turtle river

For the first time here in Beppu a grandma initiated talking to me. Most native people fit the descriptions of:
A: Avoid talking to me because I'm a foreigner, therefore we can't communicate.
B: Just talk to me in Japanese like I should be totally fluent. I'm in Japan after all.
C: Speak to me in English or mix English and Japanese. (With varying levels of comprehension on both ends.)

My favorite is type B. Especially when they understand they should keep things simple and speak slowly. (A few weeks ago, a type C was asking deep philosophical questions that I didn't know how to answer in English!)

The older woman and I were the only ones in this local Kamegawa (turtle river) onsen. She asked if I had been there before and I answered no. She warned me that the water was hot. I asked if it was too hot and she laughed and said yes. She showed me how to fill up bowls with water and wait for it to cool down before using it to wash myself. She also showed me the coolest corner of the bath (still super hot!) She actually got inside for several seconds, but locals are more used to this hot spring water without cold water mixed in. I thought I'd try it but only got my legs in for a second before I felt like I was being boiled alive. I thought it was really funny anyway. She said if you can manage the heat, it's really good for sore muscles. Besides the too hot water and lots of mosquitos in the space, it was fun for me to visit here and talk to a local. I love the baths made from wood the best! I'm always checking out the different bath designs. I might make one some day... because I love onsen!

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