Onsen o Onsen wherefore art thou Onsen?

[[[This post contains some amount of rant, if you can’t handle it, please leave now!]]]

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Heaven on earth, bath of deities, soul and body cleanser… it is the Onsen!

Visiting my first onsen was an outstanding experience, it was a revelation, it’s like i was born for this particular experience..

I have never been addicted to anything in my life beyond Cheetos and Cho-co-late, but Onsen man!
It’s just da shizzle! <— good thing.

Moving on.. 

 

So you went to Onsen for the first time, if you are like me and you came from a country where you don’t have Onsens, then you might understand the awkwardness of your first time there! Yes, it’s Nude-a-tay! 

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However unlike nude beaches you don’t really wander around with your products en exposé, so thank god for that little towel eh?
kekekeke
Wait which country laughs like this again?

Your first time though might have required more than just that little piece of cloth, you’d be telling the Onsen guy who gave you the towel,
[with the Queen of England’s accent]
“Sir, you do not expect me to wrap my belongings in that tiny piece of cloth do you?” holding the towel with the tip of your fingers, you continue “Please provide me with a proper towel”

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Your eye closed and eye brows and nose are all up in your forehead by now.
You peek after few minutes of silence. Guess what, you have been ditched a long time ago and the vendor whom you were talking to, has already finished dealing with 3 other customers that came after you.
You understand by then that this is all you get..

 

You went to the shower room, scrubbed, got into the onsen,  experienced heaven, went out, got the scrubbing going again, showered, wore your cloth, and left!
Woohoo, Onsen 101 is complete!

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Now that you have been there, you directly promote yourself into a Japanese Obachan and start judging new foreigners experiencing Onsen, as if you were born in one and didn’t go through any of this before. Like 5 mins ago… 

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Anyway… This is not the point.
Let’s talk about you as an experienced onset user. A “gaijin” experienced Onsen user…

What ticks you off as an Onsen experienced foreigner?

New foreigners experiencing onsen tick you off, that’s what!pGyhLLG.gif Especially those who do not reside in Japan, and are here on vacation for few days and they came to “get the experience”.
They are looking in every direction,  they are lost, they didn’t shower or clean themselves “properly” before getting in, they got the towel in the water, they are swimming as if in a pool, they are shouting, they are self aware, they are basically signalling to everyone with a megaphone “WE ARE NEW HERE, BUT WE ARE NOT GOING TO ACT LIKE WE DON’T KNOW WHAT WE ARE DOING, EVEN THOUGH WE ARE”.

 

I honestly stopped going to Oedo Onsen Monogatari because it’s like it has this imaginary neon slogan that says “Experience onsen for the first time here as a foreigner”.

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I tend to go to onsens far away from the city, secluded onsens, or those that are less likely to be visited by foreigners.

However, this is also a problem!

Please see the figures below..

The further away you are from the city, the more people will stare at you [1]!

Yes, unfortunately.

 

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Also, the older the people are the more they will stare at you too [2]!

 

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You just have to live with it.

It feels awkward when you step into the onsen and everyone is looking at you, and you are like, is something wrong? am i doing a faux pas? do i have a tattoo i don’t know about?
..it can get annoying sometimes..
Also you might wonder where to look while “all eyes are on you”.. not something to be very excited about btw..

You could be just standing there looking at a wall knowing that everyone is staring at you and you want to act like it’s not happening, but one of your eye balls shifts and sees that they actually are, and then you bring the one eye ball back to continue staring at the wall. *couldn’t find the Homer Simpson gif where he does that!*
Oh well..

Another thing that you might dislike about Onsens are kids..

Sorry, i am not the grinch or anything, but when i go to onsen, i go there for peace and quite, for relaxation, and to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and life in general.

You get those parents sometime though.. 

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Those particular parents want to exhibit their children’s skills. So they start by telling them to count till 100 for example, or recite the ABCs, or recite the whatever it is they want them to, but frankly no one cares in the Onsen about your child’s skills and abilities. Keeping  them quite is the best ability to show off for both you and your children.

The last part of the rant goes to the cleaning lady that goes into the men’s shower rooms, changing rooms etc.. Like what the actual F**********************?!!
It’s not that I’m shy or anything, but it’s just, well..

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Ya know?!

 

Anyway, despite these, more or less, minor inconveniences, Onsen will remain one of the best things i appreciate about Japan!

If you ever visit Japan, visit an Onsen. It is an experience like no other!

Tips about Onsen:

-Best Onsens are those that are NOT in major cities, go to the mountains! 
-It is better to experience Onsen in winter than in summer.
-Go to  places where it snows and experience Onsens there! You might also be joined by cute little monkeys!
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-Visit Onsens with breathtaking views, like the ones in Shizuoka 
-Visit Onsen near volcanic grounds.. too minerals, much healthy!
-Onsen has many health benefits, for mind and body!

So… LIVE, LOVE, ONSEN!!!

