Notes from the Obstacle Course
Dr. Michael Peckitt

Prelude to the Kinosaki Onsen

She who must be obeyed, A.K.A ‘The Awesome Wife’ and I went to Kinosaki onsen, a hot springs in Hyogo prefecture. Many people come here to experience the hot baths which are believed to rejuvenate the body and the soul. Mostly famously the Japanese writer Naoya Shiga, a famous writer of ‘I-writing’, wrote a short story called ‘Kinosaki nite’ ‘At Kinosaki ‘ about his stay at the onsen or hot springs after he collided with a Yamanote line train, which injured him some what. He went to the Kinosaki hot springs to recuperate.

The idea behind ‘I-writing’ more commonly referred to as ‘I-novels’ is that it is always in the first person, but it’s more than that, it’s kind of an autobiography, or better still a confessional, a report on the author’s emotions, and mental state.

At an onsen, one goes to a hot spring or bath and is expected to be naked as one soaks in the hot springs, provided by a volcano. Men and women go to separate bathing quarters of course. Both sexes enter the hot springs naked.

At Kinosaki: Michey’s ‘I-Paragraph’

I still feel I am ridiculous man. My left side seems permanent fixed in ‘teapot position’ – stuck near my shoulder because of my disability. I can’t walk down a staircase except by placing both feet on the step, then moving both feet down on the next step below.

And too much of of my time was spent naked. Having left sided spastic cerebral palsy, I spent much of my youth, and by youth I mean my years in puberty, being, naked, and being presented to several physiotherapists and and physician.

So nakedness has never been a problem. Onsen helps my body I feel much more relaxed. It has helped my disability far more than any consultation did.

Dr. Michael Gillan Peckitt is an academic who lives in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, Japan. He runs the Japan and disability related website ‘The Limping Philosopher’ ( and you can find him on Twitter @Peckitt.

Image of a phone displaying a person with a prosthetic leg hiking, with text promoting a community for travelers with disabilities on tabifolk.

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