Category Archives: day to day life

School fest

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October 29, 2011

Jr. High School Festival

Taking the simple stuff and making it fantastic

This is a post that’s been sittin’ on the burners a while, sorry. There’s been so much going on these last few months. The second I can relax, I usually fall asleep. As of right now, I’m going through the last few weeks of classes and it’s wearing me down. I said my last “See you” to one of my elementary schools the other day and I was this close to crying in front of everyone. Giving me goodbye letters was hard enough but then one class actually read them all aloud to me… now that I can actually understand basic Japanese it was like a lovely kind of torture. My junior high kids are going to kill me, figuratively.

Let’s time travel back to the end of October. Also a busy time but full of awesome. My JHS was prepping for this festival. I kept hearing about it but didn’t understand exactly what it was or how it worked. All I knew was that I would be at the school the day before and the day of the event.

Next thing I know, I’m wandering the halls after my classes were finished just looking for trouble. I ended up making paper flowers, connecting paper chain links, giving painting advice, and generally being a huge distraction for the kids. They spent days getting materials together and making all sorts of artsy decorations.

All the stairwells in use for the day had these strips across them. I thought it was really smart way to get an interesting perspective effect.

And of course there were advertisements for the different ‘corners’ around the school. There were areas for snacks and all manner of games. One was a Japanese game show style, another was a gesture comedy show like Who’s Line Is It Anyway.

The opening ceremony had the best banner I’d ever seen come out of JHS.

Next there were a few speech contest winners who presented in Japanese.

One student, a first year, gave her English speech that one speech contests here and also nationwide. Rather impressive.

Next came the singing competition. Each class had to sing a song and there were trophies for the winners of each grade (in Japan, JHS has 3 grades – 7, 8, and 9 but call them 1, 2, 3 years). The trophies weren’t awarded until the end of the day… a few of the 3rd year girls cried because they were upset about not winning. It was little competition, unfortunately. The girls were all evenly matched but the boys were a bit more obvious in their weaknesses.

All in all, it was a lovely day. I felt honored to be a part of it. It gave me a chance to connect more with the students outside of a classroom setting. Some of them open up amazingly when not confronted with a blackboard.

The real surprise is their level of dedication. They aren’t even in high school and they’re more focused and organized than half the folks I knew in college. It blew my mind at first. After a while, I became less jaded and saw some the possible problems that cause and are caused by this high level of dedication. To name one, the conformity dilemma. Nothing wrong with it out right but the suppression of independent thought is a bit of an issue for me. I’ll have to devote a whole post to this topic, however.

Next, I’ll try to get Hiroshima and a couple other posts done before I leave Japan. Now I’m off to add (or distract) my JHS kids during their prep for graduation. I hear we’ll be drawing on blackboards and decorating the whole school for the 3rd years. Why is it so sad!

With love – M

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Candles across rice fields

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Senmaida Light Up – October 8 and other random thoughts

I realize my last couple posts have likely been, well… boring. Sorry. I’m lucky to be posting at all. These winter months are eating away at my soul more than usual. We’re finally getting some snow again, however, so things should be on the rise. What I mean is: if it’s gotta be dark when I wake up and dark when I come home, at least I have snow to play in. But the winter solstice is long past and the days are only getting longer from here on! Always look on the bright side of life, do dodo dodo dodo dodo.

Anyway, thanks to Joel helping to set up my ‘new’ computer during his visit for the holidays, I have been taking time to organize and configure everything to my liking. Now that all is where it should be, I can get down to business. Lots to do in the last weeks in Japan. Gotta finish some projects, update my portfolio(s), update online sites like LinkedIn, line up job interviews for April, decide what I’m leaving and taking when I head back to the States, and somewhere in there I need to ENJOY my remaining time in Japan.

Moving on. I shall recap an excursion that took place over 2 weekends. First weekend was a relaxing drive up to Wajima, the long way round on the westerly seaside. Below are a series of photos from the drive up with Nicole and Anna.

This is Ganmon.

Then we found our way to an old temple that doubles as a cafe out in the wilds of the Noto. Adorable little place with yummy hot cocoa and tasty cakes.

The next weekend we joined forces with some more friends and headed up the faster way, stopping for lunch at a local place that serves something special. It’s called Notodon with Noto being this whole peninsula area and don meaning a bowl (of rice). So these local joints take only local ingredients for the Notodons and we had beef something or other at this particular place on the bay side. It was excellent. Definitely not Sukiya style. Sorry I forgot to snap a shot, everyone was taking pictures so I got lazy.

