The Japanese Ahh-nsen

Trip Start Sep 15, 2010
Trip End Jul 23, 2011

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Flag of Japan  , Kanto,
Thursday, March 3, 2011

After traveling for almost six months, I have to admit that I'm feeling a little tired.  So instead of tackling Japan like most countries, I've decided to simply stay put in Tokyo.  As the largest metropolitan area in the world, there is plenty to see and do.

And what better way to unwind than to try a Japanese onsen?  These traditional bath houses utilize natural hot spring water and are something the Japanese proudly consider native to their culture.

On my first day I found one tucked away in a small alley of an older section of town.  Before I took three steps past the main door, the front desk attendant started banging her fist against the counter because I forgot to take off my shoes.  After quickly removing them and purchasing my ticket, I entered the women’s locker room wide-eyed and cautious.  I hoped that by arriving earlier in the day there would be less people.  Wrong.  The place was filled with little old ladies scrubbing and chatting.

At first I felt self-conscious, but my cares quickly melted away once I sank into the dark brown, mineral-rich waters. At 109 degrees, it's hard to think about anything anyway. 

Once sufficiently relaxed, I decided to check out the various jet massagers.  After trying two for the back, I saw a smaller tub across the pool that looked like a similar option.  Wrong again!  It turns out this doodiddy is an electric bath designed to simulate swimming with electric eels.  Yowzers!  I felt like I was being microwaved alive.  I lasted two seconds and lept across the pool.  All the ladies just started laughing and nodded knowingly. 

I planned to spend the entire afternoon soaking and steaming, but after an hour I was wiped.  Suffice to say, I happily achieved a state of nirvana the Japanese call "yude duko" ... boiled octopus.
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John Panneton on

Got your travel , great time is moving fast , have a great time , enjoy your life.


Ron on

Hey Crystal,

Yeah, I would have to say Japan is one of my favorite places to visit. I was there as a younger man... lol and the clubs where awesome and diverse. Please try some of the exotic cuisine. Hope you continue to have a great time!

Caitlin on

AWESOME! The jimjilbangs (communal baths) are one of my new favorite things here in Korea. The water's not brown and I have yet to run into any electric eel baths, but I definitely get laughed at a lot by the little old ladies! So glad you're having a good time. Love you! xoxo

Peggy on

Crystal, So enjoying your story. The idea of Turkey always has scared me - goes back to old drug stories. I so admire how you just light up a space and connect with people and so get the challenge of not looking at anyone directly. Ahh, the architecture and the belly dancing! Ling Ling and I send love to you.

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