Monday, May 15, 2006


Since I live in Japan, I figure I should occasionally do a post on Japanese culture. Today's topic is the tradition of the onsen. This is basically a natural hot spring, which you bathe in naked. Sounds just like a spa, right? Except that you enjoy the nakedness with your friends, work-mates, random strangers. Who said the Japanese were reserved?!

Every time there's a big office/school event, the teachers go off to an onsen. Our annual office trip is always to an onsen. Last year we went to the most beautiful one in the mountains, all wood cabins and outdoor springs.

It's a source of great amusement to my office that I have lived in Japan for over two and a half years and have yet to go into an onsen. Thankfully, most onsen trips include other activies. The whole being naked-with-my-workmates thing just does not work for me, but some of my foreign friends love them.

What do you think? Am I prude? Would you take part in naked bonding?


Bhamini said...

Nope. My jiggles are my own affair.And would you do a fellow blogger a favour by visiting her blog ‘IN PASSING’ and participate in the unique literary contest there?

JLB said...

I would totally partake of naked bonding... I love a chance to get naked. However, that's not to say that it's something I've ever actually participated in: I'm really quite shy in the company of strangers and save my sky-clad hours for my solitude.

Where I went to college, there is an annual tradition of a naked run through the local "Mud Bay," and if I hadn't been on my way to a great vacation when I graduated, I absolutely would have joined in the fun!

Just imagine how much the onsen experience could enrich your writing for some crucial scene in the future?

I love experiences that stretch my limits of comfort and ability - they always prove to be among the most memorable and often the most enjoyable!

Still, if it's not for you, then it's not for you - nothing wrong with that.

Dee said...

LOL, nope, not a nekkie bonder. They're reserved in the speech and behavior, but that's it, lol. Nudity is nothing to them. You'd have to drag me with my nails making wooden confetti on the deck to get me in one of those.

Then again, I've seen me naked and they should be grateful they haven't. LOL!

Good luck getting out of it!

Nalini Singh said...

Thanks for visiting, Bhamini! I won't be able to participate in your contest but good luck with it :)

JLB - you're a stronger woman than me! I'm just shy I guess. I'd be so uncomfortable, I wouldn't relax and that's the whole point of the onsen.

Dee - you are too funny! :) :)

Cynthia E. Bagley said...

Nalini.. ummm yea, I have been to the hotsprings, but it was split into men and women areas. The Japanese men would try to sneak a peek over the fence because they knew the American girls liked to go there. ummm.. AND always take your washcloth to cover your lower regions.

;-) OH.. and I am a viking girl... so my upper chest was much bigger than many of the Japanese women. They would sneak a peek too. LOL

Rosario said...

I went! Twice! Hmm, I'm more uninhibited than I thought! What surprised me the most was how incredibly hot the water was. I thought I would be able to, you know, drop the towel and dive in immediately (so all anyone would see was a blur), but the minute I stuck my foot in I realized it would be impossible! I had to go in centimetre by centimetre, so there I was, bare-assed, with my big (compared to the Japanese ones, that is) butt hanging out, and everyone watching because I'd let out a bloodcurling scream when I'd felt my foot start to boil. Actually, there were two of us in the same situation, me and my Bolivian friend. The other two girls, Thai and Japanese, felt the temperature was very mild. Hmmm...