Tamagawa Onsen - Hell Valley

July 2016

The Symptom

I have eczema since when I was 3 months old. It got everytime I came back from UK, and its reaction to the uncomfortable environment went increasingly amplified as I repeat the process of leaving and returning the motherland, Japan.

I was born and raised in Saitama prefecture which is 1 hour train ride to North West from our capital, Tokyo. It was never this obvious till I started to commute to the highschool in Tokyo where I was exposed to almost uncontrollable amount of stress, both mental and environment-wise. I gave up going to a university in Tokyo and decided to study in UK although there were some other, rather important reasons. UK did good to my skin, I was able to live like a human being, however it didn't last long till I start look like a zombie whenever I went back to Japan. This was another source of the stress, not being able to stay that long in the contry I grew up.



After my graduation, I had some bunch of time till I actually find a job. Wanted to invest it for my health, rather than my desire. I searched on the internet if there is any different approach to those immune disorders and found about 湯治 (Tohji) - explained as long stay in a hot spring location, bath twice to three times a day in stress free environment aiming to mend one's constitution. 玉川温泉 (Tamagawa Onsen) has almost charismatic reputation to its very strong acidic natural hot spring and I decided to literally gamble it. It was only a week after I came back to Japan.



Long story short, it didn't work quite well to me. In fact my skin got burned and I was ever so exhausted. Not gonna explain how I looked, but I was barely in one piece. Before I left home I did promise to fight myself but it only lasted 6 days - it's actually gone so bad, local doctor told me to stop Tohji and recommended my to be hospitalized. I was so done. In pain. Lost all my hopes about my life.
I was not even able to travel back home on my own, so my dad came to pick me up. It was 7 hours drive one way. In the stormy rain of early summer.  We didn't talk much, but chatted about the Citroen he drove which has bought for my mum. As the night wore on, I remembered when I was a little child, I had asthma and woke up mid night for asthma spasm and my dad took me to the hospital literally any day. In the car, I could not help but cry. He's always been with me.