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References:

[1] Legit citation

[2] Really Legit citation

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Trains in Tokyo

Trains, trains, da trains man! (Read this in Jamaican accent)

I’m not here to write about the typical Japanese train ettiequte that you already know by now! Something like, don’t eat, don’t talk, don’t use your phone while in the train..etc.
This goes beyond, way beyond!

Let’s start from the beginning.

1- Purchasing a ticket.

Please buy a train card instead! Put it in your wallet or inside of your phone’s cover, and swim through the crowed like you are Pocahontas dashing through the leaves!
It makes life easier for you and everyone else!

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On that note, make sure that there is always money in it! When you are dashing through the leaves, there are 10,000 other ballerinas trying to dash behind you. If that awful, awful sound of the card machine rejecting you goes off, we are all automatically mad at you. You know it, we know, but no body will show it (It-a-rhymes)! (because it’s Japan 🙂 )

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2- Walk as if yo mama called you with your full name!

bf01d833e7ddb97413cc625c22b3cda3.gifCongrats, you bought your subway card and you are gliding! Now, walk.. fast!
People here are trying to get somewhere, and they want to get there fast; yesterday if possible! If you are a slowpoke, people
will basically run you over. Just walk as fast as possible and get out of people’s way!

 

3- Royal guards, anyone?

You are now at the platform waiting for the train. Stand where indicated by the lines on the floor. Please contribute to making a proper queue, don just stand like an outlier! Do you know what researchers do to outliers? THEY REMOVE THEM! MUAHAHAHAH! (I make bad jokes all the time!)
Once the train arrives, ‘royal welcoming’ begins!
You move your body and stand sideways as if you are welcoming someone to your house, “please come in, we have been expecting you” to make room for them to get out, so that you can go in.

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If you think there is no space on that train, think again! People tend to stand by the door, while the middle part where people are sitting is typically not as full. Push your way through!

4- In da train! (You read that in Jamaican accent didn’t you?)

Now that you are in the train, you want to find seats. This is how you do it.

You actually have to start looking while you are outside the train, and if that cart you were waiting for is packed, just go to the next one!
What if the next one was also packed?
a- Your legs are screwed! (s-zone; s for standing)
b- You hunt for a seat like you are on an expensive safari and haven’t seen a single wild animal yet, and can’t Facebook/Instagram your money’s worth!
c- All of them are full? You wait until someone leaves and attack that empty seat.
Attack it i say!!!
If you had to be in the ‘s’ zone throughout the trip, then there is no helping it, sorry… (しょうがない)。
S-zone. Just stand near the door if you are getting off at the next station, if you are going for a long ride, stand facing someone that you will likely inherit soon. Someone who looks like he/she is ready to go, like your grandparents for example! haha (sorry, that was an inappropriate joke). Standing can sometimes get tricky, just so you know, it’s bad ettiequte to sit on your luggage, to sit on someone else’s lap, etc..

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5- The holy seat!

You found that empty seat, shining like the imperial japanese flag! You actually sat down. Oh, your tushy is now warm and everything is nice and cosy! You look up and there is someone looking at you and you are looking at them too. It’s awkward, what should you do? You look to the left/right but it’s weird, also there might be someone looking at you from that side too. Darn it.. You look up, but you realise that you switched to prayer mode, all you need is to put your hands together and AAA~men!. Ok, next best option is to play with your phone. Argh, i don’t have anything to do on my phone now. I guess i’ll just text mom. >_>
Worst is when your battery is low or you need it later, what do you do then? sleep ma man, just sleeping beauty all the way, waiting for the kiss of that speaker to wake you up at your next destination.

Seating unwritten rules. Let’s say you are seated in the middle of a 7-person train seat, and there are 2 people sitting at the corners, when one of them leaves, you get up and fill that empty corner! You dig?
Even though you can’t hear it, but that corner is screaming load, it’s annoying and won’t shut up until it is occupied! Please occupy it if you are closest to it. It’s your duty! Also, there might be a prize awaiting you there! The corner handle makes a great umbrella holder! You deserve that! Don’t be like the girl in the picture below! 😡

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Other things when sitting down include, falling in love. Yes, when she looks at you and you catch that, you look back, she keeps looking, you look again, you smile, she smiles, fireworks, tsunami, blood off noses “Shiodome, Shiodome desu” the speaker utters..
It’s her stop :/
She leaves as if she was standing on a hoverboard, waving goodbye like Miss USA. Tears in your eyes while you wave back to your only chance of dating (Japan’s work load #what’sup?)

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If you are sick, wear a freaking mask! wear it, wear it, wear it! No body cares how good looking you are at that point really! If you are a great looking girl who can woo any guy on earth, once you have those coughs, people are seeing you a virus, a green slimy round organism (not an accurate description of a virus, i know). So wrap those cheeks, cover that mouth and nose, and let’s be friends for now

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6- Getting off the train

Just stand up (If you were lucky to sit down) and leave gracefully. nothing to see here!

 

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