Sunday, September 18, 2011


"Kimochi," says a Japanese woman nearby. Lying on a lawn chair savoring the cool breeze, my body and my mind are adrift in nothingness. The heat, the day, all is forgotten. The ritual of bathing, soaking, along with a prolonged cool down on a lawn chair, caste off awareness. Her comment though brings me back to myself; thoughts begin.

Courtesy of the Graphic Fairy
A favorite childhood picture book was Disney's Peter Pan. I relished the Mermaid Cove page- the mermaids, their giant sea shells, their beautiful hair, their treasures. As I sat in the lawn chair overlooking Tokyo Bay, tankers, ships, yachts, and row boats drifted by. They are too far away to make out any faces so they just appears as boats. Though Peter Pan is not flying about looking for the Indian Princess that Captain Hook has kidnapped, the ships and the nakedness of the women at the onsen remind me of Mermaid Cove. It is pleasant to lie there thinking of us all as mermaids.

After four years, my daughter is an expert soaker. I can finally drift off in my thoughts for minutes at a time. I am unconcerned with the nudity and the small towels at the onsen. It is a place of relaxation. With the kiss of air upon my skin, I understand as if in English, the woman next to me when she says, "It feels good." My mind comes back to me as I think, "It does."

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