Kurotamago (くろたまご/黒卵), The Secret to a Long Life?
Hakone, Japan 2011
The Fountain of Youth was once thought to bestow life on any person who partook of its sparkling waters. Many an explorer went in search of this fountain: the legendary Ponce de Leon, the infamous exploratory team of Steven Spielberg & Indiana Jones (some time after they went on that crap-trip looking for the Crystal Skull), the mysterious Chester Copperpot, everyone’s favorite kid adventurers…the Goonies, Atreyu & Falcor, and yours truly. Alas…the magical fountain was never found.
I loved hearing stories about the fountain of youth, but when I heard that Ponce de Leon went looking for it in Florida, it kinda killed the whole thing for me. I live in Georgia and most of my family is from Florida…so that squeezed out every drop of mysticism.
Because so many explorers were searching for the blasted thing, I figured why keep competing in an over-saturated niche? I snatched up my exploring kit (whatever the hell that means) and came to Japan. Some of my fellow archaeologists and I conducted a large-scale archaeological dig, and found something quite cool in the mountains of Kanagawa…the Onyx Eggs of Hakone.
In Hakone, one of the famous souvenirs along the Hakone Ropeway (Owakudani) are kurotamago (くろたまご or 黒卵), aka black eggs. The shells of these special eggs, have been blackened by boiling them in the waters of a volcanic fissure in the area. I don’t know the exact reason why the shells turn black, but I’m guessing it’s because of the composition of water that they’re boiled in.
Rumor has it that for each kurotamago you eat, you get seven additional years of life!! SWEET!! I didn’t hear anything about the eggs making a person younger mind you, they simply extend life. Since I was there, I figured why not? You get five eggs, for five-hundred yen. That works out to a measily 100 yen for seven additional years! Pretty cheap, wouldn’t you say? No, no, that’s More like the steal of a lifetime…literally.
I took my bag of eggs and sat down. I cautiously took out one of the eggs. As soon as I managed to expose just a portion of the black shell to the air around me, I heard a blaring of the Hallelujah Chorus right behind me. I nearly dropped the egg I just bought. I slipped it back into the bag…and the music stopped. Was nobody else hearing this, but me? I pulled the egg again, and the same music began to play. It was all good, I didn’t mind the Hallelujah Chorus, so I just ignored it and got back to the matter at hand, extending my life.
Once I broke the shell, the music stopped.
It was only the shells that were black, on the inside it was pretty much like a regular boiled egg inside. I bit into half of the egg, chewing cautiously. I ate the other half and I waited. I didn’t feel any special tingle, rush of blood to my brain, increased heart rate, or anything like that. I figured maybe I needed to eat the rest to get the full effect.
I ravenously devoured the four remaining eggs. Still nothing spec…”Wait! Wait! I feel something!? Oh, nah, that’s just indigestion.”