Field Trip Friday – Got Journal?


This week I have a story to share about going to an onsen bath in Japan. But first…I want to give myself a shameless plug for a Travel Journal Class I'll be teaching next weekend in Boulder at Common Threads. If you are in the area, or traveling here, come join me. Read on to find out more about the class or skip the next part and read with hilarity one of the most humbling traveling experiences I've ever had.


Visual Travel Journaling with Local Artist Fran Meneley!

Join journal artist Fran Meneley to explore ideas and applications for capturing your next adventure in a journal format. Students make a simple 16-32 page journal and have time to collage covers and start on the basis for other pages. Ideas and instructions for filling journal with colored pages, borders, pockets, maps, found paper ephemera and simple drawings will be shown and discussed. If you have a trip planned or if you've just been curious about visual journaling, join us to learn about this uniquely expressive way of recording your journey. All materials will be supplied, but students wishing to make a journal for a specific trip are encouraged to bring images and collage items for the cover. See more of Fran's work and journals at: or come by the store and see samples.  Don’t miss this one! $50

Sunday, May 16th, 1-4pm – Call 303-449-2707 to register! Visit us online at


"On two occasions I had the opportunity to do an "onsen" bath, a traditional japanese bathing experience. Fortunately, my baths were smaller with only a few people, not the bathing party you see in this postcard. It's very prescriptive (like a lot of things in Japan), there is a right way and a wrong way. I stumbled my way through, pissing off only one cranky old lady. While being completely naked. Ah, the adventure of travel. While we were in Hakone, which is a Japanese resort area fed by natural hot springs, I bathed in our hotel's onsen. You walk in and take off your street shoes and they go in a shoe bin by the door. You then put on slippers to go into the dressing area. Once there you disrobe, neatly fold your clothes and put them in a basket. You take one of the large white towels to cover up your basket – do street clothes offend? Not sure, but all baskets were covered so I followed suit. Then, stark naked you grab a very small towel to (try) to cover your privates and pull open the sliding door to the bathing area. Once inside you will see a large "L" shaped tub with about 2 1/2 feet of very clear, hot water. The walls of this area are surrounded by low hand held shower wands with little stools and buckets at each faucet. There were about 8 in this room. You sit on the stool (stark naked) with other women nearby. Once seated you try to figure out how the shower thingy works and spray yourself in the face. Lather up, and I mean really lather, and DO NOT miss one square inch of your whole body. Rinse off. Wash the entire area in which ANY part of your body touched. And now you are ready to enter the hot bath. Once there, it feels marvelous. Since there is no where to put your privacy towel, you put it on your head. I wrapped my hair in mine, like I do after my shower. I'm sure I offended someone. After about 15 minutes I kind of reversed the whole procedure minus the sitting shower. I have to say it was an interesting experience. You really can't be modest or offended by naked middle aged women's bodies. It was a great relief to be surrounded by other women bathing in such an open and natural way. And I slept very well that night."

3 Responses to Field Trip Friday – Got Journal?

  1. another gorgeous journal and memories: LATHER UP, ha….glad that doesn’t happen at mabel’s!!
    happy mother’s day, homage to growing those children, and now … some lucky new friends at Common Threads will benefit from your light, spirited, nurturing self.
    W I W T
    (wish i were there), neva

  2. Stephanie says:

    I remember hearing these stories first hand when you were freshly back! Such an incredible trip…


    yay! congrats on your class, it will be fantastic


  3. Seth says:

    Facinating story. And I bet your class will be amazing!

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