year because of other commitments, and so was very kindly invited along to this year’s event. Before we arrived at the facilities we went to the nearby Owakudani, a popular viewing spot from which you could ‘appreciate’ the nearby sulphur vents and ‘observe’ Mt. Fuji. As the weather was somewhat overcast this latter task proved somewhat difficult, but we did a good job of convincing ourselves otherwise. Just as the local authorities had done a good job in renaming a ‘funicular’ a ‘cable car’ and a ‘cable car’ a ropeway, which I found to be light transport propaganda of the highest degree.
The onsen resort was absolutely incredible. Built for Daiwa in the last economic boom, as a facility for entertaining senior members and clientele, I felt incredibly privileged to be given this opportunity, and I definitely made the most of it. Eating enough to make the late night visit to the onsen a somewhat dangerous experience for fear of shrinking. Before this though there was of course the obligatory karaoke, with James Green and I insisting to say on until we had worked our way through most of the pantheon of modern music. Our renditions of Simon & Garfunkel songs were particularly moving, and certainly brought a tear to the eye.