Random Observation/Comment #37: Even the white guy speaks better Japanese than me.Excuse me while I hide my head in shame.
After the gruesome experience of walking the bicycle home for two hours, I felt it impossible to do my original goal of bike riding from Ishibashi Station to Umeda Station.The bike ride to school would be a cake walk (never really understood this phrase, but whatever) compared to the distance from my dorm to the river.I hear there are large hills and a lack of bicycle friendly main roads heading towards the city.Not to mention the fact that I had a flat tire (and a warrant for my arrest, which should be cleared shortly).I considered Nara, Kyoto, Kobe, and Nagoya for possible choices of travel for this Sunday, but it was just one of those days where all I wanted to do was nothing.
Of course, I couldn’t just do nothing – I had to do something.The challenge would be doing something that required little attention, and yielded the most replenishment, while also being productive and utilizing the pure foreign experience (and curing cancer). This is when I remembered that Spa World changes floors for men and women on alternating months.I had a completely new Spa World to experience, so I obviously couldn’t pass up the opportunity.With the intention of spending at least 2500 yen for the day, I was pleasantly surprised when three hours cost only 1000 yen.Maybe it was a special day, or they knew that I was coming so they dropped the price for me (and everyone else).I’m going to choose the latter to make me feel more important. This month was the Asia theme.
Although Asia sounded like the more attractive choice in the beginning, my experience there left me slightly disappointed.I think I was spoiled by the large number of choices and waterfalls from the European spa.There were much less baths and this lack of a waterfall really bothered me.My original complaint about the European baths was that there were too many selections that repeated in every themed area, but I’d like to flip this con into a pro.People don’t stick around one area too long anyway, so if you find a place you like, it is more likely that other people will walk to different baths.Those who are going for their first time (like me) always feel this obligation to go through all of the rooms and say they’ve tried everything Spa World had to offer.In today’s case, I was left sitting there with a more frequent cycle of newcomers, making noise and attacking my personal space.It’s not homophobia, but when my leg is almost touching another naked man’s leg, I get a little claustrophobic.
Here is a rundown of what to expect of the Asia Spa:
When you walk in, there is a grand bath with perfect temperature water, similar to that of the Europe Area.There are three little streams of water pouring from a clay statue on the left, which vaguely resembles a waterfall – this was actually where I spent most of my time.I feel like I’ve grown accustomed to normal bathing, and I want to be surprised with something unique like a different colored water or a huge fountain with bubbles.Whatever the surprise, I tend to choose getting a massage by water than just soaking in other people’s dirtiness.
Walking out of this main room, there is “Dr. Spa” on the left.In this area, there is a salt sauna, a cloudy watered bath, a warm bath, and 3 single lawn chairs immersed in a warm bath. I guess they added this portion because they needed another section to fill in the baths that aren’t traditionally Asian.
Continuing left, there is the outside Japanese traditional onsen with more natural scenery.The sides of the pools were filled with rocks that really hurt my back leaning against them, but I’ve always liked the extra sun. They even have the large wooden tubs that look like they can be used for brewing sake.I wound up sitting in one of these and playing with the smaller wooden ladles like a rubber ducky.I found it fascinating because it still stays afloat even when it’s completely filled with water – probably because it’s completely made of wood.I’ve concluded that the outdoor places are the best as long as it’s warm and not raining.The natural humidity acts as a combined sauna and water bath.
The next area (which I think was also Japanese) had two large baths, two hot coal saunas, and a sleeping area.The sleeping area consisted of a line of foam mats with wooden, cylindrically-shaped pillows.Let me tell you, if you like comfortable, this isn’t the place for you, because it’s the opposite of comfortable.It’s the pure essence of sleeping on the floor.There was a nice breeze from the air conditioning conveniently placed above, and if you close your eyes you might be able to imagine the warm breeze blowing against your naked body on a nice beach.Of course, when you open them, you’ll find that you’re naked lying next to middle-aged/old naked men.This sounds like a version of the “forbidden hello.”
The last area was actually mostly for the body scrubbing room, but it did have a bubbly Jacuzzi with a great view of a gold fountain.This Jacuzzi made me feel like I was a king with my own private place to bathe, surrounded by my international treasures acquired from my conquests of neighboring countries.(It’s probably just me and my crazy imagination.)
There were a few other rooms, but they were all for taking showers before leaving the place.In no way were you cheated out of any particular type of sauna/cold bath/hot bath, but the reduced number of selections did make me feel this way.Clemens, the typical American, looking at quantity instead of quality.Or Clemens, the typical American, always moving to the next experience instead of treasuring the current one.Or Clemens, the typical American, over-scheduling his life even when he’s on vacation.Mmm – there’s much to learn from other cultures.
Before leaving Spa World, there is a checkout machine that you pay for the expenses of the wristband.In return, you get a ticket that makes the turnstiles work for the exit.I think there’s a huge flaw in this system, but they probably took it into account.What stops a person from paying for the 3 hours and then getting the ticket to leave later? You could basically sleep there in those lounge chairs and not have to pay for those overnight fees, right?I don’t think it’s worth the extra $3 or $5 that you’d be saving, but I’d be curious to see if they thought about the scenario.
~See Lemons Thoroughly Replenished