Friday, March 25, 2005

For Relaxation: Go Into the Snowy Mountains at Night and Get Naked

Actually, that advice is only good if there is one of these places waiting for you. When I am particularly bored or socially exhausted (“In Kazamaura?!!” you may ask) I like to go to the Kappa’s Hot Spring in the Yagen onsen district. It is open access (and totally free) all year round, and although the lights go out at some point in the evening one can still enjoy it in the moonlight. I took the above photo on a Sunday afternoon back in February (-6 degrees Celsius), and although I started off with the place to myself it soon got crowded with young families and middle-aged couples. Fortunately the busload of senior citizens that showed up turned around and went right back to the Yagen Onsen Inn when they saw the door-less undressing shed.

The Bridge Overlooking the Kappa’s Hotspring at Night

Last night I had yet another staff party in Mutsu, but I cut out early and made a detour to the Kappa’s Hotspring on the way home in order to enjoy the surprise snowfall we had this week. On particularly cold nights, when my towel freezes solid, I am often tempted to just grab my stuff and make a naked dash for the parking lot on the hill above. Then I think, “What if I get into a fender bender on the way home? What would the police say if one of the benders was driving naked?” So I usually compromise by putting my shoes and pants on before making a run for it. I definitely recommend the shoes. Once I visited Mrs. Murphy barefoot through the crusty snow and my feet were cut up for weeks.

Body Language that Explains “I’m Not Smart, but I Do Have a Lot of Fun"

The Stairs Leading Down from the Parking Lot

The (Un-)Dressing Shed; the Building in the Background Is a Long Since Abandoned Inn


On particularly cold days the steam and mist rising from the surface afford some “cover.” Otherwise the water is crystal clear and only one’s modesty towel can prevent total exposure. Here I am shrouded in mist and blending in with the rocks and the Kappa statue.