Sadly, March marks the anniversary of the great Japan earthquake and tsunami and although the devastation and heartache is insurmountable, tourists are returning to Japan. Who can blame anyone wanting to explore the land of sumo wrestling and geishas, where everything is familiar and foreign all at the same time. A culture obsessed with rules and protocol and yet consumed by perplexing, and quite frankly kinky, pasttimes.
Cheesy Love Hotels rented by the hour in Japan were invented for star-crossed lovers, naughty spouses, and travellers on lay-overs (no pun intended) who needed somewhere to rest their heads and other body parts for a few hours. Obviously those delicate screens Japanese décor is known for aren’t exactly sound proof in the confines of the family home. Name your fantasy and it’s yours from rotating beds, aquariums, merry-go-rounds, costumes for any scenario, mock weddings, class-rooms, and medically-themed rooms. Discreet payments, clandestine entrances, and sneaky check-ins ensure you’re unlikely to bump into anyone you’d prefer to avoid, although you’ve got to wonder what they’re doing there too?
Although bathing naked isn’t exactly ground breaking, doing so with other nude bodies and in public makes for an interesting holiday tale. The hot springs of Japan, known as onsens, are usually segregated by gender; a titillating notion if you’re gay, or a curious concept if you’re not. A nourishing and sensual pastime no doubt, the hot waters also offer health benefits to remedy heart and skin conditions, the hardening of the arteries, lower blood pressure, and digestive disorders. Follow the rules and you may even start to relax, but thrill seekers getting up to no good may be banished; a scenario best avoided considering you’re as naked as the day you were born – or maybe not?
· The most important thing you need to know is you’re going to be completely naked.
· Before dipping, conspicuously scrub every nook and cranny and make sure you rinse off thoroughly.
· Nothing is to enter the water except for your pristine body.
· Hair must be worn up, but it does beg the question about hair in other body parts.
· Foreigners will be stared at but don’t think of breaking the ice with idle chit-chat, talking with strangers is considered taboo.
· Even more suspicious are tattoos which are associated with gangsters. Probably best to enquire about your ink’s appropriateness prior to stripping off.
Believe it or not, extreme nudists don’t let below freezing temperatures curb their spirit. You could be skiing down Japan’s slopes all snugged up in your bunny outfit and a naked butt will whizz past you. Truth be told, I don’t get it and what about your nether regions in the event of a mishap? But most ski resorts have onsens so you can fly off the snow and land in hot water to defrost. Invigorating, I’m sure.