So here are some shots of Wajima and one of their temples.

And this is Senmaida, our reason for the outing. It means 10,000 rice fields. Since it’s on a mountain side, the rice fields have to be set up like this. I assume it helps with irrigation and so on. It was gorgeous.

And then there was, of course, real fire. No Japanese festival is complete without a little fire. People lined the larger path and were given sticks with stuff on the ends and then they lit eachother up. Woohoo. Thankfully, I don’t believe anyone was injured. I wasn’t sure how I felt about some of the little old ladies holding up those big torches. I had to keep reminding myself that these were not the little old ladies from Delaware. These were inaka women. I wouldn’t wanna get in a tangle with them, not even the centennial ones.

What can I say about the Senmaida Light Up? It was gorgeous. We got lucky with good weather and a lovely sunset. There were a few vendors, same old same old. Not as good as the Fire and Violence Festival in Suzu but that was a much bigger venue anyway. We walked all around and through the paths of the rice fields. It was surreal going from top to bottom… and a bit tiring heh. The music performances and taiko were all fabulous. I loved the children’s taiko! Such skill. And of course the adults came on after and blew them out of the water.

I wouldn’t give up Nanao for Wajima (it’s super rural) but it’s definitely a must see if you’re in the area. There’s something to be said for the serenity and grace of the country side in Japan (and most other countries, of course).

With love – M

 

To go or not to go

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Weighing the pros and cons of visiting home for an ALT

For every ALT there comes a time when, for one reason or another, he or she is confronted with the decision to visit the home from whence the came. For me it was no different.

I debated with myself a bit before leaving home as to whether I would actually come home during my year or two away. Then that possibility of 2 years was cut down by a couple personal reasons (one of which is everyone’s getting married!! How dare they ask me to be a part of such a special event… ). So being left with only one year abroad, I thought ‘Well I don’t really need to come home, right? It’s expensive!’ The more people asked if I was coming home in the summer at all, the more I questioned my conviction.

When the time came to own up and stay in Japan for the 2 weeks in August or go home, I went home. Why? Because I didn’t pay for it, for starters. I did not have enough money to pay for it so I thought the matter was settled. Boyfriends can have a way of overturning that it seems. It ended up being what I needed. I saw some friends, ate too much good food, got to see family, and of course spent exorbitant amounts of time with my significant other. Somehow I can’t remember half what I did but I’m sure it was all good times.

My details

  • The flight over was freakishly fast. Well, all except for the quick stop over in Chicago…going from Japanese folks for 4 months to brash and loud Americans in a cramped little airplane was not my idea of awesome.
  • THE FOOD man had I missed cheese. I don’t remember how many times I had Mexican but it was likely one too many… or never enough. Aside from my favorite joints, there was also my mom’s cooking which I may cry over when they eventually move to North Carolina. I don’t think I wait for Thanksgiving and Easter every year for her cooking.
  • I spent way too much time laying around while I was home but unfortunately, it couldn’t be helped. Whether it was jet lag or I was just tired still from the Tokyo trip, I don’t know, but I was beat. Everyday I’d be ok until the afternoon and then I’d crash.
  • While home I went to masseuse certified in pressure point therapy. It hurt but was worth it. I had a serious problem on the plane with my feet swelling it up. It happened for the first time before that during the night bus ride to Tokyo. Like balloons, they were.
  • I was having such a nice time at home that I started having second thoughts about coming back. Though I enjoyed my time thus far in Japan, I was still experiencing a lot of heartbreak for those familiar and comfortable things at home in the States. If my boy hadn’t been so strong, I would’ve stayed home in August. It was nice to know that it was hard for him but also that he understood how important it was for me to go back and work through the full year.
  • The flight back to Japan felt a bit longer but not bad. I kept more attention on my feet, wiggling my toes and so on to get blood moving. The still puffed up pretty bad though and stayed puffy for longer than necessary.

I took absolutely not one single photo while I was home. There were several factors involved in this result but I like to tell myself that the biggest one was that I was just having too much fun. The exhaustion and busy days with family and friends may have had something to do with it, too.

