Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Japanese Public Bath House

OSAKA - SENTO Experience
This post is about the eye opener I had in Japan, getting naked with soooo many men! Oh my goodness, I had never seen so many steamed sausages in boiled water tubs in my life. Muahahahaha!!!...

When I was a student in States, I lived and hung out with only Korean & Japanese students who also became room mates. I heard so much about their heavenly bathing rituals in Korea and Japan which is a daily routine like brushing our teeth. We need to join them in order to understand this bathing rituals which I must confess now that it was truly a very good experience. I overcame all the shyness right away as no one will look at your willy!

In Osaka, we bought the very special '2-Day Pass' which allowed anyone to take unlimited trips on the subway trains and visit any 36 different tourist places for FREE!!! It costs only 2,000 Yen (Less than RM80 / US$23) for the pass and it saved so much money knowing that each train ride will cost over RM10 and entrance tickets to sightseeing places will usually be over RM20-30 per entry. I could not visit all the places and merely covered like 8 places in 2 days! I picked one visit to their so called 'Hot Springs' which is illustrated below, using all borrowed photos!! 

PHOTOGRAPHY & TATTOO-BODIES ARE STRICTLY NOT ALLOWED INSIDE ANY HOT SPRINGS OR PUBLIC BATH HOUSES! (They don't allow tattoos as only the Yakuza gangsters will have these tattoos! Sorry, even if you have small cute tattoos on your neck, legs or arms, they will throw you out)

The Japanese culture is pretty unique and beautiful when one understands them well. They love bathing in the Spas and soak inside the warm mineral water pools at the many Hot Springs. They call it 'Sento' which is more like a luxury public bath Spa in the cities all over Japan whereas 'Onsen' is the traditional Hot Spring resorts located in country sides or near mountains where natural hot springs are available with rich minerals from the under ground. Now I understand why they have nice porcelain and spotless white skin with all the frequent mineral baths and healthier food. If the Japanese eat Goreng Pisangs and Nasi Lemak everyday, they may look oily like us!


 One night after a very tiring day walking over 10km, I visited this Hot Springs Spa which was listed in the '2-day Pass'. It is a 'Sento' which is located on the roof top of this actual building.



Every Hot Springs Spa will have typical standard facilities and layout, like this vending machine where you just pay your entrance ticket which costs about RM35 to enter. Another vending machine will provide you shavers, combs, creams, gels or whatsoever toiletries you need for a small sum. I went in FREE as the '2-Day Pass' entitled  me a complimentary visit. The Japanese tourism authority is so generous to offer such packages to lure me. I will be visiting Japan again soon!



All the bathing and soaking areas have separate sections for Male (Blue) and Female (Red). You will be given a wrist-key to proceed to the locker area. You have to remove all your clothes and keep them inside the locker before entering the shower area.



You have to sit on the small stool with all the other naked men and towel scrub yourself with the bath foam, shampoo and conditioner provided at your cubicle. No one will look at you and it is not polite to stare at others too.


The luxurious Sento Spa which I went to, had similar cubicles like the above without partitions in between. All the hotels and Spas in Japan seem to use only 'Shiseido Brand' toiletries and the quality was really Super Excellent!

On the female section, everything will be the same in layout and my honey took a while to get used to the sights of Amazon bushes everywhere in the Watermelon farm. Ha ha ha!



After you have washed your whole body clean without any traces of soap, you proceed to parade stark nakedly wet to the hot and icy cold water pools of jacuzzi which is located in the interior section. They have digital temperature readings to show you, how hot each jacuzzi pool was. I loved the jacuzzi very much as the water jets were the STRONGEST I had ever enjoyed. It was really massaging any part of your body really hard and very strong. You can choose to 'massage' your feet soles, back, sides, tummy,  neck or even assholes!!! Wow! Shiok! The guys will move from hots pools to mineral pools and luke warm pools before submerging inside the Icy Cold Water pool for few seconds. They will go back to the hot and warm pools again, repeating the routine as per one's desire. My tired and aching body was instantly rejuvenated to Heavens! That was the best relaxation to remove stress and my skin looked brand new! I will definitely live to 100 years old in Japan.


This photo was the actual shot taken of the Spa I visited, where they created lovely landscaping in the open air. They have lovely green plants & waterfalls around the spas and jacuzzi pools with different small hot water tubs to soak in pairs and gaze the skies! They also have big wooden lanais where many men would lie and sleep like naked baby dolphins!! Many young fathers brought their young and infant sons along to bathe & have fun. I even spotted one huge sized Sumo wrestler who came and jumped into the pool! The water overflowed and I just giggled! What a sight!


