Saturday, 13 January 2018

Traditionz


mrboiiii at Lake Agco (Mindanao, Philippines):
One with nature! #gopro
Japan and onsen seem inseparable. 
Taking an onsen is much more than just a soak. It revolves around traditions. Following traditions. And it's also about purity: pureness of water combined with pureness of human bodies and human souls. And spirituality.
But that was then.

Now, in order to attract more guests (no, no, no, it's about making more profits) we read that bath wear is allowed. 
Reported on quite a few websites in the region, I'll cite traveller.com.au (Nov. 14), though the original article is attributed to the Washington Post:
'The inn [Sui Suwako] is among an increasing number of hot spring resorts that allow guests to wear a garment while bathing, not only because more and more Japanese find it embarrassing to be naked when men and women can use the same bathing space, but also because of the growing number of foreign visitors who are not used to the traditional requirement that bathers be naked at these facilities.
...
The Japan Tourism Agency in March last year compiled guidelines - for onsen inns and other bathing facilities
...
[The agency] calls for operators to allow guests to use bathing wear.
...
According to Ishikawa [Michio Ishikawa, an onsen critic and chair of the Regional Science Association of Spa, Japan], some operators do not allow users to wear their own garments while bathing for hygienic reasons and instead have them use items they sell or lend'.
Allowing bath wear allows the sanctity of pureness to be dropped as well as allowing aspects such as class, social standing, religion and even politics to enter the onsen bathing process. 
It may not be the end of the world, but it does bring this closer. Ummm, sort of.

♨️Onsen rules series♨️ #onsen #温泉 #newrules #japan #illustration#sofreshsoclean #onsenszn #hotsprings
Giving in to foreigners rudeness may be one way to go, refinery29.uk (Nov. 14) looks at it differently:
'Elsewhere in the world, gendered communal baths are a cornerstone of how you hang out with friends. One country where this happens is Japan, where natural hot springs known as "onsen" are a big part of life. As Shino, a Kyoto resident who has been visiting the baths since she was four, explains: “Onsen are for relaxing and healing, as the waters are often high in minerals. As well as aches and pains, they’re supposed to be good for the skin, which is why a lot of women go.”
...
Pochi, from Tokyo, has her own bath at home (not necessarily a given in a city where space is at a premium) but still goes to the sentō two or three times per month to relax with friends or family. It’s like going to the pub, only wetter.
...
With women in Japan enjoying the longest life expectancy in the world, communal activities such as these play a vital role in maintaining the health and happiness of an ageing population.
...
Naturally, supply and demand plays a big part in the price structure: While the Romans and Victorians were big fans of a bathhouse, many have now been closed down. Plus the UK's level of geothermal activity means hot springs are never going to be – erm – springing up all over the place. But if communal bathing were as ubiquitous and budget-friendly as it is elsewhere, would we be ready to take the plunge?'
Discover
More. On soaking in general.
An article (Adventure.com, Nov. 8) on how internet is killing discovery.
'The internet has made many things, including travel, easier, safer and more accessible. But does too much information risk destroying the most rewarding aspects of travel?
...
And paradoxically—instead of always hunting out the highly-rated sights, hotels, cafes, restaurants and bars—we have to try harder to stop seeking the best experiences, and let them come to us. There might not be many corners of this world yet to be discovered by humankind, but there are plenty yet to be discovered by you.
So if you do manage to find somewhere extra-special and all on your own, perhaps don’t tell us about it via TripAdvisor or Instagram. Don’t even tell us about it when we ask you how your trip was. Save a few spots for the rest of us to ‘discover’'.
Discover what? tripviss.blogs (Jul. 22) has 
'8 Relaxing Hot Springs & Baths in Southeast Asia'.
A couple each from the major nations (in size).

A geothermal musical? ThinkGeoenergy (Nov. 20) reports on a geothermal themed musical, staged in Belgium.

Nikkei.com (Nov. 17) notes a number of new methods to breathe fresh air into older bathing establishments:
'Dwindling customers force public baths to try new ways to get them into hot water
...
Another sento attracting foreign visitors is Showayu in the Awaji district. Teruo Morikawa, who runs the facility, has teamed up with his brother, Masatsugu, to allow free, unlimited bathing for customers who stay at Masatsugu's guesthouse nearby. The service attracts many backpackers from Western countries, Morikawa said.
...
Irifune Onsen near Nishitanabe station specifically targets after-work joggers
..
One sento has turned itself into a venue for an entirely different use. Masataka Tamaru hosts live music performances at his Asahi Onsen
A shortage of successors for traditional family-run operations is also being blamed for sento closures. Some sento owners are handing over operations to people outside the family.
Hideaki Katsura began running Chidori Onsen in Konohana Ward in October, after the owner retired but had no one in the family to take over. The 51-year-old former company employee has a plan to attract a new type of customers -- he said he wants to turn the facility into a place where avid cyclists can gather'.
More soaking business. The Asia Times (Nov. 1) reports:
'Russian and Japanese investors have begun work on the first hot-springs spa resort in Russia to use geothermal mineral water and follow the traditional Japanese bathing style. The bathing complex, known in Japan as an “onsen,” is due to open in 2019 on Sakhalin island in the North Pacific, and will, it is hoped, attract tourists from various parts of the Asia Pacific region'.
Benefits
Time to explore the Southeast Asian region in topical bites, starting off in Indonesia.