So that’s the question, to go or not. No matter what an ALT’s personal reasons may be, it usually comes down to money. If you can afford it and you need that time back in your hometown, do it!

For those ALT’s or other travelers with significant others waiting for them, it can be done. I have the proof. Thankfully, I have a boy who has a good job and can afford to fly out to see me in December. Eight months of waiting may have been a bit much for us… but I don’t doubt we would’ve lasted. A year is just a drop in the bucket and it’s not like we don’t live our lives while we’re apart. Those lives may be a bit… duller but we’re still enjoying each day for what it is.

My advice would be to keep relative contact. You don’t need to talk everyday, it’ll get old fast. You’ll end up just recounting your actions rather than having a meaningful conversation. But set specific times aside each weekend when you absolutely spend that time together online. My boy and I are gamers so it’s easy for us to ‘spend time together’ online. Otherwise, devise little projects you can work on together like learning Japanese together or something artsy.

Remember! Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Maybe the best thing to come out of this year away from home has been how detailed my boy and I can now be when asked what we like in eachother. Being apart, we notice the little things (and the big) more clearly because suddenly they aren’t there. A broad example would be my extravagant sense of optimism and his realistic skepticism.

Well this has gone on to long already and there aren’t even any pictures. Next will be, hopefully, my Tokyo trip which actually happened just before leaving to come home. Unfortunately, it’s LONG and shall be put into two parts.

With love – M

To Anan and back

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A short trip to see Nathalie’s town and get stuck in a typhoon.

Again, long over due. This little adventure happened back in mid July. Better late than never! With all these typhoons we’re getting right now, I can’t help but be remind of this trip. The trip was planned to be me traveling to Osaka and then to Tokushima and finally Anan on Saturday and return on Tuesday since I was able to get an extra day off after the holiday.

I started out on an early Thunderbird (that’s the super train in these parts) and made a quick changeover in Osaka to a bus. While I was waiting in line to buy a ticket, a nice fatherly man started making random chitchat with me using surprisingly good English. After I got my ticket I took a minute to gather my stuff together and he caught up with me to make the conversation more official. As it turns out, he was a JTE (that’s Japanese Teacher of English) for many years at a highschool way up in the mountains a few hours from Osaka. He was traveling alone and made it very clear that he prefers it that way.

Being curious I asked why and he said that he had never found a companion that didn’t make traveling irritating. His wife especially drove him mad and even his best friend was too much trouble. He said he prefers the alone time because it makes it much easier to interact with foreigners he runs into along the way. I absolutely understood this because being such a person, I prefer not to be suddenly surrounded by tourists interested in practicing their English for extended periods of time. It’s much nicer one on one and not so confusing.

He was super nice. Asked if I wanted to get a cup of coffee but unfortunately I don’t drink coffee and said I just needed to eat a fast lunch instead. He then offered to show me to the nearest food area so I could grab something before getting on my bus. I already new the area really well from my last Osaka trip but it was kind nonetheless. We parted but as I was sitting in the little cafe eating my sandwich, who should round the corner but my little friend eager as a beaver to squeeze in some more English before I left. He had some interesting philosophies on the differences between western foreigners thought processes and those native to Japan. I wanted to agree that my folks, Americans, were not living sustainable or at all in tune with our natural environment on a daily basis… but certain things kept coming into my head about whaling, personal freedoms, and the unfortunate downside to constantly following the “wa” system (see my older post) that I decided it best if I kept my mouth shut. Smile and nod. It’s the “wa” system in action. Maybe he would’ve benefited by my counter-idea, who knows.

Finally I made my way to the bus and was given the only seat with an empty seat next to eat. Praise Jesus or whoever. It was perfect because my bum is a little more than typical Japanese standard… just a little heh. I probably saw the most scenery of Shikoku on that bus ride out of my whole trip. The mountain formations were really interesting. I should have snapped some photos but I only had my phone cam and it’s not the best with motion. I’ll try to paint you a mental image: you know those huge paintings in Chinese restaurants and buffets? The ones with the little fishing boat gliding on the water with huge odd looking mountains all around that look impossible they’re so slender? Those are what I saw. Take a mountain, shave away the outside until it’s almost a cylinder from top to bottom.

