no. 111 – experience public bath in Japan (onsen)

This one’s unexpected.

I was staying with my host family at that time. It was December 16, 2007, Sunday. My host parents told me that they will bring me to a spa. God, I was excited. I imagined the kind of spa here in the Philippines where you lie comfortably and someone massages your body. Afterwards you can have a facial or a sauna. I changed fast and brought a pair of undergarments and a small towel.

While we were on the car, I asked them, “So, uhm, do we choose the kind of massage? Whether hard or soft?” and they looked at me confusedly. I added, “Uhm, how does the spa work?” to that, my host mom replied, as if suddenly remembering something, “Oh, I’m sorry Lani (they call me that), I forgot to tell you we have a different spa here. You remove all your clothes and then you immerse in a hot spring. Like onsen.

Wonderful. My world almost collapsed. “If you do not like, then it is okay. We can go back.”, she continued.

What would I do? I want to experience this but not at that moment. I am not yet ready to show my body to a bunch of Japanese I do not know. Then remembering what Bai (a fellow Filipino jenesys-participant) told me to enjoy everything in Japan because I might not encounter the same opportunity again, I said, “No. it’s okay. But, are boys and girls separated? (I am not yet prepared to see a dozen dicks you know)”. Thank God it is.

I was really nervous. But once I stripped off my clothes and entered the hot spring, all anxiousness vanished. The fact that I was the only Filipino there comforted me because we can be malicious sometimes. For the Japanese, it was pretty normal.

aaaaaaa (2)It was one of the best! I can stay there for hours and I won’t complain. Yes I hate swimming pools because you have to swim but I love this place because you don’t have to do anything. Just stay there and feel the warm water (some even reaching 40 degree Celsius!) and cool breeze at the same time.

Plus, there’s the sumptuous meal afterwards. Partly shown is my host father.

aaaaaaa (1)Ok. I’ve seen a dozen naked female bodies across all ages. haha

I wouldn’t mind doing it again. Actually, I’d love doing it again.

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7 thoughts on “no. 111 – experience public bath in Japan (onsen)

  1. It sounds amazing! I really want to try a Japanese onsen someday, myself. As for how all your anxiousness left once you tried it, I’m not surprised. Last summer I and some coworkers tried skinny dipping in the ocean at night, and one girl was really shy until she actually tried it, and the moment she did she loved it. Sometimes I think the only reason we wear clothes is because everyone else does…

    1. Haha. That’s an interesting way to look at it. You should try it when you visit Japan. It’s fun as long as there is no malice. As for me, I also want to try skinny dipping.

  2. Good thing you’ve tried it.
    I am also a former JENESYS participant last April 10-18.
    I remember, during our programme in miyagi, we stayed in a 5-star ryokan.
    The ryokan features a public onsen with sauna (males and females are also separated of course) as one of its amenities. Honestly speaking; during our first night, before bedtime, I’ve also tried their onsen so as the sauna bare-naked without hesitation. I’ve invited my male group mates to try but unfortunately some of them backed out when they knew that they must take-off everything they wear, including briefs.

    It was one of the most memorable moments of our recent trip in Japan.
    Good for us that we’ve tried the Japanese Onsen.

    1. It’s good to hear from a fellow JENESYS alumna. 🙂 Yes, it truly is one of the best experiences. April na pala ang JENESYS ngayon and pwede na ang college students? Nice.

  3. Ibang programme ung samin, Our programme is implemented and executed with the help of the Office of the President of the Philippines-National Youth Commission. “You must be a college student” ang isa sa mga requirements nila and April and/or May ang schedule ng programme nila. According to your other blog article that also talks about your trip to Japan almost 5 years ago; you are an alumna under AFS-JENESYS.

    Well anyway. It’s nice to read your articles about your trip to Japan.
    But wait, would you don’t mind if I ask you anong year mo sa high school noong nagpunta ka sa Japan? Thanks!

    1. Ah ganun ba…I was in 4th year high school. First batch kami ng JENESYS. Yup, AFS nga yung amin, di na involve ang NYC at office of the president. haha. Pero 2 weeks din ba kayo doon?

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