Hi, you’re on the air for…

O3: Tripping over a Yakuza

That’s Onsen 3, if you haven’t been paying attention…

With Cboy918, Kizyr, Vlade, Msbliss, Petey, BluJazz, the Vixen, Nefarious, Omega-man, Mr. Mephisto, a Ninja, Mystic Creator, and my long lost brother.

O-man: Okay, this is the final broadcast of O3. Thanks for your patience… that is if you’re still listening… Cboy918 from Maryland, you’re on the air…

Cboy918: Hold up a second. Are you leaving xanga again? “Interlude before the final broadcast”? C’mon now, whats the reason this time?

O-man: Hahahaha, I meant the broadcasts about onsen. This thing got so long that I broke it up into three parts, this being the final part of the trilogy. First there was T3, then Matrix Revolution, followed by Return of the King. Now this… You think I’ might get nominated for a Marconi? hehehehhehe. Anyway, I’m flattered that you care, but not to worry. I’ll be here for the time being… Kizyr, you’re on the air.

kizyr: Before I was pretty embarassed to take a public bath–last time I was in Japan I didn’t once, actually. But this time, I’ve gone to a public お風呂 (ofuro – specifically a bath) plenty of times and an 温泉 (onsen – hot springs) a few times as well.

O-man: Hey thanks for the translation. at least some of you realize that not everyone here know Japanese…

kizyr: The first time it wasn’t so awkward, because in our ryokan (inn) I was the only one who wanted to get up at 6AM to watch the sun rise while sitting in the ofuro (which I still highly recommend). Once, one other guest of the inn came in, but it didn’t bother me like I thought it might. After that, onsen, ofuro, whatever was no problem anymore. After you get over your initial reservations and realise that nobody is looking at you, it’s all good.

O-man: Dude, there’s a reason why no one was in the onsen at 6AM. First and foremost, an onsen is a plce for R & R: rest and relaxation. And in Japan, as you should know, that usually involves imbibing huge quantities of beer. So while going into a hot spring will relieve some of the pains of a hangover, few will wake up at the crack of dawn for that particular remedy. I know. Been there, done that… Next, Ham… uh, I mean, gokingsgo, from Sant.. uh, Los Angeles… Whew… you’re on the air.

gokingsgo: hmmm… something to do when i go on my japan trip.

O-man: That’s right dude. And have a safe trip… msbLiSs from Djibouti? Where the heck is that? Aint’ you from Cali?

msbLiSs: onsen, that sounds lovely. I only get to watch it in anime form. *sigh*

O-man: Hahahah, it IS lovely. You gotta go. None of this anime crap. Virtual is fun, but it will never beat the real thing… Anyway, Link_Strife, you’re on the air…

Link_Strife: that, i feel i must say, was…….now, how should I say what I must say…….quite interesting. yes indeed. lol.

O-man: I am in awe of your choice of diction. *click* ddsb2000 from Florida

ddsb2000: Jeez onsen sound a little weird. I’ve been looking forward to going to japan as long as i have been studying japanese but onsen don’t seem like something i’d be interested in.

O-man: Why? As strange as it may sound, it is part of the cultural landscape of Japan. You’ve heard of the Japan communal mentalitiy, the group over the individual, right? Well this is kind of its physical manifestation. If you want to learn and understand Japan, how could you not want to experience such an integral part of their culture?

ddsb2000: I mean if i get in a hot tub without the possiblitlity, of girls and all i can hope for is naked guys then the future is dim indeed.

O-man: Well, damn, that’s a pretty good reason, I must admit, heheheheheheh…. new listener (and subscriber) blu_jazz from… Virginia?

blu_jazz: well, that provided for interesting reading…

O-man: Thanks, the O-man aims to please. I’m such a whore, but don’t dis me like, like… well speak of the devil. Our Binghamton beauty is back…

bane_vixen: i guess prancing around in your birthday suit isn’t so bad. but no public baths for me. the only time i get naked is before i shower in my solitary, private bathroom, or when i’m having hot, steamy sex with some guy who can deliver heh

O-man: Alright already. Quite braggin’, will ya’? We can’t all be Karl Malone, y’know. Let’s see now, nefarious_hatter from Chi-town, you’re on the air.

nefarious_hatter: naked? in water? maybe other people. But i can’t imagine dipping in water and sharing ass germs.

O-man: Hahahha. Ass germs! Reminds me of a story my mother told me. When she went to the sento late at night, she would sometimes see a piece of baby poop floating in the water. Of course, this was long ago during and after WWII in Hiroshima when shit like that (no pun intended) wasn’t that high on the list of priorities. But I’d bet if you went to Japan, you’d go anyway, if only to take a few snapshots… Omega01, you’re on the air.

Omega01: Think about how hot it is in there…germs probably won’t survive for too long, haha.

O-man: Hahah, yeah, I hear ya’. But I think NH was just joking…

Omega01: And about the onsen…I’ve wanted to go for a very long time…I might see about studying abroad to give myself a chance to do it….yeeeesssssss…..

O-man: Indeed, as I mentioned in the previous show, Studying abroad is a great opportunity. It is the easiest way to immerse yourself in a culture with the least amount of effort. Ah, Mr_Mephisto from the backroad of NE Japan. You’re on the air.

