Mon Oct 09 21:37:39 2000
From: "Peter M. Rivard"
Subject: Aqualung, my friend
I'm still not up on, or comfortable with, all the nuances of life here. Today, I went to the onsen (nice public baths). Afterwards, in the locker area, drying off and, of course, naked, I was surprised to see a not so little girl standing right next to me with her dad. I figured it must be normal here, but I stood on the other side of a row of lockers with my towel around me until she went into the bath area (as did my friend Joe)--I'm not quite comfortable exposing myself further to a girl who looked old enough to be in my elementary school classes (maybe 6 or 7). I then thought, no, maybe it's just a girly-looking boy--no one else seems bothered. A quick look--she was naked by then--and, no, that's a girl, alright. I can tell.
My friend Mitsuko told me afterward that girls up to 8 or 9 go into the men's onsen, but that the customary limit for boys going into the women's is slightly lower. If I see that face the next time I walk into a first or second grade classroom, I will be very uncomfortable.
So the next time you're in your bath alone--be glad.