Bathing and soaking in these 'Onsen' or 'Sento' pools are so popular with the Japanese folks for centuries and you can find thousands of such Sento havens throughout the country, usually located inside designated buildings or roof tops. I also saw many groups of friends and working colleagues who patronized that spa to relax and chat happily. If they open one in Malaysia, I will organize a Bloggers' Party there! Voila!


I visited the same spa twice and was surprised that more Japanese men in suit attires patronized that place near midnight hours. They smelled of alcohol and heavy nicotine with worn stressed facial looks that needed a good soak in the pools. The most shocking thing was the spa did provide quick massage services which were done by ladies who are clothed, inside the men's area! The naked men just walked bravely around her as if she does not exist! Not me, I hid my willy with the given small towel when I walked passed her! This haven will sure give the tired office workers a good bath and revitalization before they sleep! How nice!



 KYOTO - SENTO Experience

When I toured Kyoto, I decided to try their smaller traditional bath houses which does not have any frills or luxuries. The weather was cold and nice to dip inside the hot jacuzzis. It costs only RM4.00 to enter one which was located in some tiny dark lanes in downtown Kyoto. It was so old fashioned with wooden lockers that used wooden latches as locks!! Inside the lockers, you need to pull out a rattan-cane basket to put your belongings! Smaller sentos are usually operated by retired old couples or the owners themselves. They are friendlier and will politely guide you to the locker area.


 
Everything was small inside like the above photo with worn out floor tiles and furniture. I was told by a good friend who studied in Tokyo that he had to bathe there every night as his tiny studio apartment had no bathing shower facility at all except a squatting toilet. What a humble experience he had and today this friend owns a well known chain of watch shops in Malaysia.


 
 I learned a lot about the Japanese culture and loved it.




All the above photos were borrowed for illustration purposes only and will be removed if the owner feels that his copyrights had been violated.







113 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Cover your face with towel and no blushes!

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  2. Anay naughty!! purposely write this post to attract readers, hehe~~

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    1. but the title still not catchy enough Anay, should make it more ranchy!! :D

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    2. Agree!

      Put lah, TM naked in public ka, what ... hahaha

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    3. lol.... it should be titled Parading Naked in Japanese Bath Houses. ahahahaha

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    4. I suggest, "Getting Hot and Steamy in Japan" will attract more traffic flow, kakaka!

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    5. I totally like Lawrence & Yvonne choice for a new title! ;p

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    6. OMG! You guys gang up and want me to Parade Naked kah? Shy! Shy!..... We do it together okay?...

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  3. wow, i think that's rather an eye-opening experience huh?? but did Anay go into the bath alone or with somebody you know??

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    1. I was alone lah.... still shy wor.... ding dong!

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  4. for me if alone then ok lah won't feel embarrassed cos everyone is a stranger.. but if going together with somebody i know, sure die lah, very very embarrassing lah!!

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    1. Same here, I'll use the small towel to cover my face so that nobody would recognize me!

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    2. Yeah even with strangers, I malu lah... The Japanese guys are natural and won't even look at me, no matter how handsome I am.... ahem!

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  5. at first i thought Anay really took in a spy camera and secretly took photos of the naked men inside the bath, haha!! but then Anay should have masked the photo a bit, this is 18SX lah~~

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    1. Yalah! Me too!

      I thot he so naughty and took photos of naked people.

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    2. I won't dare to bring spy camera la, gotta respect other sausages!

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  6. i wonder if Letchumi is doing her floating pose and planing pose inside the bath?? hahaha.. because she saw so many bushes sure she gets excited and want to run around the bushes chasing Anay!! wakakakaka~~ :D

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    Replies
    1. Yeah she was planking on the edge and everyone clapped & cheered! LOL

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  7. hey, the 2-day pass is really cheap and worth it!! Anay saved a lot!! 2,000 Yen (Less than RM80 / US$10).. are you sure it's US$10??

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    Replies
    1. Thambee, your maths is good and pointed out my mistakes. I have amended it. Thank you!

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  8. so did Anay really enjoy the bath in the sento?? hmmm, should feel very free, because Anay's little brother is also very free and breathing fresh air~~ :D

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    Replies
    1. Yes, damn shiok and good to relax in the hot water jacuzzi. Go there when you have the chance!

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  9. oh, the last photo!! i know where this photo comes from.. i love that movie very very very much!!! so meaningful..

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  10. there are also some places where the bath is public for both male and female, unisex bath where everyone just bathe together.. but that would be quite rare right??

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    1. I went to one, once.

      Sadly no leng chai enjoying the bath there.

      Only oyaji (old geezer) likes to hang out there it seems. ;p

      But before you get too excited, the one I visited, the ladies were allowed to wear towel while men cannot! xD

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    2. The unisex ones are only found in suburbs or country sides! I will never dare to go in!

      WOW! This Lina so brave and want Leng Chai some more!!!! Kekekeke....

