Sadly I didn’t have time to climb Mt. Fuji (富士山) during my time in Japan, but on today’s trip to Hakone (箱根) I did get to see a famous view of it: with Lake Ashi (芦ノ湖) and the a torii belonging to Hakone Shrine in the foreground. I like how there’s a small bright spot in the clouds right over the top of Mt. Fuji.

Lake surrounded by wooded mountains, a tall mountain blue in the background

Lunch was “Houtou” (ほうとう), a dish based on flat, long noodles in miso soup with vegetables. Usually some sort of meat is added as well, in this case boar. The soup is served very hot in the black pot, so you put a small amount at a time into the extra bowl to eat. My hosts called it an “ancient soldier’s meal”, and it was very filling indeed.

Black pot with soup, sidedish

On the way home I took a photo of this beautiful flower. The Japanese name is 彼岸花 (Higanbana), called “red spider lily” in English. If you visit a Japanese friend in hospital, you should never bring this flower. Why? Japanese Buddhists often use this flower as decoration in honor of their deceased ancestors, so giving this flower to a sick person is essentially asking them to die, and that’s obviously not nice, to say the least.

Red flowers with very thin petals

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