December 29, 2014

Free Lunch Before Christmas

You know the saying “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”? Let me tell you that sometimes there are semi-free lunches.

In mid-December, the Rising Family benefited from an online marketing campaign flogging timeshare condos in Hakone, a town not far from Mt. Fuji that is famous among Tokyoites as a weekend getaway destination famous for its onsen hot spring resorts and Lake Ashi-no-ko. 
My enterprising wife had entered an online “contest” offering this luxury experience and we “won.” The catch was that we had to meet with a sales representative of the luxury condo company for 90 minutes to view a video and hear his or her pitch. If we had gone on a weekday the cost of the room and three meals would be 100 yen. Weekends were so popular that the whole family would have to pay 6,000 yen.

Why not give it a try? we thought, skeptical though we are of anything reeking of too good to be true. But I am also merciless in applying my helpless/hapless gaijin act when necessary to get out of tiresome situations. So, if there was any whiff of a scam, we’d simply hightail it outta there before partaking of anything.

The entire weekend unfolding precisely as it was explained to us pleasantly surprised me. We got a weekend in a luxury apartment with a Jacuzzi and hot spring access, three terrific meals for the whole family, in a town renowned for its scenery, for the price of a tank of gas. 

Why did we deserve this bounty? Perhaps a pre-Christmas present from fate or Karmic payback? Beats me. All I know is our salesperson was pleasant and not-too-surprised to see a foreigner show up, we fulfilled our side of the bargain, as did he. Business completed…hello relaxation.

Elena indulged in the massage chair within ten minutes of entering the apartment. 
Naomi lauded the quality of the Japanese food. Marina and I were mesmerized by the UFO-like light vortex of the Jacuzzi at night.
We all considered ourselves lucky to have had this soothing and rejuvenating experience! The only downside is that it may be hard to convince the Rising Daughters to go back to camping when the weather warms up next summer.

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