Spa and Onsen Experiences

Originally published on 10 July 2006. This post is part of a series of “e-mails to home” from my summer living and working abroad in Japan!

Onward to the Nemo Nu Sato Resort! We got there at the last 30 minutes of the lunch buffet, but there was still plenty to go around. It was all very good! I was most excited about the oranges and plums, though. I miss my fruit! Fruit is very expensive in Japan, so I haven’t had very much of it while I’ve been living here.

Check out the big fruits!

There was an incident at lunch, concerning the fruit. The Japanese do not eat the skin on their fruit. So I asked why. Apparently Yuri thought that was a disrespectful question to ask, so she said they do not eat the skin on their fruit “because we are more human.” Really? More human? She said it with a smile and a nice tone, and I knew that was so Mrs. Koda would think Yuri was being nice (since Mrs. Koda doesn’t speak much English). So, in a nice tone and with a smile on my face I said, “Oh, well we get more fiber and nutrients!” And I are my plumbs with the skin on.

After lunch, we took a golf cart ride around the grounds to see where everything was. They have tennis, archery, golf, go-carts, 4-wheeling, walking trails, gardens, bikes, an arcade, fishing, canoeing, yachting, and probably more stuff, too. Anna tried out the archery while I went for the biking (gotta work off all that rice from lunch!). The rest of the group tried archery a couple of times with Anna and sat out to relax the rest of the time. There were lots and LOTS of steep hills on the first road I took. I decided to stick to flatter ground the rest of the time. The bike was nice. I had a little trouble getting it unlocked, but Mami came to the rescue! Sometimes I feel like such a dumb American!

The bike had 3 gears, but that was an unexpected discovery, actually. My bike in Ise has exactly one gear! I was wondering to myself why I was having such a hard time, even on flat ground. I looked down at what I thought was the bell and decided to try it out, only to lose my footing on the pedals and almost take a tumble! God took care of me, though. The “bell” was the resistance. I had just released it, so the pedals went spinning without me! Good to know! I was pretty proud of myself, actually. I used the middle one most of the time and only used the lowest on to help me with the hills.

Fun afternoon on the bike!

After a little over an hour of that, we met back up and went into the onsen. If you’re like me and didn’t know anything about an onsen, it’s a hot spring. And just to further shock and surprise you, you don’t get to wear a bathing suit. Thankfully this one is a women-only onsen! And you know, I really do feel better about myself after having seen everyone els!

Well, needless to say I was slightly nervous, but it’s a huge thing in Japan, and it’s supposed to be so good for your skin and muscles and all, so I wanted to try it. Everything was really clean, and no one seemed to care about anyone else! There were hunched-over old women, little kids with their moms, young women my age, anyone.

So if you’re curious about how it works, after you get nekkid (my Mom lovingly pointed out that you’re Naked before God. In front of people, you’re just nekkid–or maybe that’s only in the South), you wash off really REALLY well. I really like the showers in Japan. They all have the shower head you can leave on the wall or remove and use it hand-held. They have shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and towels all there for you. You can take a small hand towel with you into the onsen, but it’s… very small. After a good washing, we went to the roof and sat in the hot springs to soak. There was a sauna, too. It smelled amazing, but I could only stay in about 5 minutes before I was too warm! The springs are from natural mineral water, and they have several different kinds there to sit in. All are supposed to be very good for your skin. One was fresh ocean water that was brought in fresh every day. After about an hour or more of trying out the various hot springs, we went back to the changing area to get ready to go. I’m amazed at how relaxing it was, all things considered! I’m actually a lot more secure with myself now.

They have hair dryers, face wash, lotion, etc., for you in the changing area. I’m not sure how expensive the day was, but I’m glad I did it once. The Kodas are so generous to do things like that for us (Mr. Koda stayed back in Ise–no onsen for him!). So that’s the story of the day.

Now that I’ve shocked everyone, especially me, I hope you all have a wonderful week! Tell me what you’re up to and how your summer’s going. I still have lots to look forward to (Friday’s my LAST day of work!), which I’ll tell you about soon. I love y’all, and please keep the prayers going. You’re in mine, too.


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