My Experience of Being Naked in a Local Onsen
I was so exhausted from my 32 hour journey to the Japanese country town. I find it difficult to sleep on buses and planes and despite my eyes feeling like they weighed a kilo each I just could not sleep. I met my couchsurfing host at the train station where he then took me on a tour of the town. I struggled to converse, but tried my best as I didn't want to appear as rude.
That evening we went out for a sushi meal, it was delicious! And then on the way back he informed me we were stopping at an Onsen. Whatever one of those was... I thought, at the time, it was a shopping center or something. When we arrived I realised that it was basically an inside hot spring! And I had no bikini to wear. I quickly turned around and told him that I didn't have anything to wear, but he laughed and told me I go in naked!!!! I could have died! I don't think I have ever got naked in front of anyone (other than Nath). On the positive side of things, at least it was relaxing, which was just what I needed.
I walked into the female section to find about 100 naked women walking around casually. They were all so slim, well groomed and looked perfect! I had gained a stone these past few months and already felt uncomfortable before I had even taken my clothes off... maybe not so relaxing after all. As I had been unaware I was getting naked in front of anyone I hadn't even prepared my body for it. Some impression I was making on the British culture! They must have thought we were an ape species.
I took a deep breath and took my clothes off at twice the speed I would normally had taken them off, then braved the walk to the baths, pretending like I knew where I was going - I didn't. As I walked past, everyone stared at the pale, chubby white girl, and they didn't even make it obscure. I suppose they hadn't really seen many tourists, especially naked ones! I felt so uncomfortable and for some reason it made me walk like a robot who hadn't been oiled in while. It didn't help that the floor was slippy, and the last thing I wanted to do was to fall over naked So this robotic walk I was doing was having to be done in a slow motion and it felt like I was never going to reach the baths.
I climbed into one of the warm baths, bending over, paranoid about my butt crack I was now showing to everyone. The staring didn't stop, everywhere I looked there were women staring at me... So this is how zoo animals feel. It also seemed like I was being avoided, I was in a bath fit for about eight people, yet they were all crammed into the baths on the other side, eyes constantly locked to the strange species that had got into the water.
As soon as I lay down and rested my head, I closed my eyes and forgot about the amount of people staring at my private parts. It was so relaxing, and somehow I fell asleep... for two hours! OMG, my couch surfing host must had been wondering what the heck I was up to. Fortunately he was outside, waiting for me while eating a green tea ice-cream.
Despite the discomfort I felt in the local onsen, I would 100% go to another one, but maybe in a place which is used to tourists.