Just so naked.
Today, two of my closest friends and I got naked. Very naked. Together.
We took off our clothes, placed them in a locker and entered a modest room with small showers lining the space. We washed ourselves in a row, while sitting on miniature stools. We then soaked in a bath way too hot to actually soak in, so we sat around the edges chatting with our bodies on full display.
Then we were called over to an area lined with soaking wet massage tables where we laid down one by one. For the next 30 minutes every last inch of our bodies were scrubbed and rubbed until half of our skin lay on the table alongside us. From there, we experienced an entire bottle’s worth of oil being massaged into our remaining skin, a frozen face mask that smelled edible and as the grand finale we were flipped and turned to have our hair washed for us.
Our bodies were not precious. There were no private parts. We were beautiful pieces of meat that were pushed, pulled and stretched every which way - out in the open for the world to see. After an exhale in the sauna and steam room we left feeling happy, unbelievably clean and slightly stoned in that incredibly peaceful sort of way. It was a bonding experience unlike no other.
I remember my first trip to an onsen here. I couldn’t get over how naked it all was and instead of relaxing, I spent my time focusing on being naked, being naked, being naked. Then experience by experience you get more and more free. The unusual becomes more usual. Now, I am finally relaxing into it. I am less focused on the fact that I have nothing to hide my body, as I have nothing to hide.
It is wild a culture that can be so conservative, can also be so open. That’s the beauty of this country. The juxtapositions get me again and again.
P.S. Yes, Tokyo friends, I had my first Adam + Eve experience. Yes, everyone else, if you visit me we are going, so brace yourselves.