This is on-sen-sation

Image courtsey Google

We visited Japan last December, in winter and it was freezing cold. The temperature would usually range between -3 to +3 C with some very chilly winds. I am writing today about an experience I had in Nozawa Onsen and to understand this post completely, you need to know some Onsen Etiquette’s (a community bath). Basically there is a dress code – you can only wear your birthday suit and carry a small wash towel. The water in the onsen is hot, I mean seriously hot like 45-46 C, these baths are open to public, before you get carried away, there are different areas for men and women. The ryokan (traditional Japanese hotel) where we stayed had an onsen which ran on natural spring water. “WOW! Snow outside, hot water in the bath, steam rising – awesome setting, this would be so relaxing – almost spiritual” is what I thought when I saw the brochure… “Let’s do it, its gonna be surreal pleasure” I had convinced Ashu.

I was super-excited about the onsen experience just until the time to go through the experience arrived, the single most embarrassing bit started pricking me – other women sitting naked and me walking in – what would that be like, eeewww maybe this is a bad idea… but I was the one who had insisted on this experience, I could not back out, and anyway barring that one thing its going to be such an awesome experience, I remembered the brochure again. I tried to think smartly and scheduled our visit at lunch time when we had the highest chance of finding the place empty.

At 12:30pm, collecting every bit of courage possible, when I entered the ladies dressing room I saw this oldish woman in the correct dress-code casually applying moisturizer – can’t say I was very comfortable with the sight, so I decided if there are more women here I am running away. I peeped in the bath from the tiny glass window, exactly like in the brochure I thought, there was no one there. I waited for the lady to finish her business – I walked around, flipped through a magazine, checked my weight (which I realized wasn’t the best idea) she gave me a look clearly saying “another dumb tourist, huh!” and finally she left. Then I was the queen… I got appropriately dressed and walked out of the dressing room, which I later realized was equipped with the best heating system ever, as soon as I stepped out I did not know what hit me (actually I knew what hit me, it was the freezing chilly cold breeze) I started the shower but there was no warm water, after showering in the coldest water I’ve ever touched (except while drinking) every inch of my body went numb, the hot water was exactly what I needed then – or did I? When I set foot in the bath, it was like my foot was boiling – what did I do to deserve this hell on earth to get boiled alive! I ran back to the dressing room took a warm shower.

When I walked out I saw Ashu lazing happily on a couch… did he even go in – I really doubt, I will never know, he claims he did! We went out for dinner, hogged on awesome sushi and sashimi drank some good ol’ sake and life was bliss again. Later that evening I thought, things that look like surreal pleasures – like sleeping on the beach, bathing in a waterfall, walking bare-feet in a lawn – are not as much pleasures in experiencing as they are in anticipation. Will I ever indulge in any ‘surreal pleasure’ again or will i just derive pleasure thinking about them? Hell yeah I’ll indulge! that’s what life is all about – experiences! Its so easy to just do the ordinary and be happy… What say you?


16 thoughts on “This is on-sen-sation

  1. Oh yes, i did go in and it was bliss barring all the other naked men around who were happily chatting and laughing away in Japanese (Laugh was just normal, so i got it :P). May be making fun of me, who knows….
    Must visit place…

  2. What an experience 😆
    I so agree with you, it’s the anticipation and the adrenaline rush such experiences bring with long lasting fond memories to giggle on; that make them surreal in true senses 😀 😀
    Wow! so you finally got your answer from Ashutosh too 😉 😀

  3. @CB – yeah it was quite an experience and i think that sensation and that feeling will remain with me for quite some time. Well about Ashu, this is exactly what he’s been saying from the start and honestly, i still doubt if he went 😛

  4. Tum ne pukara aur hum chale aaye …. na no jaan on hateli please… sushi paltter will do???? 😉

    Loved this post.. in fact one of the places I always wanted to go with my man was The Chena Hot Springs in Alaska .. natural hot springs under the Aureora Borealis… but ya pvt springs and not gender separated 😉 … one surreal experuience I had palnned so bad 🙂 … aaah u made me dream again 😉

    • Appreciate you singing on my blog – you know you’re the first one who ever did that… warm welcome 🙂

      It is a surreal experience and I wish you pursue your dream and then write about it, it’ll be interesting to know how you found the experience…


  5. LOL !!! I am just imagining the whole stuff….it was eewwwww first and then when you got in, oowwwwww !!! 😀 😀 😀

    Indeed an experience, but personally, with a lot of naked men around, I wouldnt even dare to remove my shirt !!! 😛 😛 😛

  6. i heard some one knock at my bhooth bungalow blog yesterday….so i decided to pay a visit to a day of ur life..hehhe
    err wasnt tht the name of the show tht joey used to work with?

    Anyway…y pay all this money to go n visit some far away place to get naked infront of other ugly naked ppl and burn ourselves,whn u can do same thing in our own homes…err..except for the getting naked infront of strangers part

    I would never dare to go to such a fact i refuse to take off my shirt even in temples!!
    So u were in japan eh? u should have visited okinawa as well..thts my master mr miyagis birthplace 🙂 hooh haaa!!

  7. Welcome to a day of my life oh resident of bhooth banglow…
    Thanks you – for you are the first person who realized that it is Joey’s show – i mean how cool was Dr. Drake Ramore – but the best things in the world are often missed…
    The attraction of the place was the mix of snow and hot water and snow in Singapore “uh oh cannot leh!” that was “not possible” in Singlish 😛
    Okinawa, ofcourse known as your master’s brithplace is also famous for its out of the world aquarium – but even okinawa is out of the world = very far from everywhere 😀

  8. LOL, must hv been quite an experience. Such hot spring baths – I saw them @ Manikaran too, but thankfully(?) no etiquette there 😛 Women were in sarees/ dresses and men atleast in their shorts 😉 😉

    Loved the title 🙂

  9. Welcome to my blog Swaram 😀

    Quite an experience it was 🙂
    Yep I’ve been to Manikaran and as far as i remember no one was even dipping in those baths i guess it was really boiling water – but i remember the langar i had in a gurudwara in Manikaran – dont remember what i had then but for sure it was one of the yummiest foods ever 😀

  10. Hey there, first time here, quite like what I see. Your travel philosophy is certainly quite impressive…like they say if you dont leave the old shores you might never find the new land! So good to explore new cultures and experiences.

  11. Welcome to my blog Gyanban… Yeah until you try something new how can you decide if you like it or not – so what the heck i try everything – well almost 🙂

    see you around!

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