A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

The Beginning - Self Realisation

I had known for several years back that I wasn't feeling myself and my happiness lay elsewhere.... So it was no surprise to me when I asked my wife of 10 years for a divorce awhile back. But a definite surprise to many who felt that we held the charade up all to well. It was indeed the hardest thing to do, especially knowing that I would be hurting her, my almost 5 year old son and family and friends. A divorce in an East Indian culture is the hardest thing for family to handle. I get it... yet I cannot even begin to explain why I chose to make this decision.

IMG_20181112_095224_425.jpg

The last year has been an emotional journey... one that has brought out a very different side of me. It has been a lonely, frightening and scary journey filled with a lot of guilt for most part of it. I need to set myself free from this. My family may never ever probably understand nor accept my decision, but time will tell.

This is my journey to be true to myself, believe in myself, love myself and make me a much better person, a better father, a trustworthy and loyal friend and maybe one day an equal and deserving partner. And today, it leads me on my first journey of self exploration since 2004.

20181112_114139.jpg

A week back, I was having coffee with my friend Amanda and she looked me point blank in the eye and told me that I should just get away for a couple of weeks, shut myself down and focus on myself. Even though I knew she was right, I just couldn't help worrying about things! THINGS that just flashed before my eyes were:

  • budget time at work, how can I step away? Will I get any vacation at short notice
  • leaving my son to go far far away to vacation (no matter how you spin it)
  • will she be able to manage things with me not being around in close vicinity?
  • I need to do renovation work in the condo before I transition into the place
  • what about the finances!
  • my parents asked me to come see them, why would I be selfish to do otherwise?
  • what would happen if something happened to me, i don't even have my will ready!

And then it dawned on me..... all these were excuses....!!! I was truly scared!!! I wasn't in control off things ... I didn't feel that I could do this on my own.....!!! The self realisation had begun! I am just a normal human being that has feelings and emotions just like anyone.

20181112_082113.jpg

Right now, I am on my first leg of my trip, sitting in Vancouver International Airport awaiting my adventure. So far, all I know is that I am boarding Japan Airlines (JL17) at 1pm and will be flying into Narita International (Tokyo). This is how my schedule looks like today....

  • Edmonton to Vancouver (November 12)
  • Vancouver to Tokyo (November 12)
  • Tokyo to Taipei (November 19)
  • Taipei to Edmonton (via Vancouver) (November 23)

I am backpacking myself with NO checked in luggage. I am sitting in Vancouver International Airport and am yet to get my boarding pass to Tokyo. Trust me the thought of just leaving everything and going back has crossed my mind.

I am scared... yet a big part of me is excited to see the adventure that lies in front of me. I am ready for this, I have to be....!!!! :)

Posted by soulsearch295 15:38 Archived in Canada Tagged vancouver Comments (0)

Japan: A Culture Shock

Japan Airlines: Wow! I am impressed! What a spacious flight and I didnt feel the tiredness of an almost 11 hour flight. The Japanese people are extremely polite and soo soo nice.....!!! Canadians.... no comparison at all.

20181113_193923.jpg

But I knew this was going to be a bit of a problem. I really havent planned out my trip and the flight in itself gave me an idea of what troubles might lie ahead. The young lady who was sitting next to me was not much of a conversationalist and it was hard to comprehend things. Here is how the conversation went:
[Me] Hi there, I am Alex and you are?
[She] My name is ****** ! (I tried asking again but couldnt figure out the name without coming across as rude).
[Me] So is Japan your home or is Canada?
[She] Japan.
[Me] Aah, which part of Japan
[she] Tokyo
[Me] Oh nice, I am going to Japan for the first time and Tokyo is my first stop over! Maybe you can tell me some good places to sight see in Tokyo?
[She] Oh NO!! My father will pick me up from Narita. I can not come with you! (I just sat there confused and did not realize how this conversation went that direction)

20181113_194605.jpg

Anyways , I really enjoyed the Plum wine on the flight and had 3 glasses. I may even choose to bring some home. And the food was definitely to my taste. So I watched 4 movies on this flight and barely slept a wink. My thoughts floated to people back in Edmonton. I do miss you all, especially my lil boy!!!

