Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hot Spa

We woke up to snow this morning and Tetsu is out shoveling. Not that much compared to some parts of Japan that we've lived in, but enough to make traffic slow down in my parts and to put a hush on the countryside. I thought that Choco would rather stay indoors than outdoors today so I brought her in but she was complaining so I've put her out in the snow. Dumb dog! She doesn't know what's good for her! What do you bet that she will start complaining and want to be brought back inside!

Yesterday I missed posting because Tetsu and I went out to Denny's for breakfast, then to an early morning spa and finally hit a movie.

Tetsu has always loved the hot spas throughout Japan. They don't even have to be authentic spas, he loves the so called health spa centers with all sorts of fancy baths and saunas. I am not as fond but figure that Tetsu and I need a common interest and so I am willing to go along if I can take my Kindle or a book to pass the time.

The spa we went to yesterday was a recently built one in the middle of the city and next to the movie theater. How authentic can that get? By authentic I mean that someone has spent a fortune boring into the earth until they hit a vein of volcanically heated water that is pumped to the surface and leads into a bath, no reheating or recycling needed. Most places have to reheat or add water or bring in authentic spa water from somewhere else etc. And most places focus on gimmicky things to draw guests. Yesterday's spa center was using all the gimmicks! Tetsu had a great time!

Let's see... The building was huge and after signing in Tetsu and I separated to go into different male and female bathing areas. (Thank you, I'm not ready to bare my body for the male population!) The locker area was bamboo lined with carved benches and soft music. Not a high school locker room for sure! After changing I went into the bathing area where there were rows and rows of showers, and bathing buckets, mirrors, bottles of shampoo and rinse and body soap. (You don't have to bring anything but a hand towel and even those can be purchased in vending machines.... along with toothbrushes, shavers and underwear. Hmmm.)

A quick suds up (and rinse off... that's very important)and then I made the rounds of the gimmicky baths.

An indoor bath, high temperature, authentic spa water brought in from somewhere.

Next stop an outdoor kettle bath.

Then a hot bath surrounded by rocks and trees and winding paths. (picture from the Internet)

An even hotter bath outside (I managed 30 seconds before I popped out of that!)

and then into the herb sauna. Yesterday's aroma was chamomile.

A quick stop at the hot slab sleeping bath which is a hot rock that has hot water bubbling around it. The only trouble with that is you are completely exposed (whichever side is up) and besides since the air is wintry this season, my back side was hot while my front side was freezing (you know which way I was laying.)

Back inside and I opted to skip the electric bath... Yes, voltage is shot through the water to give you a buzz while you bathe. As a child I was taught to keep electrical appliances away from water so I do not understand how one can sit in electrified water! No way!

There was a carbonated bath (sort of like sitting in Sprite minus the stickiness)

and a salt sauna. I should have skipped the salt sauna. There was a mountain of salt in a huge dish for people to grab a handful and scrub onto their body. Ouch, ow, oh, ouch!!! I forgot that I have a lot of cat scratches on my legs and arms. Think of rubbing salt into all those cuts. I escaped from the salt sauna as soon as possible.

Another quick scrub and shampoo and then I went out to the relaxation room and watched TV in my own reclining chair and private screen until Tetsu showed up. We could have had a hair cut, lunch, a massage and facial etc. if we had wanted to spend more time there but we opted for a pop-corn and soda lunch at the movie theater.

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