After meeting up with Nathalie and getting my rental bike, we dropped my stuff at her place and headed for dinner. Dinner was a 5k bike ride away at the nearest super kaitenzushi. We were so bushed by the time we got there. Red faced and frothing at the mouth. This was summer in Japan mind you with the humidity that comes just before a big typhoon. We stuffed ourselves and before it got too dark and buggy we headed back for conbini ice cream and lots of sleep.

The next day, Nat’s friend took us around for a little sightseeing in Tokushima City, the closest big city to Anan. She had a car. It was lovely. First was food. Real udon, my first time.

The strange statue outside the noodle shop.

Some mountain top viewing of the city.

The next day was by train and foot, back to the city for some wandering before the storm hit too hard. There was Awa Odori stuff everywhere.

 

Delicious foodstuffs.

Nat being herself at the train station. We got off too early. Boo.

But the waiting presented a photo-op of some Totoro graffiti.

And the morning after was my giant bowl of oatmeal and banana courtesy of Nat.

Then the ridiculousness began. The typhoon hit on Tuesday, the day I was to head home. I had work on Wednesday morning and an important party for a JTE I didn’t want to miss in the evening. We tried to find out what was what with the trains and it seemed things were fine so we bundled up, wrapped my stuff in plastic, and headed out on the bikes… through a typhoon. Eventually we were just walking the bikes because the wind was so hard it would’ve toppled us and the rain stung our faces too badly. We then returned the bike in town and walked to the station. The bike man looked super surprised to see us.

I went in, got my ticket and hopped on the next train to Tokushima.

Once there, I ran to the bus terminal and asked about a ticket to Osaka. No tickets, no buses. What about later? I asked. Nope. And tomorrow? Don’t know yet, maybe yes maybe no. Depends on the storm. Crap.

I made some frantic texts and calls to Nat and my supervisors. There was more talking involved than I think was necessary with my company but eventually they got the concept that there was no way I was going to be able to leave Shikoku until the following day if I was lucky. And Nat’s wonderful friend with a car was so wonderful and picked me up from the station after only a few hours waiting. I was concerned about getting a hotel room because of all the other travelers stranded there. One girl sitting next to me with her mom was calling all the local hotels to find a room that wasn’t ridiculously expensive for the night. I think she found a place at the Toyoko Inn just as I was leaving. I looked back at her as I got up to leave and she gave me a slow nod to say she would be okay. Yay for not needing words sometimes.

The next day there was some seriously anxious waiting involved at the train station while they got things up and running again. It was a nice little trip, excitement and anxiety. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Shikoku another time. After all was said and done, I made it home to Nanao by 10pm and Nicole picked my exhausted self up. I was done with traveling for a while after that… oh wait… one week later was the Tokyo trip. What was I thinking?!

With love – M

Matsuri of FIRE

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Experiencing the Fire and Violence Festival in Suzu

So many pictures to go through >.<! Right now I’m really loathing writing this… but maybe talking about it will help me push through it. I’ve been getting so much better about not putting things off as long as I can remember those things. My little notebook has become more and more of a diary written in shorthand and to-do lists. Since I don’t have internet at any of my schools, it comes down to organizing my life in that little book and writing up blog posts during free periods.

Okay, time warp. Back to July something or other day, 2011. The Fire and Violence Festival oooooo exciting. I didn’t know what to expect, to be honest. I assumed the obvious. What I got was, well… the obvious.

Friday was FIRE and lots of it. From the photos you can see what I mean. We thought the starter bonfire was cool. Then they started to light the big boys. There were at least 6 of those huge pine polls with tinder wrapped around them, ready to bust into flames.

A dude would take another long pole, bamboo most likely, wrap a rag around it and then dumped it in a can of something before setting it alight. He’d then very precariously reach out with up to touch the fire to the pine poll.

Off in the distance, across the little harbor at the center of town, we saw a long row of twinkling lanterns.

Oh and here’s us minus me before we got to the ‘stage’ area. There were some fireworks already going off. Sorry about the blur.

Then they came to us. These huge portable shrine things with kids playing music on top and town folks carrying them underneath. It was pretty crazy. The music was all the same song, I assume, but none of the shrines where playing together so it became this strange cacophony of sound as more and more shrines poured into the area. We didn’t even stay to see the last shrine. It was getting really late and we were tired and still had to drive the 2 hours back to Nanao.

Saturday was the Violence night. Nicole and I decided we crash in the car (not crash the car!) following the events of the evening. Liquor was the name of the game that night. Not just for spectators either. Everyone was drunk in some fashion. There were a lot less kids that night though, don’t worry.