I landed in Narita International Airport at 3:30pm and by then, I had figured out a "plan" .... Get the Japan Rail Pass, get a unlimited SIM card for wifi and then get on the NEX to Tokyo and then board a local train to Akihabara... and then find the Hostel that I would be staying at "And Hostel Akihabara". And then the shock set in.... I felt like a chicken running around with my head cut off.... there was no SIM card... I had to get this portable wifi unit.... and then the JR Pass.

20181114_020651.jpg

As i boarded the NEX train to Tokyo (54 minutes express), I looked out the window and it reminded me of Kerala (south indian town), the houses, the cloudy weather and then i realized that it was barely 4:30pm and it was pitching dark outside. The 54 minute travel lasted way over 90 minutes with multiple stops owing to someone getting hit on the tracks! I didn't expect that to happen and hopefully not my lasting impression of Japan.

20181113_193555.jpg

I finally reached the Hostel at Akihabara with a lot of help from google and walking through small roads and taking in the restaurants and very much the absence of English on those restaurants. I will be looking for some help to figure out things when it comes to food. The dorm style rooming was very different for me but very much appealing. Everything is so clean and small but the bed looks cozy. A quick shower and I was out the door to explore something to eat. I walked around the block only to stop at the famous Japanese Izhakaya which was packed with people (all dressed in suits) and it definitely was inviting. English Menu prices sure seem to be a tad bit more expensive than the local amount :)

The weather is very pleasant and although I wore my little light jacket, I sure could manage without it. Afterall, its no comparison with the local weather out in Edmonton. By the time it was 9pm, I was ready to call it a night! and crash I did.... only to wake up at 1am (almost in line with Edmonton time). I still managed to try and get some more sleep but not a whole lot.

20181114_074954.jpg

I decided to get out and go walking a bit around 530am and stopped at the 7-11 to grab something to eat. Wow, I was impressed, but I think I might have been charged on my credit card as it didnt seem to work. I will know once I get back to Canada. I then decided, I should pack light and head into Tokyo city to sight see and that is what I did!!! Booked my tickets to Osaka for tomorrow at noon and then I was lost. I did not know where to go.... all the shops were closed.... Yes, it was just 7am after all.... so I decided I should come back to the Hostel and relax a bit.... and actually plan my day a bit by talking to people here that actually know the place. This might include a visit to the SEGA store. Caleb might be getting something special from here.

And as I sit here planning the day, I hear the Canadian accent and I smile... such a small world indeed. That's when I made my way to say hi to Cody and Audrey who are visiting Japan for 10 days from Vancouver!!!!

So, I am actually feeling very lost..... but actually enjoying the fact that things are the way that they are for now!!

Posted by soulsearch295 16:15 Archived in Japan Tagged tokyo akihabara narita Comments (0)

The Tokyo Experience - Let it Go!

20181114_115157.jpg

Since my last post, I decided to step away from the norm of trying to fit anything and everything into my tight schedule here in Japan. While I didn't want to sit in the hostel and just relax, I also decided that I would like to focus on a few things that might give me an experience and an exposure to Life in Tokyo both for a resident and as a Tourist.

I opted to take the local commuter train and try and get to the Sky Tree, The Tokyo Government Building Observatory and the Imperial Castle before 5pm and then relax a bit in the hostel and explore some night photography in Akihabara. And off I did go and then boarded the train on board to the Imperial Castle..... there came the first challenge on how directionally challenged I was in a strange city as I took the wrong train. And I start to panic.... a good 20 minutes later, I compose myself and find an oportunity to be on track to see the Skytree instead...... and I took the chance and found myself at the point of boarding. I did not have the right tickets on hand..... and based on reading up on the Skytree, I decided to drop the idea.

