Lost in Translation – The Bath House, Beers, and Peanuts

Making an impression

Making an impression

It was 4 o’clock in the afternoon.  I set off on a walking spree. Looking at a paper of a bad yet compassionately drawn map to the Onsen. It was like every turn were just weird signs.  And if I ask directions, will we understand each other?  Will I even get there?


The only thing I can read was the letter “P” and “1000” and “500”.

I was walking aimlessly asking people in my wanna-be Japanese “Onsen wa doku desu ka?”  pointing to the map I was given.

I was having conversations in my mind.

“Hey, they really think I can speak Japanese, COOL!” And then I realized ….

“Yes! They are speaking to me in Japanese! SHIT! I can’t understand them! Just nod, smile and look at the direction they are pointing.”

Being the random guy that I am.  I immediately went to the direction people I asked were pointing.  I still didn’t know where it is and if I would be able to see it.


Nope this is not the Onsen.

I saw some old men who were just standing around in the house at the photo above.  As by custom I asked them where the Onsen was.  By some stroke of good luck one of the old guys decided to go the Onsen.  So he and I were going to the Onsen!  Just the perfect scenario.

And then strange questions were hovering over my mind.

“Will we actually go there?”

Why did he bring a bike?”

“Why is he not riding his bike?”

“Is this guy a part of the Yakuza where they abduct people and then he will just leave me to them and then go home using his bike while counting money?”

“Will I be able to go back to my home country?”

He was talking to me in broken Enggrisshhh.  His name was Suichiro I think.


And so we really got to the Onsen.   No pictures were taken there because of my respect to their culture and to censure the scenery you are supposed to not see. It was just a simple Onsen with boiling hot tub and a bunch of naked old people. They were nice enough to teach me how to clean myself the Japanese way in which I now practice from time to time. After the bath, Suichiro and the owner of the Onsen started talking to each other as I was just fixing my things.   I saw some canned drinks and thought it was iced tea in a can because….errrrr…..because…..I thought it was iced tea.


The iced tea…or so I thought

To be honest I really didn’t have the slightest idea why I never tried to read the labels.  Must be thirst or must be my confusion. So I bought one and gulp it in a few shots.  The two old men were busy talking and I was just listening.  Then, I felt happy and energetic.  Must be the drink.  I began to talk to them in Enggrrishh of course.  We didn’t really understand each other so we just kept on laughing everytime one of us speaks.

The conversation went like this:

Me: “Japayuki!”

Old Men: “Japayuki!”

All three of us: “HAHAHAHAHAHA!”

Me: “I look like that criminal at the board!”

Old Men: “Japayuki!”

All three of us: “HAHAHAHAHAHA!”

Suichiro gave me another drink.  So I thought yeah we’re on the same page. Still the conversations never stopped.  The drinks came in courtesy now of the owner of the Onsen coupled with peanuts from China. They told me that when I come back I must be able to speak and understand Japanese.  And I said yes!  That’s why I’m studying it now. Suichiro and I left the Onsen all drunk while walking.  We parted ways when we got to his house and then he showed me the way back to the place I was staying.

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