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.

生後三ヶ月ころから患ったアトピー性皮膚炎。実家のある埼玉は、私の身体には合わないらしく、イギリスとの往来を繰り返すうちに、さらに過敏に反応するようになった。高校から都内に通うようになり、増え続けるストレスに耐えかね東京の大学への進学を諦めた(もっともそれ以外にも理由はあったが)。イギリスでは肌の調子はよく、ある程度普通の生活をおくることができたものの、帰国する度にアトピーが著しく悪化するという状態が続いた。

 
 

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.

大学を卒業後、就職先が決まるまで時間があった。したいことはたくさんあった。会いたい人も、行きたい場所もあった。でもまず身体を立て直すことに決めた。ネットで免疫疾患に対しての、非医学的な療法をいろいろ調べて回るうちに湯治にたどり着き、秋田の山奥に有り厳選の酸性度の高さで知られる玉川温泉に行くことにした。帰国してからまだ一週間のことだった。
 

 
 

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.

結果から話せば、湯治はうまく行かなかった。強酸性のお湯で肌は赤くただれ、体力的にも精神的にも疲弊した。湯治に向かう際、自分のために戦い切ると決断したものの、湯治医にも入院を進められるほどの状態に陥り、諦める他なかった。
自分一人では帰れないと判断し、父に迎えに来て貰った。片道7時間、初夏の狂ったような大雨の中。車内であまり会話はなかった。最近買ったシトロエンが、いかに長距離運用に向いているかとか、そんな楽しい小話をした。暗くなっていく空の下、私の小さい頃を思い出した。喘息持ちで、よく夜中に発作を起こした。父は翌日が仕事であっても、私を病院に連れて行った。車内で、私は泣いた。父は厳しくも、いつも私の味方だった。

 

2017.09