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  11. Sento can be quite cheap. Some have just 100yen admittance. Bring own towel and soap, like those neighbourhood ones.

    Want to try the Korean bath house someday and do all the scrubbing and let all dead skin come lose after that. ;p

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    Replies
    1. Yeah I also paid that 100 YEN in Kyoto. All so old and traditional inside like fish market.
      I wonder whether Korea is the same.

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  12. Wow! I also want to go to these bath houses!! So nice!!! But of course I knew Lina had been doing this every year in Japan hahaha!!

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    1. Lina should be crowned as SENTO QUEEN! Muahahaha...

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  13. I don't mind being naked and all PROVIDED I know nobody inside the bath house! LOL!! All strangers then OK! LOL

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    Replies
    1. Yes, everyone will stare at Panda taking shower!

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  14. Wah! 18SX photos in this post lah! Censor! Censor! LOL!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This sento is open to kids and adults, so this post no need to censor lah!

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  15. So no one watched you, but did you secretly watch the others in all their naked glory? LOL!

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    Replies
    1. Of course we have to look at others for 5 minutes and after that I am the winner!

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  16. Wah! Shiseido brand toiletries?! Nice!!! I wanna go!

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    Replies
    1. Shiseido shampoo and conditioner is very good!!

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  17. I can just imagine the nice sensation of the strong water pressure in the jacuzzi! Must be really enjoyable eh? So how many hours you spent inside the jacuzzi?

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    1. I was there for about one and half hours! Some people spend many hours there for complete relaxation!

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  18. What did you do in Japan besides enjoying yourself at onsens? : D

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    Replies
    1. Sightseeing at the castles and imperial palace was good! Window shopping was great and some shops like UniQlo sell cheaper stuffs!

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  19. Err....wonder what happen if I wrongly entered the women section?

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    Replies
    1. You will be drowned in their tub!!! LOL

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  20. haha..I thought u took that photo..

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    Replies
    1. I wished I did, bring spy camera next time.

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  21. Blogger's party... *blush*

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  22. Muahahahaha!!!! I did not dare venture into one when I was there long time ago. Shy lah... Not used to romping around stark naked. Where are you in the photos? That handsome guy on the left in the last photo or the old man on the right? LOL!!!

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    Replies
    1. Go and try on your next visit please!

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  23. First time I'd probably be giggling and hiding behind pillars too haha.

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    1. No pillars to hide, all open concept and fun dei.

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  24. I was chuckling till the end of the entry.

    I can't do it if I were with someone I know. Very embarrassing leh~ You know our upbringing here, don't let anyone see your *ahem*, don't let anyone touch it, and lots of other don'ts.

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    Replies
    1. I am the same. Luckily my friends didn't wanna go.

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  25. But I guess for the 1st time we'll be shy but 2nd time, we'll walk like nobody's business, haha!

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    1. Yvonne,
      Guess who walked like nobody's business around an onsen place. Going from one bath to the other, inside and outside.

      My hubby told me, I should feel happy to be able to walk around naked like that since I cannot do it at home. LOL

      Well, I was indeed happy! kakaka

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    2. Wah! Wah! This Lina damn geng and brave to show off around in birthday suit. The 2nd and 3rd attempt, I was shameless! Ha ha ha!

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  26. How many times you utilized your passes and get soaked in the bath, admiring sausages within 2 days? Did you get into unisex onsen, nyek nyek?

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    1. Unisex Onsen? TM bro will be damn busy Le... Lol

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    2. The 2 Day Pass entitles you to 2 different ones! I only had time for 1.

      I wont dare to step into a Unisex One la.. Shy Shy! Unless Simple Person enter first! Kekekekeke......

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  27. Wei, you said you're going to compile your Japan trip into 3 posts.... This is the 3rd one and don't tell me it's over. I won't accept one.

    More Japan posts please!

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    1. Yalah! More posts please.

      You got 2,000 photos what! Must try and post them all up for us to enjoy.Don;t be stingy! kakaka

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    2. Sorry maam, I am so malas to upload photos. Will do it soon! Maybe tonight!

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  28. Love your humor..... Made me laugh!!!! This post makes me realize just how different the culture is there from ours here....

    If there are any 'bath houses' around here, they are NOT a place to visit. They are known as a place for homosexuals to meet ---and nothing good comes out of them...

    But---I know that a good, relaxing bath is special, after a hard day!!!!! The Japanese have a good idea, don't you think?
    Betsy

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    1. I had culture shocks when I went to US and needed time to adjust. Japanese culture was a newer shock too. They have very neat, clean and beautiful environment!

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  29. I think this one should be okay,,,no qualms about it,soaking in the spa naked is better than wearing anything at all, i reckon

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    1. Eugene you are so right! Go there and relax next time!

