Onsen Theme Park

I just noticed that there was a raisin stuck to the top of the inside of Nico’s mouth. This wouldn’t be a problem except that it’s the same raisin that I gave him more than two hours ago at the grocery store. I guess we’re not quite ready for raisins yet.

Argggh! I’m running behind now. I wanted to do a timely cherry blossom piece but now the sakura have already come and gone… Oh well, I’ll post regardless. Come to think of it, this post isn’t really about cherry blossoms anyway (at least not that much). It’s about bad fortunes, baths and giant penises so who cares if it’s all coming a bit late!

A few weeks ago it was cherry blossom season here in Tokyo and since my friend Kate was visiting, I took full advantage of this marvelous time of year in Japan and spent a week being a tourist and taking lots of pictures.

A trip to Sensoji Temple at  Asakusa. This day will stand out as the one on which I received the worst fortune in all my 30 years of receiving fortunes in all their various shapes and forms.  In case you can’t read it well, here is what

the English translation said:

“You can’t tell your request to others, holding it in your mind. Misfortune happens to you repeatedly, just like a fire burns your house. Trouble danger be at you continuously, you should be very careful, that you may loose the most important article for you life. Your request will not be granted. The  patient will get worth. The lost article will not be found. The person you wait for will not come. Stop building new house and removal. Stot starting a trip. Marriage and employment are both bad.”


I’m not too worried though as it seems a bit unlikely that absolutely everything could go wrong in my life at once. Now if it had said mostly good things and only one bad thing- like for example, if it had said “Your travels will be many and you will receive a promotion BUT trouble danger be at you continuously,” well then I might be a bit concerned. Also, Kate also received a terrible fortune as well and the chances of everything in both my life AND her life being shot to hell seem really quite slim to me. But then again, maybe I’m just an optimist.

The day after receiving these dire pronouncements we decided to risk it and journey off to Oedo Onsen Monogatari Onsen Theme Park in Odaiba. That’s right! An entire theme park dedicated to taking baths! After paying, we chose our yukata (sort of like an informal cotton kimono) and set about to exploring. The entire place is set up to look like old Edo and there are fake streets lined with shops and restaurants under a fake starry night sky. Unfortunately we were operating under a bit of a time constraint which meant that rather than spending an entire day in this Disneyesque spa, we were forced to zip through, rushing from one activity to the next as though competing in some sort of surreal reality show obstacle course.

First- Spend 5 minutes taking clothes off and donning yukata. One might think this is a piece of cake but when you are trying to be nonchalant about being naked in front of someone you’ve known for 15 years but have never actually been naked in front of (not to mention the dozens of other naked strangers roaming about), and you are also trying to make sure that you don’t tie our yukata the way that only dead people do, it can be a bit stressful.

30 seconds are spent taking hurried photo to document experience. This photo will not be shown anywhere ever.

5 minutes to thoroughly wash selves before entering bath. Discuss weirdness of setting naked bum down where thousands of other naked bums have sat before. Accidentally spray person in back of me with shower nozzle. Again, try to be nonchalant. Unsuccessful.

20 minutes to sit and soak away all of life’s stresses. Spend what seems like 5 minutes in tiny teacup shaped wooden outdoor bathtub and then a few more minutes in a sort of pond-like thing. Realize that we are late for our massages and dash back into locker rooms to change back into yukata. Again, making sure to not tie it like dead people.

20 minutes of massages given by two little old men. Kate’s masseur apparently decides that one of her legs is shorter than the other and spends a fruitless 10 minutes trying to stretch it out so that it will match the other leg. When this strategy fails to achieve results he spends another few minutes pounding upwards on the bottom of the foot attached to the longer leg. Nothing seems to work and he sighs in exasperation. (At least this was her theory on what was going on)

15 minutes of scarfing down tempura and soft ice cream in Old Edo. I don’t think they had soft ice-cream machines back in Old Edo but whatev.

5 minutes of putting clothes back on so that we can dash back and be home in time to relieve Mr. D of his babysitting duties. Ah, there’s nothing like a bit of relaxation…Oh and hey! If you’re ever in Tokyo and feel like heading out to the onsen theme park but perhaps don’t know what to do with your dog companion, never fear for there’s a dog onsen right next door