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We've just been to a hot spring resort, Onneyu, about 120 km (74.5 miles) away from my town. We go there about this time every year and stay in our favorite ryokan (a Japanese-style hotel). Why this time of year? - To wash out the summer sweat. Makes no sense? Never mind, this is how Japanese goes.

Feeling elegant in a classy tatami room, enjoying a variety of Japanese cuisines, and soaking in the relaxing hot springs -- Yeah! Er, but usually we come home a little tired. There is no place like home. Hahaha!

Well, the calendar shows I haven't blogged on a daily basis this month. That's not good. I swore that I would blog every day on April Fools' Day this year.


As much as I love going to a hot spring, it does seem ironic that given their usual distance from the city, and the traffic or long train ride one usually has to endure to get there, one comes home from these getaways exhausted, with the soothing and rejuvenating effect that the onsen provided disappated if not outright gone.

This trip to a hot spring sounds utterly restful. It's a pity it becomes dissipated by the effort to get there and back. No hot springs around here, just hot days and cool nights. This summer, I've found myself (don't laugh) going into the bathroom and running a hot shower so long as to accumulate lots of steam, and just sitting there to sweat and let the heat sink into my bones and lungs and skin. Maybe this is a result of hearing one of the storytellers at the Illinois Storytelling Festival in our town. He talked of his Scandinavian heritage and the custom of sauna (pronounced "sow-na", not "saw-na"), where one just comes down to simple being, and there being nothing to do with or about that. He was right. I soak up the steam and sweat, then step out of the bathroom into the windstream of a fan and sit, thinking about my life.


Exhausting trip, kind of. But still there is something special about onsen. ;)

MNW, I know you had a nice time. I like sitting in the hot-watered bathtub, thinking about my life.

hmmn, Michael's comments made me wonder if the reason I love onsen isn't in part due to my mother being from Finland, and how integral the sauna is to everyday Finnish life.