Oct 29, 2017
I have been to my fair share of hot springs. The giant sento with a billion baths to the tiny little one up in a mountain and over a single-person rusted bridge. Some have been the best experiences, including taking my son for the first time when he was still too teeny to walk. Others of complex feelings tangled in the words of an older generation scolding new fashion and new ideals. Today was not one of the better experiences. Firstly, we almost didn't go in because the place doesn't allow children under two. I hand't thought about it because the other place I'd been too had no qualms with babies. But if they haven't fully graduated from diapers, there is no going in the building. Understandable. No one wants the idea of baby peeing in the bath water. I quickly called my husband(shower person, doesn't like bathes) to come back and pick up our son. Then my friend and I walked passed the sign for no "irezumi" and back to the counter to check in. I pulled my coat collar up a tad higher as I took my locker key. If they are a stickler about the rules, will they care about my couple of decorative tattoos? My friend and I exchanged a few words of concern about it on our way to the locker room but shrugged it off. If no one reports it, surely the staff won't notice. And this was completely true. I was even lucky enough to soak in one tub. A mother and teenage daughter even admired the artwork on my skin. But while in bath area, the old ladies started buzzing and one approached the staff. On our way out the door to the baths outside, a worker broke away and came to tell me to leave. A bit heartbroken and frustrated, making plans to meet after with my friend, I proudly walked and got dressed, then out the door. I don't regret my tattoos, or resent that I was kicked out. Japan has it's rules and doesn't often change very easily. However, I'm also glad that the mother and daughter seem to have an open mind. Maybe one day in the future, I will be able to visit any onsen I please without hesitation.
American step mom with beautiful Brazilian babies. Raising them in Japan. I'm a crafter too