No News Headlines comment for these few days as I was in a Japanese onsen place 4-hr by bus coach from Tokyo called: Munza Onsen, with my high school buddy, Mr. Lee KY (aka LKY to me).
It is an interesting experience as I had never been to a pure onsen resort just to relax and sample the Japanese cultural ritual of taking onsen bath previously. In the past it was with tour group for a short 2-3 hours or just a onsen spa with a short 1-2 hours visit!
Lessons for me on the onsen experience and others are:
1. Japan is a very industrialized country - only in the big metropolitan cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, Kagoshima, etc. Outside the big cities, there are still many many traditional houses and people involved with agricultural activities;
2. the Japanese takes their cultural activity very seriously and also very disciplined manner. Everyone knows exactly what to do in an onsen. The small towel to shield your modesty. No loud chattering. No rushing. Simply amazing. They also believed in the health benefits from soaking in onsen as tales of old healthy people into their 80s and 90s kept being shared and repeated!;
3. the young people are also still into these traditional cultural activities. This is indeed very precious as young people in many of the ancient civilizations all over the world were embracing the modern American way while showing indifference or even disdain for their own culture!;
4. Japan is still not an English or American speaking friendly place as most citizens do not speak these languages. However, they are very curious about Singapore Chinese who speak in English to each others despite having the yellow skins! The Japanese people that we met on the trip were courteous and respectful though not all of them are as enthusiastic as my buddy, Lee-san, on getting to know strangers!
5. The Sakura (Cherry) blossom is a sight to behold. Simply beautiful though it does not emit a strong fragrance like some other flowers. Here again, hanami (cherry blossom watching) is a traditional cultural ritual that modern Japanese in the big cities still observed! On the weekend it can be a all day and night affairs as some have to pitch tent overnight at the favourite gardens or parks to secure a place for the cherry blossoms watchers! Usually the most junior staff in the company will be tasked to do this!
I am thankful to Lee-san for this trip. I also am grateful to be able to meet up another friend, Ming, ex-Motorolan, a friend of CT Tia my buddy, on this trip. The weather was reasonably kind on me too. Light rains but glorious sunshine on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning when we were at Munza onsen!!