A brief note on a brief trip-- on the spur of the moment on our Wednesday half day, Kenny invited me on a road trip to Oyasukyo in the south. Without much knowing what to expect, I tagged along-and found myself (after rhetorically omitting the ensuing 1 hour drive) climbing down a steep set of stairs angled into a deep river gorge, which appeared, in the rainy late afternoon, to be steaming. It wasn't my imagination-- from the rock on either side of the ravine, geothermal steam and hot water sprayed into the river. Not surprisingly, the area around is known for its hot spring baths-- a reminder of the seismic forces that continue to shape the islands, and, now that I have the location in my phone, the possible destination for a road trip of my own!
It seemed fitting to top the evening's "hot rock" theme off with a bowl of ishiyaki ("stone cooked") ramen at a nearby specialist restaurant -- noodles and cold broth cooked instantly in a superheated granite bowl. Here I am dutifully following instructions by shielding myself from spatter with the provided informational placemats.