[[[This post contains some amount of rant, if you can’t handle it, please leave now!]]]
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.
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!
However unlike nude beaches you don’t really wander around with your products en exposé, so thank god for that little towel eh?
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”
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 more 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!
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…
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! 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”.
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 !
Also, the older the people are the more they will stare at you too !
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!*
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..
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 mens shower rooms, changing rooms etc.. Like what the actual F**********************?!!
It’s not that I’m shy or anything, but it’s just, well..
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!
-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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