So there are two parts to this story, the update on the last tale and story of the Asahi brewery. I’ll start at the beginning.
You might remember the tale of Kyoya Ryokan and the public bath. Well last night I decided that after a hard days sightseeing at the Nagoya temple, a little R&R was in order in the form of an onsen. Shona & I, having never seen each other naked, decided on a plan to continue that tradition with carefully timed eye closures. It was set. I headed off to the onsen to get my dip on before Shona, having finished loading her photo’s onto facebook would join me. However as I approached the onsen I started to get the sneaking suspicion that someone was already in there. I entered the first change room and put my clothes into the basket. I saw the basket next to mine was full and slyly peeked in the door to see a woman in the front corner showering. I stopped. What would be my next move? Would I turn around and go back to the room to inform Shon’s that our onsen would have to wait? Or would I pull up my socks, be a man and confront full frontal nudity with a stranger the only way you can – Japanese onsen style. I considered running, shying away from the option of seeing this woman’s nudie bits but then I said to myself, Yarni, you only live once so I threw caution and my clothes to the wind and headed through the door. Turns out, it wasn’t actually as bad as I had envisioned. There was no sneaking sideways glances to check out if my breasts were perkier than hers, no sudden shock and amazement at the colour of my hair down there. In fact, she didn’t even offer any acknowledgment at all that I had entered the room, she just continued to shower, blissfully unaware of my existence. I grabbed my little stool and sat down to rinse off. I began to feel a sense of empowerment as I washed away my fears. I grew cocky, feeling like I’d been nude in front of thousands of women before and that this was no different. I stood boldly and strolled over to the bath, jumping in. I sat, twirling my legs and dipping my head. After a minute, the showering lady also jumped in, swimming to the front to gaze out the window. For the first time since I was five I was bathing with another person, a person I was not related to and it felt great. After a minute or two she got out and left and I was there on my own, waiting for Shona to arrive. I felt alive and I couldn’t wait to tell Shona about it and to embolden her too. After 20 minutes, Shona still had not arrived and I could no longer stand the heat of the onsen. After several cold showers to try and stop myself boiling to death I could wait no longer and got out for good. Just as I had finished dressing, Shona walked in but it was too late, our joint onsen experience would have to wait. Oh how empowering it will be in the Alps with dozens of other people and outdoors to boot!
But today was our last day at Kyoya Ryokan and after checking out, we decided to take up lonely planets recommendation of touring the Asahi Brewery. We knew that it would be in Japanese, as lonely planet advises an English tour guide must be booked in advance but we thought why not, it’s not like we know nothing of how beer is made. We set off in the pouring rain and before long, we were approaching the gates. The guard came out to meet us and, in broken English tried to establish our appointment time. Shit. No mention of this lonely planet! But he got the ok from the lady inside and we were able to join the next tour. The best part about the tour, if I forgot to mention, is that it was free. It was interesting too, which was a bonus but mostly, it was free, and we got a taster at the end. That was where it got cool. When we finished, we arrived in the beer hall to find a table marked for us. We sat down, grabbed out the free packet of munchies that were there for us and the little stick of cheese. We went for our taster beer and surprisingly, came back with a full pot. Score. Then we went back for another, this time a dark. Then the lady brought us little sticks of cabana to try – was the goodness ever going to end? Slightly tipsy and well on our way to drunk, Shona & I left the factory 20 minutes later, having almost sculled our two pots of beer in the allotted 20 minute time slot. If we had wanted to or been able to, we could have tried another but there just wasn’t enough time. Beside, two pots of beer, some awesome dixie like snacks, smoked cheese and cabana on top of a brewery tour for absolutely nothing was quite awesome on its own thank you very much!