A new concept? The onsenresort, Malang (Java). Opened from October last year:
'The one and the only natural hot spring resort and Japanese restaurant in Batu, Malang of East Java. It is ideally located in the amidst of lush pine trees scenery of the mountainous background in Batu, Malang. This is the ideal place for relaxing your mind and body .Our 24 hour friendly staff will welcome you with fresh welcoming drink, and will lead you to the true Japanese villas and also the Japanese bathing culture and experience: ‘Onsen’. It is believed that enjoying onsen will be beneficial for your well being'.
Facebook reviews count 2.5 stars from 14 reviews; quite a few were very negative. 
The Japanese bathing culture and experience? It seems that what is meant, is that it's more attuned to the Indonesian traditional (?) full clothing soaks.

Berendam hot spring di Giri tirta resort dengan air mineral supaya awet muda... yuuks.....#hotsprings#giritirtaresort#happyladies
Five most recommended hot spring destinations near the Toba lake on Sumatra (Laketoba.com, Sep. 17). 
Interesting. And surprising. To see yourself from a selfie. They could have asked ...

Then, the hot spring of Kasi (Vientiane province, Laos) announces on Facebook (Dec. 25) it's new pool has been completed. It looks like a new pool has been constructed in the old pool. 
How it was:

A tip for northern Laos - Kasi Hot Spring. We stayed two nights in one of those small huts on the hill and spent at least half of the time floating (jumping) around in the hot pool. #laos #kasihotspring #biketour
Basic
The (Malaysian) Star (Dec. 2):
'Far from being just a simple scenic spot by a river and waterfall, the Lubuk Timah Hotsprings and Recreational Centre has more than Mother Nature’s wonders to offer to visitors today.
...
Just a few years back though, the popular weekend destination had yet to be properly developed and it lacked many basic amenities.
After several upgrading projects started in 2015, thanks to the Tourism and Culture Ministry, it is now on its way to becoming an outstanding destination'.
The New Strait Times (Dec. 14) on the Setapak soak in KL:
'If you are new to Kuala Lumpur, chances are you probably don’t know that there is a hot springs spot in the city.
...
The pool lies in the compound of the Resource Springs apartment but it is still open to public, daily from 7am to 8pm. For a small fee of RM2 you can have a hot bath here. There is a bathroom with cubicles for men and women. The management has also provided a number of foot-baths around the pool and there is even a small kiddy pool fed by hot water from the main pool'.
    Panchor Hot Spring Serian#photooftheday #travelgram #websta #samsungs7edge #portrait #perspective #photography #panchorhotspring#hotspring #sarawak #borneo
    Philippinesnow (Sep. 13) has:
    '8 Timeless springs in the Philippines'.
    Note: hot and cold.

    Pampainit ng katawan#byaheNiJed #summer #laagan #lakwatsero #instravel #instagram #IG #wanderer #view #PilipinasDestination #nature #naturelover #naturePhotography #Philippines #promotePH #pinas #chasingwondersph #spring #Dauin #NegrosOriental #hotspring #baslay
    Singapore's Strait Times (Nov. 25) reports on Sembawang soaking developments:
    'The country's only natural hot spring on the mainland, the Sembawang Hot Spring, will soon be developed into a park 10 times its current size and feature a cafe, toilets and a floral walk.
    Construction work will start in early 2018 and be completed by 2019, the National Parks Board (NParks) said on Saturday (Nov 25).
    ...
    News that the site was to be developed into a park was met with mixed reviews in April, with some wanting to keep its rustic character while others open to having facilities such as washrooms and basins'.
    To round off this post, just the single picture from northern Thailand:

    The Naked Man.#thailand #pai #nature #naturephotography #natureporn #naked #man #ass #nude #allnatural #hotsprings #mountains #landscape #clouds #summer #ink #river #asia #travel #travelphotography #instatravel #igtravel #travelgram #picoftheday #pictureoftheday

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