How I survived ONSEN

It was scorching hot. The sunlight was super strong that I couldn’t help myself but sweat all over the body. My head was not covered with anything on top to avoid Ultra Violet (UV) hitting on my skin. It was, summer in Tokyo that I decided to roam around the city because I was too engrossed to see what it has to offer.

Knowing the fact that the environment is no different to Malaysia during summer, I survived walking around the metropolis with my feet being the only source of motion. Trains are everywhere. Taxis are everywhere. Buses are everywhere too. But the first day I landed my body on this island of anime, my brain triggered to walk my way to many of the listed destinations.

I still remember the journey, where I didn’t think of being exhausted because every single minute means the world to me. It’s Japan! A country I never planned to visit in the first place, but I was anime-influenced to see it with my naked eyes.

Now, speaking of Japan. I guess I can equate it with anime, cultures, temples, kimonos, Mt Fuji, and….. Onsen! Among the best of all, Onsen is a must-go destination the second we’re in Japan and of course, I too had a chance to soak my feet in the so called “hot water”

So in Tokyo, I visited Ooedo Onsen Monogatari after a day walking in the artificial land of Odaiba. That’s where you can see a far-living twin of the Statue of Liberty. But that’s not what the story is all about now. Onsen, as I did my research earlier, I noted that most Onsens in Japan require every visitor to be fully, I repeat fully NAKED without a single thread of clothe.

I decided to give it a chance, although my buddy was tagging along with me and didn’t have any single idea about the Onsen. LOL. As the sun shut, night appeared. So I thought the Onsen wouldn’t be as crowded as it should because hey, who would want to spend their weekdays at night when they have to get up early in the morning tomorrow? I was wrong. Definitely wrong.

And another 30 minutes passed by at the entrance because the queue was terribly long and I didn’t expect that at all. However, I was impressed to see Japanese could work and handle the situation so efficiently even when the space was accommodated by a sea of human.

Since the payment was a bit confusing, I was instructed to take my yukata at the corner. Yukata is a japanese apparel, to be worn during occasional festivals. So this is where the awkwardness happened. In my country, we’re not allowed to publicly ‘unclothe’ ourselves. It may be normal to those who have been enjoying Onsen for their entire life but not for me.

I had to make sure nobody was in my sight because I wanted to take off everything. EVERYTHING in front of people. But I failed miserably because there were a few people passing by so I didn’t give a sh*t (I couldn’t wait any longer). Never in my life I had such an awkward situation just to don the yukata. Even funny, I texted my friend – “How do you wear this thing ah?” – Malaysian-English slang.

Initially, I thought we had to take off the yukata if we’d like to soak our feet in the hot spring. Again, that awkward moment hit me hard because people were enjoying their time soaking in their feet while “allowing some access” to their crouch to be seen a bit. I’m sorry I fail at explaining the situation sigh. But true, some of them didn’t mind to let loose their yukata for the sake of comfort.

Seeing people around me, having meaningful conversations about life and future, snapping photos,… All these made me realise life isn’t just about going to work and back to our home. We need some time to unload all the distractions in mind.

So…. what happened to my yukata? Uh well, it remained as it was and I didn’t have to get naked because there are another designated areas for privacy bathing.

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