20181114_115832.jpg

Tokyo Government Central became the first point of interest and off I went.....!!! I reached Shinjuku station and man was it a very different side of Japan. I almost felt as if I was in Vancouver BC.... totally spotless and the high rise buildings and the experience. I decided to walk the 14 min stretch to the Observatory..... and woah is me.... directions on google didnt help....!!! The thought that crossed my mind was: "How will I get myself on the Amazing Race if this is the case?". I spend almost an hour going around before I actually found myself back at the station and onward to the Observatory. This place looks amazing. A 10 minute wait and up the elevators we went to the 44th floor.

What a view indeed. I could see all of Tokyo: the Skytree, Mount Fuji in the distance and the beauitful green pockets throughout the city. I chose to have lunch at the restaurant. A lunch meal starts at 1100 Yen (CAD 11.50) which includes a soft drink buffet. Yes, you heard me right! unlimited drinks is called a soft drink... and the more interesting part is that there was no POP... just teas, lattes, coffee, juices. Loved the drinks menu and got to experiment making my own drink.

20181114_124221.jpg7a556330-e7c5-11e8-a3f0-215ef56d9730.jpg7c88e500-e7c5-11e8-a3f0-215ef56d9730.jpg5ed08ea0-e7c5-11e8-a3f0-215ef56d9730.jpg65c1e6a0-e7c5-11e8-a3f0-215ef56d9730.jpg20181114_161205.jpg

I called my son Caleb while on top of the observatory before he went to bed and got him to get a glimpse of the view. Technology sure has a way of integrating people and life. I then decided to head back down and go see the Imperial Palace. That's when trouble started.... my Mastercard wouldnt work..... and I ended up paying cash.... oh how I hate carrying cash. So, I called up Mastercard to check on the issue only to find out that the security department wants to connect with me and they had just closed down for the day 2 minutes prior to my call. Trust my luck eh!!! Funny thing.... I wasn't bothered by it.

I then started my trip to the Imperial Palace. One of the key things that I realized and observed is that I struggle with asking for help. I have gotten into the mindset, that it's my issue and I can/have to deal with it.... and truth is... that I will make things happen, just after figuring it out myself. Something, I need to change moving forward.

20181114_153035.jpg20181114_155713.jpg20181114_153713.jpg20181114_153742.jpg20181114_153623.jpg20181114_155508.jpg

While it was a short trip into the Imperial Palace. I was definitely taking in the beauty of the Gardens and just cleanliness and Architecture that came with the intricate details of the structures that were prevalant in building the place. I actually enjoyed going back in time and reminiscing of the days when we did architectural field trips. I used my Nikon camera to capture a lot of the pics, though the ones posted in this blog are just from my camera.

20181114_174913.jpg

I then decided to walk back to the hostel and take a bit of rest. Technically, I havent slept much yet and have been on the go most of the day. So a bit of a rest would do me some good and the idea was to have a slow night. Well plans are meant to be plans... reality though was totally different. As I entered the hostel, I noticed a guy I had seen from yesterday. East Indian heritage but I overheard him saying that he was a 3rd generation Malaysian. In any case, he was toying with some camera equipment and he was eyeing my Nikon. We got talking and thats how I got introduced to Joss.

Joss and I decided to tour Akhibara to do some street and night photography.... and I really loved being able to get out and do that. It has been a while since I did that back in Edmonton and so I actually enjoyed getting to know the city through Joss who is on his 5th visit to Japan. He took his time to show me his way on stretching the dime to eat food in Japan. It is something to consider, if my credit card doesn't work again ;)

We grabbed a few drinks for the local market and headed back to the hostel and started drinking and conversing. Joss is a 35 year old IT deliquent and has no ties in terms of partners or kids... so he is just doing what he wants to do while working. Soon we were joined by Alex (yes another one) who is 25 and is a pilot with American Airlines. I think the company just then expanded as Daniel joined us at the table with a bottle of whisky and coke. Daniel is a 20 year old, South Korean native that is from Adelaide, Australia. I chose to talk about Daniel, as the next part relates to his quest and what that brought to me.

