The day began with a two mile run overlooking Fuji-san and the city coming to life 40 + stories below us and then a swift breakfast in the room of eggs, bacon, and that emerald colored melon I think of when I think of Japan. I forgot to say, “crispy bacon.” My bad. Still, the pork is the best anywhere due to its high fat content and its being so juicy. A drunk American in the hallway shouting, “Why does everyone want to fuck with me?” spoiled the mood. Then, again, he made it more memorable.
710 Yen later and we were at the mouth of the world’s busiest train stain: Shinjuku where we rode to Tokyo station to catch the Shinkansen north. Snow, aka yuki, delayed us by over an hour to our transit station. The snow was magnificent, powerful, and stark. As we went through the alpine region–Nagano, Nagoya–it was thrilling. The next train was jammed–standing room only for two hours–due to all the trains converging and long standstills, etc. It was fine as we were the only aliens and so we called it a “cultural experience,” exercising self delusion in a familiar way.
At last, Kaga Onsen. Here we were greeted by friends who whisked us to an Irish Tea Room, set up stick by stick, piece by piece, in tribute to the Emerald Isle. A talk on eggs by a producer followed over cake and tea and I genuinely learned more about eggs than I had ever known. For example, expiration dates mean nothing without a production date. Also, the best eggs are produced by young hens; meaning that these organic, free range birds? Slaughtered en masse at about 18 months in contrast to older birds.
Later, at The Kayotei, one of the planet’s most remarkable ryokans, we donned yakuta, and undonned them for several outdoor baths. The dinner was perfect kaiseki and included: Hollowed lime with local, wild mushrooms; candied walnuts; broccolini with bonita; blue fin and buri sashimi; and, a bowl of broth, noodles, and duck.
Bedding down on tatami, sleep came fast as it always done on…Planet Japan.