On Wednesday, Japan celebrated a holiday. What that holiday was, I still don’t know. Usually when I ask a Japanese person what a particular holiday is for, I get a blank look as they search the vault of their brain and fail to come up with the correct answer…they just know it’s a day off!
So, anyway, I was going to go to Ube to visit a friend on said unknown holiday, but said friend advised me to come at a later date…preferably not this holiday. So, I agreed and Johnna and I went instead to a new (to us) restaurant, Jolly Pasta, and then to the, wait for it, *dun dun dun* onsen!
What is this onsen, you ask? (Wow, it’s windy outside!) An onsen is the Japanese word for a hot spring, or public bath. Yes, a public bath. No, not coed, praise the Lord. I have been in Japan for 10 months now and this was my first time to go. It was awkward with all the awkwardness of getting naked in front of people you don’t know (which only happens when I go to the doctor or when I was under the age of 2…maybe 3). But I did it!
What I thought would be one of the worst experiences for my self-esteem (have you seen Japanese women?! They are thinner than toothpicks!) actually was really beneficial for it. Why? Because, even though they definitely have a smaller stature than even me, they have just as many curves, turns, and creases as I do (or think I do). It was nice to see…no, I did not spend much time looking…that would be vulgar.
It was nice. It was not a natural hot spring, and most of it was inside the building, but on one whole wall were windows looking over to the ocean. One bath was actually outside, so the hot, hot water with the cold, cold air hitting your face, was pretty nice. The only downside was that ships would pass by through the Strait…and even though they were at least a mile or two miles away from us, I would instinctively raise my towel over my body to protect myself, just in case those slimy sailors had binoculars…you.never.know. It made me feel better.
Anywho, all in all, a very interesting experience. I made the mistake of telling one of my ladies’ classes about it and that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Now they are determined to take me again before I leave. Such is life in the big city, or the little country, or the land of the rising sun. That sounds more like it! More to come soon. 🙂