No, it’s not creepy taking pictures at an osen… Well, maybe a little. Just do it quickly!
Posted by Heliocentrism on October 24, 2010
October 9, 2010
You want me to cut the grass with a… what? Scythe?
Last Monday I got a letter in the mail in Japanese. All I could understand on the page was 7:00am Saturday, October 9th. From this little information I knew what the letter was all about.
Yard work. More precisely community yard work. The people in my apartment block get together once a month to cut the grass, rake, and tidy up our little part of Oita. If you can’t make it or don’t want to clean, you will be charged 1500JPY.
You grab a fist full of grass with one gloved hand and swing the scythe over with the other. It would be hard work, but we have very little actual grass around our apartment. It’s more like small strips of lawn here and there.
After work we gathered together for a little community chat. All the announcements were lost on the American tenants, but we tried to look interested anyways. The whole thing from start to finish took 45 minutes.
AJET Sports Day
The following Monday was Sports Day here in Japan and so the Oita chapter of AJET planned a Sports Day celebration for the JETs and friends of JETs in the area. We went to a park in Beppu near the main train station.
In case you are unfamiliar with AJET, let me tell you what it is. They are a group of voluntarily JETs who plan activities for English teachers in a given town, city, prefecture. They help combat boredom and get us foreigners to socialize.
The day started out with Capture the Flag and progressed to other sports games like Kick Ball, and Multi-legged Races. One game we played called Vegetable Face Off, which had us pit two people against each other to see who could embody the essence of a given vegetable more. I still think I was cheated on my eggplant impersonation!
I really want a picture. Will it seem creepy if I whip out my camera?
To end our day of sports, we all when to Kitahama Termas Onsen. It is one of a few co-ed onsens in town. Most onsens require bathers to be completely naked so therefore the sexes are separated. These type of onsens are also isolated and have no view.
When an onsen is more public with ocean front views, people have to wear swim suits. Since bathers are already dressed, they might as well mingle with other sexes.
Sitting in a hot tub after a day of sports is a beautiful thing. There were pools with different temperatures of water. We kept going from really hot to cold to warm to really hot. It was amazing!
How to get there:
You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.
Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.
- Emergency Numbers:
- Police 110
- Ambulance and Fire 119
- Important phone numbers to know while in Japan
- Comfort Woman
- The Commoner
- Empire of the Sun
- Flyboys: A True Story of Courage
- Geisha, a Life
- Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II’s Most Dramatic Mission
- The Last Concubine
- Memoirs of a Geisha
- Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath
- Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
- Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan. Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
- InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank toaskwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
- ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
- The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
- You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)
- Coordinates 33°17’13.1″N 131°29’15.8″E
By Car –
- Drive to Beppu by way of route 10 which is also route 52 through downtown Beppu.
- Turn onto route 32 which will take you right up to Beppu Station. Turn with the road and it will take you under the train tracks.
- Once you pass the underpass, take a right at the first non-one-way street.
- Go straight and then turn left at the light.
- Continue straight until you see the sign for the park.
- Parking is across the street from the park.
By Public Transportation –
- Go to Beppu Station.
- Exit through the west end of the station.
- Keep walking along that main road and you will reach the park.
- The park is free but there are small charges for parking and use of some of the sport facilities
- 9:00 to 17:00
- Running track at night 17:00 to 21:00
- Softball field at night 18:00 to 22:00
It’s a big park that’s great for picnicking, frisbi-ing, soccering, or any other ~ing that one would or could do outdoors without getting arrested.
(I’m not sure if barbecuing is alowed…)
Kitahama Termas Onsen
- Coordinates 33°17’09.5″N 131°30’18.5″E
By Car –
- Drive to Beppu at way of route 10 which is also route 52 through downtown Beppu.
- It’s along route 10/52 and across the street from a pachinko parlor; what isn’t in Japan? The nearby landmarks near would be Beppu Central Hostipal and a short swimmable section of beach.
By Public Transportation –
- Go to Beppu Station.
- Exit through the east end of the station.
- Head east until you reach route 10.
- Then go north on route 10 until you pass Beppu Central Hospital.
- Cross the street and look out for the osen.
11-1, Kyo Beppu
- Adult – 500JPY
- Kids – 250JPY
- You can bring your own towel, razor, or what have you, or you can rent them.
- Shampoo, conditioner, and soap are free.
- Parking is free
- 10:00 – 22:00
- Admittance ends at 21:00
- This is a co-ed onsen, so you must wear a swimsuit when you go outdoors. You can go naked in the gender segregated areas.
- Every now and then they change the gender of the locker rooms. So don’t head off to change in one direction that was the lady’s area the last time you came.
- You will need to have a 100 yen coin to put your shoes in a small locker in the main lobby. Everyone must have their own locker and you will get your coin back when you retrieve your shoes.
- Give your shoe locker key to the front desk clerk and he or she will give you a corresponding key to the lockers in the gender segregated area. Put your stuff in that locker.
- Take a shower. Put on your swim suit and head outdoors.
- There is also a sauna and a bucket of freezing cold water that you can torture yourself with.