Oh and the vendors! Of course there were vendors. It wouldn’t be a festival without them. A couple were particularly awesome. I got a sweet Gundam pin for my boyfriend and some delicious stuff on a stick. I kept going back to this one chicken on a stick place that was fantastic. I heart salt. And there was a beef man. His stuff was amazing.

Anyway, there we were – watching these men carry this wooden shrine down the streets of this compact little town in the middle of nowhere. All of sudden they would stop and throw that sommamabitch down and jump all over it yelling and screaming. They’d rock it over, back and forth, a preistly looking character would say some prayers and then the men would turn it back over, pick it up, and continue on their way to the next spot. Sorry for the lack of pictures but there was no way I was taking my nice camera. I took my phone (actually has a pretty nice camera function) but it was dark so I took video instead. Unfortunately… it’s in .3g2 format and I can’t figure out how to get it out.

Then they made it to the river er, large creek. On the bridge, they threw it off into the water and then quickly followed. Pounding and picking up and throwing against the high walls ensued. These guys must have been in some crazy rage to do all of this. I imagine there were lots of swore parts in the days to follow. I was lucky, however, and remained unharmed, mostly dry, and even found a piece of wood that had broken off of the shrine.

To the fire! They picked it up and continued the throwing and praying ritual until they reached a little waterfall/creek area. There was already a huge pine poll, like the night before, blazing next to the water. The shrine gets thrown in first, then the men and then the violence continues but this time with fire. By the time they hauled it out, we were bushed. So we said our thanks and made our long trek back to the car to sleep off our ridiculous night. We awoke to 5 eagles screaming at each other on a wire over top of the car and a cute little Japanese woman picking up leftover trash from the festival yelling back at the eagles. Nicole and I just looked at each other and laughed.

Oh! and then a random Cruella d’Ville car in Shika-machi. Weird.

 

With love – M

Habits

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Organizing the behaviors that differ between what I’m used to and what goes on in my part of Japan.

There’s such a large spectrum of bizarre things that the Japanese do. Well, bizarre to me. Let’s be clear: I hail from a middle sized city, close to another very large city, with a very Americanized social structure, mixtures of races and cultures, and I was raised in the ‘burbs. Just about anywhere I go, people seem to do strange things. It’s no surprise that Japan was odd to me.

Thankfully, I was prepared for many things when I first flew over. Customs like changing into house slippers in people’s homes, some restaurants, and schools. Or etiquette for onsen bathing and proper introductions between people. Other things I knew about but didn’t fully understand their scope until I experienced them first hand, usually when making some silly social mistakes. Things like how no matter what people say, unless they have an understanding of the literal nature of the way we speak in the west, is taken as an indirect way to say something completely different. An example is when I ask my company branch something, I get the oddest, loop around, response. It takes me a day to think about why I got the response and what I need to respond with in order to get to the heart of the question. むずかしね。Difficult. But it’s all about maintaining the ‘Wa’ here.

Beyond the many business oriented social rigamorole, there are many behaviors that peak my interest. The rate at which things are built here is astounding when compared to what I’m used to seeing back home. Not that construction workers at home are lazy or ineffective. In Japan, they appear to work at near lightening speed. A friend and I were driving on 159 and saw the base of a house being built. She challenged that in a couple weeks, there would be a fully finished house standing there. Sure enough, she was right. Road construction is equally impressive. I wonder what their secret is…

Little things like the amount of squatting people do on a regular basis is a constant source of glee for me. When the students have a big meeting and are allowed to squat for a period but not sit for whatever reason, they all look like a bunch of cute little frogs chillin’ on rocks. Or sometimes when someone squats and is thinking real hard about something, they look like they are taking an imaginary poo.

Only 3 weeks till I fly home for my August break! I’m trying to stay as busy as possible to help time fly and to soak up as much as I can of a Japanese summer. Festivals everywhere you turn, parties and izakaya (imagine a bar with awesome food and drinks but with private, closed off seating areas instead of regular bar or pub) outings, trips to cities/towns. I haven’t had the time for a lazy day at the beach yet! And I’m surrounded by beaches within 40 minutes on almost all sides. They aren’t the cleanest beaches however. Oo side step back to topic!

