Japan 10 - Hard Rain

We ventured out in the rain to Daniela’s delight. She had had enough R&R and needed to go foraging for snacks. We got a lead on an exclusive bakery and a two-storey ice cream coffee house so we ditched our kimonos and strapped on our rain gear and headed out into the great outdoors. It was wet. We meandered the single winding street of the tiny town Hakone and found a few open places to peek into. Lots of antique shops and tourist pits touting little wooden trinkets and old dolls. Our mountain views and vistas were all blockaded by sheets of fog and rain. but there was still  a magic in the air and the walk felt good.

The coffee house was eclectic and played a variety of strange music including alvin and the chipmunks. We shared a large fruit sunday with sweet red beans and many different sauces with rice-crisp treats mixed in. Three large gobs of moshi (soft rice candy) on the side for good measure. Coffee here is hit or miss – this place was a miss but it did the job. After a few numbers by Burl Ives and the Chipmunks we headed back into the rain and walked a little bit until we found out pretty much that there wasn’t much to find.

Our next and last two stops were the convenience store and bakery where Daniela could fill her pouches with doughy treats and savoury bites. “These will be good on the train ride tomorrow don’t you think?” Her eyes alight with the forecasting journey and rising opportunities to have a little something to idle the time away. I nod, smile back and we fill a few bags up with things like pizza favoured chips and big soft buns covered in crystal sugar and raisins. The convenience stores here have lots of hot and cold foods and some of it looks damn good. Large bowls of ramen noodles holding up slices of white pork awaiting hot broth, steamy white BBQ pork buns in get it yourself steamers, chunks of deep fried pork cutlets and katsu versions of chicken.

All this talk of food is getting me hungry. My stomach disturbances seem to be in the ancient past now (how soon we forget). Daniela wanted to do a lot of things today and the weather threw a wrench in her plans. There were hikes, cable car rides and an outdoor sculpture gardens all washed away by this endless dominating rain. Luckily it gave great rationale to digging deep into the luxury of the ryoken. For a good part of the afternoon we sat in the lobby and watched the Japanese come and go in the glow of the giant aquariums. We sipped on pink ginger cordials and kept each other company in our own connected  and comfortable silence.

The clock just struck five pm here.

The cavalcade of multiple dinner courses will begin at six, so there is just one hour left to bathe before dinner. Time is running out here – and we need to make the most of what is left.