After the hot spring event, I head back to the room and surprise Wife and brother with my early return. Did I have a god time? No. Did Chib go in? No. My wife then tells me that Chib didn't go in with her either, he just likes to hang around at the side. Grrrrrrrrr!
As expected, the dinner table is gone and four beds are now out, set up by the hotel staff. Japanese traditional hotels don't have beds out all day long, they are set up at night and taken away in the morning. The wife has requested a western style bed for me because sleeping on what is essentially a blanket, to me, is not the most comfortable thing in the world. This time, the futons are about three times thicker, so I wondered allowed if it was even necessary, but whatever, it is already set up. Three futons on the floor and a fourth on what looks like a fold out bed. Well, not traditional, but at least it will be comfortable. Wrong! The fold out bed is just a wooden platform with the same hard tatami surface as the floor. It is just elevated. Whatever, at least I can have eggs for breakfast.
After an acceptable night's rest, I wake to find everyone else has hit the baths again. Good for them. I head for the balcony. It's about 7:30am and my view is of a vertical wall of green tree tops about 200 yards away. there is a river between us that is ruining low but still flowing, and generating lots of white noise. I dream of a big steaming mug of coffee knowing full well that the very notion of a mug of anything for a hundred miles in any direction exists only in my mind. I sit back in my summer kimono and put my feet up on the balcony railing, not caring in the least that the fisherman across the way has now partially made it onto that short list I mentioned in my previous post. The breeze is well worth it.
The sound of a sliding door makes me turn around to see that the beds are gone and the table is back, complete with hot tea, that tea I like, waiting for us. My hopes are high. Breakfast comes and again there is a plate for every two ounces of food served. This makes it hard to immediately tell what is being served, so I am slowly surveying the table. My food is different than everyone else's now, so that makes it easy. Two eggs, sunny side up. Two pieces of white toast about as thick as a bible. A bowl of something white and creamy with croutons in it. Two out of three ain't bad. Ah! Coffee! a cup only slightly bigger than an espresso cup, but at this point I'll take it.
The eggs are barely cooked. the bottom is done but the top is almost all clear gel. Oh, and they are chilled. Not even room temperature. They've been cooked (if you can call it that) and then chilled for my pleasure. The toast has long cooled, but I quickly realize I can throw it on the Sterno grill one of the bowls are on. That warms it up, but also chars it a little. Some tinfoil topped square plastic container of diner jelly makes it eatable. The white stuff in the bowl turns out to be warm corn soup, which I like. Breakfast over and we pack up to leave and see the sights.
Not to be cheated, before we see the sights, I force Tachan to pullover at the first 7-11 we see (which for some reason is sometimes called 7 & i Holdings here) and stock up on wonder bread sandwiches. 7-11 is my oasis here. There is always a full stock of freshly made sandwiches with things like ham & egg or ham and cheese in the middle. There are also sandwiches with things like potato salad or spaghetti and meatballs, or even strawberries and kiwi if your feeling adventurous. I"m willing to go as far as potato salad. Four sandwiches later and I am pleasant enough to spend time with.
On the way back, we stopped at a rest area on the highway. Something I found fascinating is that Japanese rest areas are actually cheaper than the local convenience store. What a concept. This is where I found one of the highlights of the trip. A hot dog vending machine! for a mere 400 yen, you can have your very own hot dog, straight from the machine. Now before you go thinking how gross a hot dog from a machine must taste, know this: I could not buy one. They were sold out. Fortunately, the next rest stop had one and it was not sold out. My options were A) Rice cake with two chunks of fried chicken, B) french fries or C) a hot dog. Selected the hot dog, paid my 400 yen, and waited through the 120 second count down on the display. Once it hit zero and told me to take my food, I opened up the sliding door to find a flat box that was almost too hot to touch. Inside, I found not one, but two hot dogs. The Chib and I each got one and while I can't say it was great, I can say it was certainly edible, and to my surprise, already had ketchup and mustard on it.