First, you get to guess what these are and why they are important in Japan!

Written by Lorna Shapiro

During my stay in Hakone (Mt. Fuji National Park), Mariko took Chisato and me on a day of sightseeing. One of our stops was Owakudani, which looks like this.

Owakudani is famous in Japan for its sulfur vents and hot springs. Mariko was convinced that my stay in Japan would be better for having visited this spot. I remain unconvinced. However, it was Mariko’s day to take us touring, and the stop at Owakudani was non-negotiable. I could smell it before I could see it, and the smell only became more pungent as we walked the trail up to the viewpoint and the concession stand. Concession stand, you say? Indeed, in this odiferous haze of sulfur fumes, the Japanese were lined up to buy four sulfur vent cooked eggs (see above) for 1000 Yen (or $12 in my currency). It seems the Japanese believe that if you eat one of these sulfur vent cooked, and hence blackened, eggs, you are guaranteed that the next seven years will be happy and healthy. So, it seemed like tempting fate NOT to eat this black egg, but I have to say I’ll not rush back.