Daniel came to Japan for Hitomi, a cute Japanese girl! One that was an exchange student in Australia. Daniel happened to meet her once (3 second count) in December 2017 and is head over heels crazy "in love" for her. Here is the gist of things: he has seen her once, he follows her on Instagram, they sporadically text (she responds once every 20 days, while his text is usually in 5 minutes) and he is trying to meet her while here... and has been hoping to run into her in Tokyo city. To top it off, he has brought a ring! Now, what I put down was not meant to be demeaning.... but in fact, it reflects a situation most guys go through at a certain stage in their early 20's. That feeling that she is the one and life can't be any different without her....!!!

Being the oldest in the group and going through a divorce, this kid was looking at me to share what to do! I didn't feel that I was the best person to do that, yet, I felt I needed to help this kid realize what might be a reality that he may have to deal with. We even included our hostess to join the conversation to give a Japanese ladies perspective. At the end of the night, we were also joined by Bastian (35 year old German) and while the drinks flowed, so did the conversation and I could see the kids face drop! The music changed into slow ballads and it was hard to see his face. He has come to Japan for 3 weeks and is on day #3... with no plans ahead... counting on meeting this one person and hoping to write his love story. He has a choice to make..... Tell her how he feels and wait to see the response to decided how to move forward.... or to sit back and let the journey take its course.
The collective recommendation was to go with Option 1. The decision is Daniel's to make. I do wish him the best as he makes the decision.

893fc320-e85d-11e8-abee-0583360154f3.jpeg

Why this bit was important for me! Simply put, I am at the fork where a decision(s) have been made. It is a hard and difficult time and I have been seeking my inner strength to keep me going. At 38, I know the journey ahead is not the easiest, but its definitely not the toughest. As hard as this statement is to follow through with, I do believe in it:

"If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, its yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be."

One cannot force someone to love and be with you. You have to give them the freedom to choose. I have to allow them the freedom to choose.... The emotional freedom to make a choice and accept being a valued addition in their life and vice versa. I know where my heart is... and while this is very hard for me... it is the reality.... and I have faith and hope!!! Time will tell if things map its course.... thats a journey I look forward to exploring!

Posted by soulsearch295 13:42 Archived in Japan Tagged tokyo shinjuku akhibara Comments (0)

Osaka: Slowing it down

I woke up in the morning with the intent of going into Ginza followed by eating breakfast sushi at the Tsukiji fish market and then heading back to the hostel, picking up my things and then heading to Osaka!!

20181115_110951.jpg

Foiled: My right foot started throbbing as I climbed out of bed and my floor touched the ground. I knew I could sustain the pain over a period of time. After all, I had done it when we had visited New York in 2009. But my gut told me to relax and not push my limits. This was just day 4 and I still have a lot to take in before I get home.... and thats what I did. So, to those reading my blog today, it is less Japan and more thoughts today :)

I spend the morning repacking my back pack and only to find out that my smaller backpack that I use while roaming the streets was damaged (Cheap Dollar store travel bag)... so I may have to look at getting a new one once I get to Osaka. It seems like a good idea as i might have to bring back some additional souveniers, like that plum wine :). I had some breakfast from the 7-11 and then checked out from the hostel at around 10am. Although my train to Osaka was at noon, I had the brilliant idea of maybe trying to get in earlier. I did have the unlimited usage of the JR Pass that would allow me to travel anywhere and anyplace that was part of the JR line. Unfortunately, all the earlier trains were full and now my feet were starting to throb!

I decided I would get a foot massage done and made myself down to the closest Reflexology stage. For those avid users of google map (and I love Google).... it has been very difficult using Google in terminus that have multiple levels as Google only observes locations in the 2D mode. So lesson learned, add additional time to your travels when exploring new places. A 30 minute reflexology session (CAD 38) and I was feeling better but still had the pain. I grabbed some sandwiches and then boarded the Hikari 471 bound to Osaka via Nagano and Kyoto! My first ever bullet train ride. The Hikari clocks upto 300km/hr on certain lines and what would normally take 5 hours 40 minutes by a car is now a 2 hour 45 minute train ride. Loved the experience of the bullet train and definitely one of the best ways to explore Japan especially when you have very limited time. Mount Fuji was the highlight of the train ride alongwith the quaint little towns that fall between tunnel sections. Japan is truly a modern beautiful city.