The streets in Japan are, typically, immaculately clean. Even during a huge festival, towns people are hard at work gathering the junk left behind. It shows so much pride. In contrast, their beaches couldn’t be more trashed. It may be that no matter where you are around the world there will be trash that washes up on the shore. In my experiences on the East Coast of the States, either towns people or hired city workers patrol the beaches for trash. I’ve even found myself reaching for the few bits of trash left behind.

Rarely have I come across a beach littered and water clogged with junk as it is here in my area of Japan. And it’s not as though they have too many beaches to monitor. Much of Japan’s shores are cliff-sides or cemented barriers to protect from tsunami’s and such things. What little beach they do have is left to fend for itself. No boardwalks, few seaside eateries, and few clean areas to lay down a blanket. There’s glass, plastic containers, dead fish, long rope, clothing, and more. It’s like someone took a Walmart and dumped its contents into the Sea of Japan.

Being the beach bums that we are, my friend Nicole and I have discussed coming to one of the beaches for the sole purpose of doing a clean up. Secretly, we hope that our efforts will embarrass the people who live there into taking more pride in their lovely little beaches. In the defense of some towns, I have seen a beach where the debris had been collected into large piles along the shoreline, though I don’t know if it has been or will be removed. It could also be the case that no one bothers to clean the beaches until August, when kids have their summer break and most families take their vacations. But it’s so hot already! It feels like a sin to be so close to the ocean and have such disrespect for a beach that could be helping hundreds or thousands of people relax (and spend money at the town’s establishments!).

With love – M

It’s good to be naked

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First time at the onsen.

I have no photos yet of this marvelous experience but I will post them as soon as I can. Obviously, not of anyone actually naked but of the bath house itself. I may try to negotiate a picture of the bath area during closing time if I can muster the guts to do so.

For those who don’t know, an onsen is a hot spring that has been fitted for human use. Monkeys use the natural ones in the mountains but I’ve yet to see an animal in one of the people ones. It would likely be considered unclean to have them in there. I digress. The one I went to is in Wakura, one of the most famous onsen towns in Ishikawa. It’s not too far, maybe 15 minute drive or so and was just remodeled. They really like cedar here (or maybe that’s the most abundant tree) so there’s a lot of very lightly stained cedar everywhere and it smells awesome. For this adventure, one of my new found friends named Karen had invited me along. I couldn’t have asked for a better ‘first time onsen trip partner’.

Step by step: first, we took off our shoes and stored them in a little lock box. Then we bought our tickets from a machine and handed them to a woman at the main desk. That part is always a little odd to me… why not just give you the money but oh well. I’m sure it has a good reason for time efficiency that I just haven’t caught yet. Then to the correct door… important… and removal of ALL clothing and storing it in another lockbox. We now grabbed any shower stuff we brought and headed to the rinsing/bathing area. We sat on a stool and washed ourselves in front of a huge mirror. This is also nice because it helps to adjust your body’s temperature to the heat of the hot spring. Then there are several tub areas to choose from, each with a temperature read out. We tried the outdoor one first thinking “ooo it’s pretty outside” but that’s the hottest one. So we gave up and came back in to a slightly less hot bath. There’s also a sauna (which I couldn’t even breathe in) and a cold water area. It’s nice to get all hot and then cool off a little before leaving, especially in the summer heat. I imagine in the winter, few people use the cold water.

The rest is pretty self explanitory. You dry off, weigh yourself if you like, get dressed and head on out or hang out in the public tatami room for a bit. Oh wait, I forgot. There’s NAKED women everywhere. That’s the most intense part of this whole experience. I imagine for guys it’s not quite as intense. Though I am rather free-spirited, this was still a gutsy move for me. I know how it is ladies. I love myself, body included, but not day goes by that I don’t want to change something about it. These women don’t care. Not that they don’t care about me, they just don’t care about nudity. It’s natural and normal in an onsen. The only odd part to them is that I’m a foreigner. The curves and other physical differences make them do a double take sometimes but if I lived in a homogenous society, I think I’d do the same.

So ladies, if you’re thinking of giving one a try, I recommend showing no fear. Don’t worry about a ‘modesty towel’ or holding your arm across your boobies or whatever. Just do it like you’ve done it for a thousand years. Before you know it, you might even start to forget that everyone’s wearing their birthday suit. You’ll be laughing at the little kids throwing cold water on each other just like I did.

With love – M