My girl friend Linda fretted for a couple of weeks before going to Japan with me.
She fretted about the (we-know-they’re-coming) typhoons.
She fretted about the (we-don’t-know-they’re-coming) earthquakes.
But what did she fret about the most? She fretted about getting butt-naked in front of my cousins for a Japanese-style bath at a hot spring in Japan.
Silly lady… All Japanese do that.
Oops. I forgot. She is Irish with blue eyes.
Well, I guess if I were her and experiencing a panic attack, I’d just put a brown paper bag over my mouth… and drink all the scotch inside.
That would help. After all, she is Irish.
During our ten-day visit to Japan in November, my cousin Kiyoshi (Masako‘s youngest brother) treated us to a most wonderful journey to Toyama Prefecture, just inland from the Sea of Japan. One such destination was famous for its hot springs and a beautiful gorge. We stayed at the inn called “Entaijiso (延対寺荘)” near “Unazuki Hot Springs (宇奈月温泉).” Started in 1900, the hot spring’s water is naturally heated to a most perfect temperature and has an open-air spa area called a “rotenburo (露天風呂)”. Literally, you are soaking outside under the heavens. Butt-naked.
Of course, I was unable to take photos inside the bathing area for obvious reasons but here are other photos from their website to give you a taste of the relaxation that can be had.
Yes, my Irish lady did go in with my (female) cousins! In a form of endearment, my cousin Masako even washed her back. Butt naked. After relaxing in the water for a while then dry off, you notice your skin is just ultra silky smooth. My cousins did say the geothermically heated ground water has therapeutic powers… That there is some kind of magical healing power bubbling up. I kind of doubted it. But there IS something in the water. 🙂
Their dining area was spectacular; just outside is the river and magnificent mosaic-colored hillsides – a post card panorama.
Kiyoshi’s gracious treat continued on the Kurobe Gorge Tram (黒部峡谷トロッコ). It is a a sightseeing train running on a very narrow track originally built to aid the construction of the Kurobe Dam. It follows a winding path along the river – something like 20 kilometers from the base station of Unazuki to the end. We we there unbelievably at their peak of the autumn color change. It is important to note we hiked a bit after getting off the tram at Kanetsuri Station – and my cousins below LED the way. While Masako has difficulty going DOWN stairs, she was a jack rabbit going up. Amazing. At 80 years of age.
I will let the photos show you the grandeur we were so fortunate to experience. (Please note many of these were taken from the moving tram.)
AND A “I SPY WITH MY LITTLE EYE”… Can you spot it? There is a wild red faced monkey below.
Prior to getting into the hot spring and public bath, I tried to relieve her anxiety.
I said, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
She replied, “They sinned.”
I was proud of my blue-eyed Irish lady friend. She got into the public bath and hot springs butt naked.
And even got her back scrubbed by Masako, a survivor of an atomic blast.
From a Japanese hot spring, I have learned that spreading peace for the world starts as a power that emanates from within one person.
35 thoughts on “Graciousness, Gratefulness and Grandeur”
Koji, stunning photography and visions. Kudos to Linda! I am pretty sure I would have had some extreme anxiety about that and not so sure if I could have done it.
LOL. You WOULD have. And you know it! BTW, I lied for the sake of convenience. Some of the pictures above were taken by Linda yet bear my name; I was just unable to find time to separate and upload two batches with different watermarks… So spank me. 🙂
Please give Linda those honors! 😉
And all is forgiven. You have been pressed for time as of late. I kind of figured you had not taken the pictures you were in. 😉
Imagine that, indeed. It is wonderful to see cultures come together to learn from each other and grow, rather than fight. Thank you for the beautiful photos and great post, Koji.
Thank you for the visit, Russ!
Wonderful post, Koji. You are a lucky man, with a wonderful girlfriend, from a beautiful part of the world.
I agree, Rob! Wholeheartedly!
Haha… if Masako-chan can survive a nuke then your girlfriend can survive a visit to the onsen! (^-^) Good job! I have been to Kurobe dam but I didn’t go on the train ride… I have to visit again!
Yes you do…during the next autumn season!
What a beautiful backdrop to spend time with precious family and friends. You are truly blessed, Koji.
I believe I am… thank you!
Wow, what an experience! Worth getting butt naked I’d say 😀 Beautiful photographs.
LOL! And as I mentioned to Chatter Master, I lied for the sake of convenience. Some of the pictures above were taken by Linda yet bear my name; I was just unable to find time to separate and upload two batches with different watermarks…
Awesome post, Koji, and a beautiful girlfriend to accompany you to a magnificent country – you’ve got it all.
I most certainly appreciate your thoughts, gpcox! Maybe I am lucky and “have it all”. But as Ike reportedly said to his commanders, “I don’t have the CIB.” 🙂
Really enjoyed that post. Lovely, lovely photos as well as the story.
Why, thank you! And as I belatedly noted in the comments above, Linda had taken a few of the pictures too…but I was just too lazy to separate and upload two batches for watermarking… 🙂
What a wonderful trip you and your beautiful girlfriend took, Koji! It looks like it was a gorgeous time of year in Japan–all those beautiful colors in the foliage. And wasn’t she a brave soul to do as the “sinning Romans” do. LOL! That’s priceless. But I’m sure she was so glad she did. It sounds like a marvelous time, and I’m glad you could share it with someone you obviously care for. And your family photos always make me smile! They are good sports with you, too, I think.
Thank you, Debra. Yes, they were good sports to put up with me! Especially Masako and her daughter, Izumi. Linda had a grand time; a Japanese woman had taken care of her for the first seven years of her life so the trip really brought back a lot of hidden memories.
So, Koji, as a youth in the 70s, I climbed into many a mountain lake butt-naked, as you say, with friends. Today I would have as many reservations as Linda. LOL. Beautiful country, BTW. –Curt
I tend to believe you, Curt! But, um, what about Peggy? LOL
It was before I met Peggy, Koji. 🙂 Not sure she would have approved. Curt
Beautiful pictures – and a beautiful lady friend! She sure has gumption but then again she is Irish!
LOL, Patty! And I’m sure you would have given it the good ol’ Marine try… I mean Army try! Merry Christmas!
😉 we will never know… LOL
I can understand your girlfriend being nervous to go, but I think it’s great she went. These pictures are beautiful. I can hardly believe the red of that tree. AWESOMELY beautiful. Wonderful pictures Mustang. Cheers.
Thank you so much! Yes, she was a real trooper… and thank you for your kind compliments on the photography (she took some). 🙂 My best to you for the New Year!
(& it took me ages to spot the monkey! – good one 🙂 )
LOL. I think you’re the only one to look for it!