How Onsen 'Fixed' my Self-Esteem & Body Issues
The first time I did Japanese onsen was when I was 15. I was in boarding school in the northern island of Hokkaido, back when I knew absolutely nothing about Japanese culture (aside from Pokémon, I guess) and spoke three words of Japanese (yes, no, thank-you).
I had signed up for a snowshoeing trip up in the mountains. There were seven of us: a teacher, the dorm mom, three boys, and one other girl. We climbed the mountain, slept in a tiny shack, toughed it to the summit to watch the sun rise of the horizon, and then hiked down. The whole trip was two days—and on the way back “home,” we stopped at an onsen bathhouse.
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