The Day I Went Naked In Front of My Boy Friend

A day I will never forget.

Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi, Japan.

It was in the last week of October. The air is so cold, it turns green leaves into brown, red, and yellow. In search of a warm air, I and my friend entered a room which the interior made of wood. Still clear in my head when I slowly taking off every layer of cloth from my body, from my cotton scarf, my warm alpaca-wool sweater, to my tees, my trousers, and finally my undies. I looked like fresh out of the womb, standing with my skin and dignity.

So does my introverted boy (space) friend. He did an unimaginable thing, taking off his layers of privacy in a shared space. Our eyeballs didn’t meet, we stood in awkward silence.

It’s our first time. Like any other first time, it was not easy and memorable.

Well, we weren’t about doing something forbidden by Bible. We were in an Onsen, a Japanese bath house, as part of my trip to Japan in 2015.

“When In Rome, do as the Romans do”

Before we fly to Japan, we did browsing about Onsen culture but it doesn’t stop the culture shock. The difference between reading a webpage and feeling it by ourselves using all of our senses is contrast.

As a person who born, raised and lived in Indonesia for the past 20 years breaking the rules is a way of life. I’m thinking to do the same with Onsen rule, I enter the Onsen as late as possible to avoid another crowd and soaking with undies on instead of naked. It’s easy to break the rules when nobody is watching. But I can’t, I’m 5000 kilometers away from the land of broken rules.

The reason? I don’t want to be a criminal by violating hundred years old culture. When I’m going abroad, I’m not only responsible for personal and my family reputation I’m also responsible with Indonesia’s reputation. If I disrespect their culture, a news will say “An Indonesian Violate Our Culture”. If it’s really happening it will give Indonesia a bad name and make it harder for people with Indonesian green passport to roam the world. Nobody wants to let criminal, violators, peace breakers going inside their houses.

Am I being an over-thinker? I don’t think so. The world is wider than ourselves. It’s easier to sit far away from my naked friend while soaking at Onsen rather than sitting with underwear in front of annoyed Japanese.

The surprise we got from going to foreign land is exciting.


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