Friday, April 05, 2013

Lovin Japan ~ Onsens (Public Baths)

I had to move to Japan to learn the correct way to take a bath! I'm truly thankful I did. I can't imagine bathing any other way.

First, one should always thoroughly clean oneself BEFORE entering a bath.  Even at home - get CLEAN before you soak. Seriously. Baths should be relaxing, renewing, leisurely....baths can be in solitude or in the company of dear friends.

The girls and I discovered  Friday afternoon - right after we finish school - is the perfect time to visit an onsen (public bath). It's an amazing way to celebrate the end of a work week and the start of the weekend.  It seems we are not alone in this conclusion as the onsens are FULL of obasans and moms with preschoolers on  Friday afternoons.

My very first trip to an onsen was just 2 weeks after arriving....with these lovely ladies. Little did I realize how special each would become to me during our shared time in Japan. I'm so thankful Deb came off the platform during the meet and greet at chapel and asked me if I'd go to the onsen with her....It would have been a shame if I'd missed out on this experience, and these relationships, by clinging to my cultural norms.  It WAS a huge stretch for me. See that long handled brush I'm holding behind Twyla's head? I bought it as I'd heard strangers will sometimes scrub your back and "Thank you very much, I can handle this myself." I now welcome strangers who desire to scrub the hard to reach areas. ::snort::
Twyla, myself and Deb 
It was Renee's first onsen trip too.....a very fun shared memory! 
Renee, Twyla and Deb
Since that first trip I've had many wonderful talks, with many amazing women in an onsen. I've visited in all seasons. My very favorite is any outside onsen in the winter - with snow all around and preferably falling as well.

A photo of my dolls yesterday at the onsen closest to us (which is not our favorite).  I'm so glad they both learned to enjoy onsens...I believe it's healthy.  As we sat and soaked my mind went to the first time I visited...with the first Bible study group I led in Japan. Jan commented,  "I  was wondering if we'd like to celebrate the birth of Jesus by going to the onsen together".....and they introduced me to the onsen closest to our house....I smiled big as I remembered that precious outing with Erika, Jan, Susi,  and Twyla. I know I've been here before with Mary too - though I'm not sure it was that first time. 

The menfolk have still not agreed to try an onsen...and I quit trying to convince them after about six months. I let the boys know if they WANT the experience I will take them - but I know they aren't going with Michael. ::snort:: 

Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

no doubt but that it is great to sit in such a neat hot place and just soak. That part I know I'd love. However I know it sure would take a real stretch to go the first time. Glad you enjoy them a a mean to unwind and relax. love/prayers - mom t.