Hubby just completed a draft of his dissertation, and to celebrate I took him back to Manyo Club for some much need relaxation. School was done for me as of late March, and I have been working a lot too (hence the lack of daily posts, sorry!), telecommuting from home. That makes two cave-people out of us, well, more like a caveman and a vampire as I usually stay up well into the morning. So it was due time to chill out in a hot bath and come back to civilized society ^.^
To be honest, I don't like going to the onsen by myself. If you have ever been to one in Japan, you will know that it's infinitely more fun to go with at least one other female relative or friend. Why? Because onsens in Japan are communal --separated by sex-- but yes, everyone soaks in the same super duper hot spring water bath(s). Completely naked. You must shower and wash up first, but swimsuits and towels are generally not allowed into the baths as coverups.
All that is to say unless you have someone to chitchat with while soaking in the big tub with everybody and their sisters, it can be mind numbingly boring. I don't know if that means relaxation is totally lost on me or what, but when I think of people watching, I definitely don't think of naked people watching. So as you can see, it's so much more fun to have someone there to talk to, not to mention the conversation aspect will definitely help you keep your eyes and mind off of...things :P
Hubby, on the other hand, feels (quite strongly) the opposite. He is totally weirded out by the thought of soaking in a tub with a male friend. LOL! I guess it's understandable coming from his perspective, after all that's why the stereotype is that women go to the bathroom in groups and not men. We do have a lot of friends who are couples, and several of them have suggested we all hit the onsens together, but of course it's always the male counterpart that resists ^.^
Anyway, after just half an hour by myself, I got really bored. When we met up later, I got hubby to rent us a private family bath instead xD This is the room we got. It was a gray cloudy day but otherwise the view of the Yokohama bay was nice. We stayed for just an hour, and even then we hopped in and out of it every 10 or so minutes to cool down. Despite all that precaution I still ended up with massive headache brought on by the constant heat. And yes, onsen water is usually very hot (our tub was about 41-42C, roughly 105.5-107.5F), so hot it will make you dizzy, and if you soak long enough you will faint.
Last but not least, the best part of any onsen, in my humble opinion, is the outdoor foot bath ^.^ Now that's real relaxation. The outdoor foot bath is best enjoyed in colder weather. The onsen will provide you with a coat, and yes, your bare feet will chill just a little when you go out, but as soon as you sit down and dip your feet in the bath, it's heaven.
See my previous Manyo Club post.