270_20181115_120719.jpg20181115_125444.jpg8471a990-e8bb-11e8-ba1b-1d3603a6b24d.jpg

The train ride also got me thinking on the book that I was reading in the hostel on the culture in Japan. I really was fascinated by what I read and it showed me a lot of things on why things are the way that they are and why people love coming to Japan. It is really the culture and the people. People here truly will go out of the way to make things happen for you. One good example: when I boarded the Narita Express on day 1 from the airport, I observed an older British lady asking a Japanese man on when to get off the train at Tokyo. Although the Intercom did share information in English, this man went and reassured the lady multiple times whenever the train paused or stopped. I found it very interesting, yet a reflection of who they are as people.

The Question: Would I consider making Japan a place I might consider moving to for a few years at the very least?
So far I have loved the culture, the people and the food is really one that I could explore. But, I don't think I could manage the system and when I talk about the system, its the work life balance. Japan has the most suicide rates and I can see why. It's all about doing the right thing and excelling in what you do. This is typical of most Asian cultures and it is what has got some really significant Asian people doing amazing things worldwide. But from what I have read and talking to the locals, Japan takes it another level. Here are some key observations:

  • Employees are expected to work hard and demonstrate loyalty to the firm, in exchange for some degree of job security and benefits, such as housing subsidies, good insurance, the use of recreation facilities, and bonuses and pensions.
  • Wages begin low, but seniority is rewarded, with promotions based on a combination of seniority and ability.
  • Leadership is not based on assertiveness or quick decision making but on the ability to create consensus, taking into account the needs of subordinates.
  • This system rewards behavior demonstrating identification with the team effort, indicated by singing the company song, not taking all of one's vacation days, and sharing credit for accomplishments with the work group.
  • Pride in one's work is expressed through competition with other parallel sections in the company and between one's company and other companies in similar lines of business. Thus, individuals are motivated to maintain wa (harmony) and participate in group activities, not only on the job but also in after-hours socializing (nomikai).

Nomikai: A nomikai (Japanese: 飲み会) is a drinking party phenomenon particular to Japanese culture. Nomikai are a part of the culture of most places of employment, from schools to nightclubs. They are most often held in restaurants or izakaya, usually with everyone seated at one large table or occupying a separated section of the venue. It's an uncalled tradition of ensuring the alcohol flows and it is the only avenue where a subordinate may be able to say something to their lead without repercursions.

20181116_082432.jpg

For a person like me and considering that I am currently in a job that I thought I might retire into (20 plus years earlier), I do not feel that I could handle this and I would likely get the capital punishment or get thrown in front of the train by my peers! I do love my life to do that.

I got into Osaka and made my way to my Airbnb place at Julios. This place is a good 15 minute walk from Honmachi Station towards Osaka Castle. The host Julio was very accomodating. As soon as I got in, he greeted me and handed me a glass of water, shared the rules of the hostel and then took me on a tour of the hostel. At a time, he hopes to get atleast 5 guests a day, however, this time around, its just me and another guy named Ishmael from Mexico. We might recieve another friend from Taiwan during my stay at this place. Julio is a dual citizen, one being Japanese and the other being Argentinian. As he put it best, he actually speaks better Spanish than he does English and trust me when I say this, I was really impressed with his English. Julio was extremely knowledgeable and suggested some sight seeing options while I was here and ensuring that I didn't overwork my ankle.
20181116_082635.jpg20181115_195224.jpg20181115_182101.jpg

This is what took me to Keihan City Mall in Tembashikyomachi and exploring the idea of sushi on a belt. The sushi was extremely fresh and the experience of trying out different types of seafood that I would normally get in Edmonton was just amazing :). I decided to go all out and splurge and by the time I came out, I think I had 11 plates of sushi (each plate consists of 1-3 pieces of sushi) and it only cost me 1650 Yen.... which is under CAD20. Wow!!! I then wandered around the mall and entered their version of a Dollar Store (Dasio) where everything in the place is just a 100 Yen. I was told that this is a good place for souveniers, however, I wasn't impressed with the collection but its definitely a very nice store.

