Sunday, January 30, 2011

Heated to the core

I've got another hot spa post today... That's where we were off to yesterday again... Tetsu really loves these places... I guess because it is cold out, these places are popular. Spas offer to "heat you to the core."

Yesterday's place issued "polyester pajamas" so guests could walk around the premises in a relaxed mode. A large sleeping area with more reclining chairs and TVs. Numerous saunas and baths again.

A popular addition to sauna places recently is Ganbanyoku, a hot rock sauna. This is a dry, low heat co-ed sauna. The room is darkened, the music is soft. On each side of the aisle are slabs of marble that are heated from some underground system. Everyone lays on the slabs (in pajamas) and when first entering, except for the fact that the room is HOT it sort of reminds me of a morgue! All these bodies lying around in rows! This type of low temperature sauna is supposed to heat you to the core. It sort of gives me a headache.

Another sauna that was unique to yesterday's spa was in the bathing area (naked right?) and was called the Aroma Therapy room. Another type of herbal aroma but I was flabbergasted to find little holes in the marble seats... Um... like a communal toilet? What is this place? A quick read of the instructions on the wall.

"Place your wet towel around the seat opening. Sit down and enjoy the medicinal aroma which will waft upwards from the hole, through your XXXX and warm you to the core."

Oh, come on. I don't need to be THAT warm!

In the locker room while changing back to street clothes, I eave's dropped on an exchange between a chance meeting between friends. One lady had just stripped down to her birthday suit and was clutching a towel in front of her. Another two friends were in their "pajamas" enjoying soft drinks.

"Oh it's Mrs. Y! I haven't seen you in years! Do you remember us? Our kids went to elementary school together!"

"Mrs. M and Mrs. T! How nice to see you both! Of course I remember you!"

"Oh, Mrs. Y. You haven't changed a bit! How long has it been? At least 10 years!"

"You're the one who hasn't changed a bit!"

It crossed my mind as to whether these acquaintances had ever seen each other in such "open" circumstances... You haven't changed a bit? I wondered which part hadn't changed...

The three ladies chatted for about 5 minutes and were actually joined by another lady (fully clothed) who'd overheard the conversation (like me) and realized that she knew them all. I hope the naked lady didn't catch cold standing there in the buff. I hope she headed for the hot rock sauna.

It always amazes me that Japanese can run into someone at a hot bath and carry on a conversation without a thought to lack of attire. Actually I've gotten fairly good at it too though if I had my 'druthers I'd like to get dressed first...

(Pictures from the Nandaimon website)

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