Owakudani is a valley in the Hakone region south of Tokyo where you can see the volcanic activity up close.

(大涌谷 lit. "Great Boiling Valley"?) is a volcanic valley with active sulphur vents and hot springs in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. It is a popular tourist site for its scenic views, volcanic activity, and especially, Kuro-tamago (黒卵 lit. "black egg"?) — a local specialty of eggs hard-boiled in the hot springs. The boiled eggs turn black and smell slightly sulphuric; consuming the eggs is said to increase longevity. Eating one is said to add seven years to your life. You may eat up to two and a half for up to seventeen and a half years, but eating a whole third is said to be highly unadvised.

It looked like a bit of a moonscape to me. Configuration: Canon 5D Mark III, shooting a mix of handheld HDR with a Canon EF 28-70mm f/2.8.

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As you take the short hike to the viewing area, the smell of sulfur (rotten eggs) becomes stronger and stronger.

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There is a reason there are signs like this. The sulfur is very strong, a few times I felt a bit lightheaded when the wind shifted (and nauseous). It is clearly signed that if the sulfur gets too bad, they close the area down.

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At the end of the hike you come to a viewing area which also happens to be where they are cooking the eggs. They have these large metal baskets, which they place into the hot water.

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I just realized that I didn’t take a lot of shots with the eggs. But they are as black as night. The taste? You will have to find that out for yourself (smile).

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As we hiked back we watched the eggs shoot down the hill on their own ropeway. I would wager they sell a lot of eggs everyday.

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As we left the valley, I began wondering about the volcanic gases. Japan is a hotbed of geological activity, with almost daily earthquakes and 2 volcanoes that rank in the top 5 for most “dangerous” to a population. In fact, the volcanic gases can be very dangerous for the unaware:

Hikers have died on volcanoes in Japan after taking a wrong turn on a trail and being overcome by volcanic gases, In April 2009, a U.S. poet, Craig Arnold, disappeared after setting off on a hike on the volcanic island of Kuchinoerabujima, 50 kilometers off the cost of southern Kyushu.

Enjoy that onsens and hot springs, they come from an interesting source.


The day that I blogged on luck I received an email from the man who always told me that “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity”.

What was that mail? I paraphrase (It was a self extracting PowerPoint that I was supposed to forward to others):

Old Chinese Proverb:

  • With money you can buy a house, but not a home.
  • With money you can buy a clock, but not time. (Sure you can, do you think Bill Gates changes light bulbs or flies on a normal plane? Nope, he buys time by having staffers and a private plane)
  • With money you can buy a bed, but not sleep. (I guess the Chinese don’t know about sleeping pills)
  • With money you can buy a book, but not knowledge. (Again, not sure I agree … I can surround myself with wise people to advise me on actions)
  • With money you can buy a doctor, but not good health. (Someone better tell Larry Ellison about this, he is spending $50M a year to research how to extend his life)
  • With money you can buy a position, but not respect.
  • With money you can buy blood, but not life. (What, no hostage situations in Chinese history?)
  • With money you can buy sex, but not love. (I bought my dog and he loves unconditionally)

This Chinese proverb brings luck. This proverb has gone around the world 8 times, now it is your turn to have good luck. Forward this to 20 people in the next 96 hours and you will receive luck via mail or the internet in the next 4 days.

Constantine got his first letter in 1953. He had his secretary make 20 copies. 9 hours later he won $99M, the largest lottery ever in his country. (How fair is that? Shouldn’t his secretary who did all the bloody work get the big win?)

Carlos received this card while working, but did not send it. Two days later, he lost his job. (Poor Carlos, if he had been working instead of screwing around with chain letters, maybe he would have kept his job). (With his new found time …) Carlos took the time to make 20 copies and mail them out to friends and family. After sending them, he became successful and rich. (The big ah-ha for Carlos was that people are suckers, he realized that people will do anything if you put superstition or ‘get rich quick’ in the message. So, Carlos started the first ever Multi-Level-Marketing company, selling Natural Herbal products that he relabeled from the local Costco and marked up 600%).

Before 96 hours, you must send this letter! This is true! (Whew, I was not going to do it, but now that you say it is true, I WILL. But wait? Who are you? Why should I believe that this is true?)

This was sent to the world by a missionary from South Africa (Ah, well, there is the answer. If it is a missionary sending it out, it must be true. After all, he/she must be a heck of a missionary as South Africa can be tough).

Luck is finally at your door. (Well, if you are, you are not coming in without a winning Lotto ticket. Otherwise, bugger off)


I did not forward this email.

And as luck would have it, the hydraulics on the plane went .. I wasted 6 hours in the airport, missed my connection and am stuck in an airport hotel. I will lose the whole day tomorrow.

That being said, I did sleep in a comfy bed and am quite well rested (Better than the red-eye I was on), the attendant was nice enough to upgrade us to business class, I am having a great bacon and egg breakfast and Serenity was playing on the hotel pay-per-view. All is not lost.

But perhaps I should have forwarded it.


Another small tip from one of my first mentors: I do not say ‘Good luck’, I say ‘Good fortune’.

One cannot control his or her luck (I personally do not believe that luck exists), but one can control his or her fortune. Simply take control, make your own world and control your destiny. God may know my destiny, it may be part of a greater plan, but I was given ‘free will’ to make my own choices and my own fortune.

An anecdote: A XEROX sales rep won rep of the month, again. This rep had a very long track record of success. As the award was announced the district manager introduced the winner with the following statement “Wow, what a surprise. Lucky for the 60th month in a row, our rep of the quarter is …”

Make your fortune. People will be amazed at how ‘lucky’ you have become.