Mr_Mephisto: Ha ha, onsen is great. But too much of a good thing can be bad. I like that people crave it. As for me, my kendo teacher wants to go to the onsen all the damn time. Its great after kendo, and the place I like best is only 200yen, but I think I enjoy it more when I go only, say, once a week.

O-man: *Gulp* 200 yen?!?

Mr_Mephisto: And in the snow is awesome. Once I was so hot, I climbed out into the snow and made little snowmen everywhere around the onsen. Makes people happy.

O-man: Happy? Happy?!? With a bunch of little inanimate guys staring at you? Sounds like the premise of a Stephen King story. So, uh, by the way, were you buck naked when you made these snowmen? Hehehehhe, just kidding. zettonv from FSU. What do you have to say?

zettonv: konyoku onsen 😛 there better be some pichi pichi gals there too! kaaaaaaaaaa!

O-man: Like I said in the previous show, only grandmas will come in. So don’t get you hopes up too high. gt_ninja, you’re on the air…

gt_ninja: Yeah Onsen. What is this strategic towel stuff? I saw none of this with women in Japan. Try going to an onsen with senpai. There is a good couple minutes where you realize you’re going to get completely naked in front of your friends and you have to look them in the eye tomorrow.

O-man: Hahahaha. It’s all good. Like Ekin said earlier, its a time where you have “nothing to hide”, its kind of a release…

gt_ninja: Yeah, well, the first time I had to bathe in a Japanese style public bathing room was back in HS on my first trip to Japan in a youth hostel. I picked a strange hour of the day so I could avoid people. I though I got lucky but to my dismay I heard someone else was going to come in. I rushed! And the small Japanese middle school student decided to open the sliding door the same time I did. We virtually knocked into each other, Naked. Big ol’ 5’7″ me and tiny ol’ her. No more naked touching please. >.<

O-man: Haahaha, you know you loved it.

gt_ninja: The best part is being lined up at the faucets and sitting on your stool. As my cousin described it from her watchful eye. “small japanese butt, small japanese butt, small japanese butt, hey look there is my cousin’s large latin butt, small japanese butt…” You get the picture.

O-man: Hahahahahah!!!!!! Whew, I get this image of a butt hanging over the “small” Japanese stool… That might not be the most pleasing of images… hehehehe. Okay, let’s move on. mystic_creator, you’re on the air.

mystic_creator: I’m very comfortable with being naked. I don’t think I would be too embarrassed.

O-man: Good for you. Now go to Japan and prove it… Sammy from Illinois, you’re on the air…

SammyStorm: Howard Stern, watch out! There’s a new DJ in town!

O-man: Dude, no props, please. And Stern ain’t got nothing on me…. hehehehehe…

SammyStorm: The first time I went to a sento, I saw a guy with tattoos all over his body, and you know what that means. But for some reason I wasn’t really embarassed about being naked, but as you said, I couldn’t get used to the really HOT water.

O-man: Yeah, the water can be REALLY hot. But body tattoo, yeah, that’s scary. Tattoos equal yakuza… But I was hoping for someone to make this exact comment. Why is it that I KNOW I can always count on you, Sammy? I mean we lived in the same freakin’ city in Tokyo, right? I feel like I found a long lost brother… What else is in store for us? Anyway, your comment is the perfect segue.

About, geez, I guess it would be 12 years ago now, when I was working at a thinktank in Tokyo, our section went to an onsen (hot spring) for our annual summer retreat. I love Japanese companies. They really know how to relieve stress. Here, in the States, a retreat by a company usually involves seminars on how to make the company better. Well, at this retreat, all we did was drink, eat and get drunk. I’d like to say we debauched, but we were a rather saintly group…

On our way home, our director told us there was one more onsen he wanted to go to. It was further in the mountains and we had to backtrack a bit, but he insisted it was a great place… and who were we to go against our boss? So we went to this little hole-in-the-wall of an onsen. It wasn’t dirty, but it was old and–for lack of a better word–rustic.

Well, as our boss had promised, it was a nice onsen. Hot, intimate and comfy. Back then, I wore glasses instead of contacts and in the onsen, they would fog up, so I usually left my glasses in my clothing basket and entered the bathing area with little vision and a tenugui–the Japanese hand towel. So I’m chatting with a colleague in the small bathing area when I smell cigarette smoke. Now I’m no prude, and at the time I too smoked as well, but there is a time and place for everything so I was rather pissed that someone would be ruining my enjoyment of the onsen with tobacco. I squint my eyes and look around and see a single guy with a dark towel over his shoulder sitting at the edge of the pool taking long deliverate drags on his smokes.

So I thought I’d tell him nicely but firmly that there’s a sign that says “No Smoking” and that he’s screwing it up for everybody else.

So I get up, walk over and sit myself right next to him, dangling my feet in the hot water like him. I turn to him as nonchalantly as possible and was about to speak my mind when I notice that he doesn’t have a towel over his shoulder. In fact it wasn’t anykind of cloth at all. It was a tattoo. *Gulp*

おい、なんなんだよ “Yeah? Whaddya want?” he asked in an annoyed tone…

いい湯ですね “Nice bath, isn’t it,” I managed in a voice about an octive higher than usual.

I got up, walked back to my friend, and enjoyed the rest of my bath in the knowledge that I was going home in one piece…

Thanks for tuning in guys…