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  30. In china everything the spa is like that...
    Everyone is naked n u bathe with all pll..

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  31. The best thing is that there is a small table there n those Chinese play chess n they r naked damn....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Waaaah! Did you lie down and get scrubbed??

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  32. Anay if u in malaysia u r very dangerous....
    Remember that if u drop a Sabun don't bend down to pick...
    Just squad down n pick it up....lol..

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    Replies
    1. Yes bradder I wont use sabun, I will use body shampoo! LOL

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  33. So u got c at those japs n laff them or u feel very depress.. Lol

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    Replies
    1. LMAO!!! You are funny! Of course I laf at them and they salute my didi...!

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  34. oh that was sooo cool.... I see this kind of bathroom set up in most anime... that freaking cool haha

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    1. Don't watch too much cartoons! Go for the real thing and get soaked in real hot jacuzzi!!! It is better fun.

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  35. Japan is known for their high tech gadgets right.. wow.. I'm so envious to you haha I wish I could visit the place too

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    1. Work hard boy, you will see the world too.

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  36. by the way, as for my blog background.. thank you for raising your thoughts.. I was planning to change my layout pretty soon hehe
    thanks and happy blogging

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    1. I like to visit your blogs but there is only one which has too much buffering waits that also turned other bloggers away.

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  37. ill be ashamed of walking naked there haha but i bet it was so relaxing there

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    1. It was a good experience and I really enjoyed the soaking in various pools. It was like the Gardens of Eden with only Adam and friends.

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  38. Good experience indeed! But I worry about the hygienic issue when so many people soaking in 1 big pool. What if anyone of them carries HPV virus?

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    1. Worry not! HIV will not spread in such huge pool of mineral water. It has been a tradition of hundreds of years and we didn't hear of folks being infected. Most of the pools are about 40 degrees hot.

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  39. It is really an eye opening for me too. I wish I can try this type of hot spring too one day.

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  40. It was eye opening too for me. I was so shy initially. I had that small cloth that I dunno to cover my top or my bottom front when I first stepped inside. After some time, I don't care lah. jump inside the spa!!

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    Replies
    1. LOL... You are funny! I just braved myself and looked upwards.

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  41. wow... that female section~ XD

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  42. what a good deal fr the 2=day passss~thanks for the tips^^

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  43. Hallo, Twilight Man! Hajimemashite! Pleased to meet you! I came over from Lina's blog, because your comments always make me grin, and because you're clearly another Japan fan! ^^ So am I, and I'm lucky enough to live in Tokyo! :)

    I enjoyed this onsen post! I felt very awkward and embarrassed the first few times I went to onsen, but now I love it.

    Did you ever try an electric bath?! It has an electric current, sometimes surprisingly strong!, running through the water. It freaks me out.

    OK, now I want to go read your older posts. Baibai!

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    Replies
    1. For me, I was awkward for like... 3 seconds. kekeke

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    2. Hi Rurousha I never tried the electric one but I saw it in Kyoto. I had a terrible shock and dragged my one leg off at once. The current was terribly painful and I thought there was something wrong. So what does it help for soakers? Thanks for coming here...

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    3. Lina I tried only 1 second... Ha ha...

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  44. LOL shy leh... even if it's with the same gender! XD

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    1. Just think that you are Eve taking a bath in the Garden of Eden.

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  45. Where can the "2-Day Pass" be purchased?
    Thank you.

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    1. You can buy the pass at any Tourist Centre in designated buildings. I googled and bought mine inside Namba Station. The staff there are very helpful and speak fluent English.

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  46. I would love to visit Osaka someday but minus the Sento perhaps.LOL!! I already feel awkward when I have to remove my clothes for the massage...what's more letting more ppl to see LOL!!!**run & hide**

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    1. I realized that we only live once and should try everything under the sun. Once you tried, you will love it.

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  47. public bath houses? i think it's all about culture, and i really like japanese culture.

    thanks so much for your comment on my blog:)

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  48. All cultures are unique and investing to me. However the Japanese way is so different and daring.

    I like your blog posts, always touching on life's issues which make me think a lot. Great blogger you are!

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  49. OMG, you had me fooled for a second. i thought you took all those naked pics. i couldn't bare the thought of going naked and bathing with so many Japanese folks. it would be a nightmare for me.

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  50. hahaha I would never go to public bath because I am too shy and I have some skin problem :X

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  51. Hello, do you mind sharing how you manage to keep your budget of less than RM2,500 for 8 days trip to Japan? Thank you.

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  52. Hello.
    I love your blog,
    Can you help me?
    I am just about to publish my own blog and one of my first stories will be about ofuros
    I need a photo to illustrate what an ofuro looks like.
    May I use one of yours?
    I Look forwatd to hearing back from you real soon.
    Roy

    ReplyDelete