I also ended up buying a backpack from the area. People might question my choice in color, but those who know me well, know that I enjoy standing out and being different. I also chose to buy this as a gift for Caleb as a potential school bag that he would like. Man, do I miss him.... know that I love you and you are in my thoughts through this journey! While, I thought I might be able to trudge towards seeing the nightly version of the Osaka Castle, I could feel the pressure on my feet and decided to return back to the hostel and rest. I did manage to capture a few night shots of the night lights in Osaka and I definitely look forward to seeing the rest of Osaka over the next two days.
20181116_083935.jpg20181115_192647.jpg20181115_192655.jpg

I got back to hostel and interestingly without using google maps :) (pat on the back). I settled in with a glass of wine and decided to netflix a movie and just chill and relax. "Love per square feet" is an Indian movie that I chose to watch and it was one that I found was cute and enjoyed. It was a good slow day and I am hoping that I will be less stressed out tomorrow to continue on exploring Osaka with the amazing Osaka 2 day pass that will allow me to travel the subway system and explore atleast 35 different attractions. NO... I do not intend to explore all the places but will definitely try a few places for sure.

Posted by soulsearch295 14:59 Archived in Japan Tagged osaka shinkansen honmachi hikari Comments (0)

The Onsen Experience: Letting go!

20181116_100444.jpg

Following my last entry, I took to sight seeing Osaka! I had bought the Amazing Osaka Pass (2 days for Yen 3400) and decided to travel around and explore many of the places that Osaka has to offer. Based on what, I have observed, I will say that I do prefer Osaka over Tokyo!!

Before I begin to write about my journey, I want to reiterate on how lovely these people are here in Japan. I did share that my ankle was hurting and my host Julio intervened and got me this medicated band to put on my ankle. They came in a 10 pack and he handed the entire thing to me. Mind you, I was clueless when I opened the band as I could not read the writing, nor could I figure out how to put it on. Seeing my confusion, Julio came to the rescue and showed me how to do it. Such an amazing person and host.

I started of walking to the Osaka Castle. The castle is one of Japan's most famous landmarks and it played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century. It is indeed a marvel on its own, about 8 floors that have been turned into a musuem and modernized. I loved seeing the architecture and quickly going through the various floors and understanding the history of what the Japanese went through. Two out of the floors do not allow one to take photographs. This is owing to the rebellious era that was going through Japan. One thing that I really found interesting was how they have incorporated technology in their gallery. As you can see from the pictures, the gallery is based on holographic images. I was very much impressed by that.
20181116_094740.jpg20181116_101812.jpg26d2d150-e961-11e8-804f-0fec36a3a22e.jpg

Following that, I walked all the way to Temmabashi which was the same location as the Keihan City Mall that I went to the previous night. I used the pass to get on the Aqualiner, which would give me a tour of the waterways and sights in the close vicinity. The interesting thing about the aqualiner is that you are literally sitting at water level and the the roof of the boat changes height based on the tide and when it has to go under bridges that are low. Interesting use of technology to adapt to the environment. It was the most relaxing trip and I got to just put myself at ease through the entire ride (55 minutes).
1aaac9a0-e961-11e8-804f-0fec36a3a22e.jpg20181116_112751.jpg20181116_112747.jpg

It was noon by this time and I decided to take the Osaka subway and head down to Tennoji and see the zoo. Caleb would have loved this experience. Yes, there was a lot of walking, but just seeing the animals out here and how thearea was laid out, it just feels like their natural habitat. The African Savannah viewpoint, as they call it, seems to suggest that the wildlife just seem to integrate with each other. The truth is that there is a moat behind that separates the lions from the rest of the herbiovores. A lot of schools do field trips to these areas and something that we don't see in Canada is the uniformed students parading around the zoo with the flags of their respective schools held high with pride.

