Remember how much I've talked about the Japanese hot springs? And how much I've missed the open air onsen?
My wish was granted while at idyllic Iwate, not just once but twice! There were many hot spring resorts within 15 minutes' drive from the Komiyas' home. Having a dip in the onsen after a long train ride from Tokyo was the highlight of my first day.
For obvious reasons, cameras and videocams are not allowed within the premises of the onsen. However, for promotional purposes, photographs and documentaries have been recorded at those very places. And it is for this very purpose that I decided to sneak my nifty digicam to get some shots of the rotenburo. Such is my love affair with the Japanese hot springs.
You can imagine how difficult it must have been for me to capture shots without anyone noticing, whatmore the stress I had to go through to conceal my tool of trade. But, I may not have this opportunity again, and there's just no decent hot springs or rotenburo in Tokyo.
Just as I was soaking in the hot waters in the open air watching the snow fall, I realised it was such a perfect opportunity, if not to immortalise that moment somehow. Being up in the highlands, with an unobstructed view of the rugged trees on the slopes and flakes of snow blowing to your face is just too rare an occurrence to let go.
I remember coming out of the pool to sit at the edge and immersing myself with all of nature's goodness. The late winter wind was whispering all around us, carrying with it millions of bits of snow that blanketed the hillside, and some into the steaming rotenburo. Those that fell onto the ground nearby melted immediately and the rest added white sparkle that gleamed under the afternoon sun.
I even tiptoed out onto the pebbled ground and wrote my name in the soft snow. Was almost, just almost, tempted to roll myself in the snow and have fresh snow fall all over my body. And yet, it wasn't cold at all.
The wonders of the rotenburo.