Izu Shimoda, 3 of 3

“So fresh and so clean clean”

My sexual orientation is comfortable. I’ve gone to gay bars and have been eye-fucked by middle-aged white men. I’ve put dollar bills in the bras of transgender strippers. I fooled around with a boy when Mr. T was my role model. And the only thing that I learned from that encounter, was that it’d work a lot better with a girl. I don’t know if this is true and my scholarly source may further discredit my faulty knowledge, but on Def Comedy Jam, a comic said that everybody has homosexual genes. Depending on which gene dominates determines your sexual preference. Some people are attracted to personality. The gender or body that houses a person’s inner beauty is irrelevant. I love pussy. Lick that shit. Eat that shit. Suck it. All that is to say that I don’t have a problem with being naked in front of other men. I gotta “dad-bod.” I’m not the stringy skinny kid with a six-pack anymore (my wife doesn’t believe I use to have one, but I did) so may be I’m a bit conscious, but you know what I’m saying.

Every time we go to an onsen, or a hotel with a hot spring, my wife uses it religiously. Unless they have a private spring where we could go together, I’d refuse. From the deep depths of Japan’s volcanic island, water heated by the earth’s core, is pumped into baths. Think of a magical jacuzzi that’s existed for almost 3,000 years. It’s thought to be a gift from God. It’s believed to help with high blood pressure and rheumatism. There’s a female and a male spring. Everybody in their birthday suites, vapor snakes to the ceiling, and its a sober pathway to a releasing of sorts, “It’s good for your skin,” Haruki says. I didn’t want to scare the men. “I get in that water, they see my dick and scream ‘black snake,’” I tell her. You have to thoroughly shower and wash your ass before stepping in, “It’s courtesy.” Cleanse ya temple. Don’t bring bad juju to the circle. There’s multiple shower stations equipped with body soap, shampoo, conditioner, a hand held showerhead, faucet, a wooden stool and a bucket to be water filled and dumped over your head. Whatever you do, don’t bring a towel into the water.

This time I was going to use the public hot spring. “Late at night, there’s probably no one in there,” my wife said, so on the first night I waited. They leave the spring open till one AM. I went in at 11 and had it to myself. The spring is inside and they got wooden tubs outside. The second day I went in again, but early. There were three men and a teenager in there with his father. I walk towards the bath. They look at me. The way Japanese people stare and objectify foreigners, especially black people, could’ve made me agoraphobic. Their eyes feel like hands pressing against your body from all directions. From the corner of my eye I see the teenager stand up. Him and his father go to the outside baths. Fuck is wrong wit them? I stay in a while and wash myself afterwards.

“How was it?” Haruki asks. “It was cool. Some kid and his dad looked at me and got out when I got in. Waite, are you suppose to wash yourself before you get in or after?” “Before, it’s courtesy,” she said. “Oh.” Dumbass.

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