20181116_133946.jpg 20181116_134616.jpg20181116_135654.jpg

Kuchu Teien Observatory (Umeda Sky building)

20181116_151444.jpg

I then decided to go see the Kuchu Teien Observatory (Umeda Sky building). It was quite a trek from the Umeda station to the sky building and especially with the ankle starting to hurt again, I did want to take things slow. Waddling away, I made myself to the sky building. What an architectural marvel (note: I didn't say engineering).To be honest, you need an architect to think the crazy things and yes you need the engineer to make it happen, but hey the vision sure belongs to the Architect.

Some facts about the building:

  • It is the nineteenth-tallest building in Osaka Prefecture, Japan, and one of the city's most recognizable landmarks.
  • It consists of two 40-story towers that connect at their two uppermost stories, with bridges and an escalator crossing the wide atrium-like space in the center.
  • The building is about 173 m (568 ft) in height.
  • The building was designed by Hiroshi Hara, was constructed by Takenaka Corporation and was completed in 1993.

20181116_152646.jpg20181116_151530.jpg71f36c60-ea03-11e8-abc4-e3cfd93fd9a5.jpg

While, I was enjoying the sights and sounds, my ankle started hurting again and I decided that I should look at the option of an ONSEN and thus begun my search for one. So, I am sure many of you are wondering what an ONSEN refers to. Here are some key facts about an ONSEN as researched through the web:

20181116_213740.jpg

* An onsen (温泉) is a Japanese hot spring; the term also extends to cover the bathing facilities and traditional inns frequently situated around a hot spring.

  • Onsens by definition use naturally hot water from geothermally heated springs.
  • As a volcanically active country, Japan has thousands of onsens scattered throughout all of its major islands.
  • Onsens come in many types and shapes, including outdoor (露天風呂 or 野天風呂 roten-buro or noten-buro) and indoor baths.
  • Baths may be either publicly run by a municipality or privately (内湯 uchiyu), often as part of a hotel, ryokan, or bed and breakfast (民宿 minshuku).

Nowadays, as most households have their own bath, the number of traditional public baths has decreased, but the number of sightseeing hot spring towns has increased (most notable ones including Kinosaki Onsen, Togura Kamiyamada Onsen, and Akanko Onsen.

Spa World was what i decided on. For 1200 Yen, I could get into the ONSEN and spend the entire day there. It was interesting for me as this meant walking into a public washroom and being bare naked for the most of the time that I was there. I will not get into any of the graphic details and there are no pictures to share, but it was an experience that I was wanting to experience. The spa world has 8 floors and public baths are located on the 6th and 4th floor. The interesting thing about this ONSEN is that each of the bath floor has a unique experience with the 6th floor being 8 baths with an Asian theme and the 4th being of a European theme. On odd months, men go to the 6th floor and women on the 4th floor. MEN and WOMEN do NOT share the same bath. So, I got a chance to experience the Asian themed bathrooms. From Japanese, to Bali, to Sauna rooms at different temperatures and salt rooms. It was indeed an experience. I got into the ONSEN at 430pm and did not get out till close 10pm. By far, something I would repeat over and over again. An the heat and cold did help my ankle to a degree. This was me truly LETTING GO....!!!!

I then decided to get back to the hostel and relax and try and figure out if I might be staying another day in Osaka or heading to Tokyo. So I took the train back and got off at a station that wasn't my normal exit and tried to trek down to the Kichinan.... Google failed me miserably and what should have been a trek that got me home at 1030pm, didn't get me home till midnight. Interestingly, while I was panicking inside of me, I wanted to take in the experience and that is what I did. I got to experience Namba, Dontuburri market and have some soup while on this quest of getting back to the hostel.

20181116_222243.jpg20181116_222806.jpg20181116_185752.jpg

This is a late blog. One that is being written in the midst of a lot of chaos. It is currently 1045am and I need to vacate the place for 11am. In the midst of packing, charging all my devices, having sushi for breakfast (yes sushi) and a coffee, its been a bit of a madhouse.

I am heading back to Tokyo now!!!

Posted by soulsearch295 16:43 Archived in Japan Tagged osaka umeda world castle spa tennoji Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 12) Page [1] 2 3 »