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August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, ...

The Beauty of Hell

The beauty of hell! Beppu is a famous hot springs town in Oita known for its enigmatic red and sometimes brown geothermal water. In other parts of the world, these gaseous cauldrons of molten hot liquids are left as they are as most people have very little to no interest in them. Probably due to the smell and level of toxicity associated with them. One of the many charms of Japan, though, is how well so many elements are infused into definable aestheticism. Like the Beppu hot springs. Here, the hot springs, like in all other parts of Japan, are regarded as places of healing and respite where people often travel far and wide to unwind and to reflect on the natural beauty and bounty of Japan. Sure, other countries may in some way or the other do the same, but not on the same level as Japan. The hot springs in this part of Japan are likened unto the great hell, the pit of eternal damnation, that place they told us we would go if we were bad little boys and girls in Sunday school. We were taught to fear this place above all others, and that we should live our lives in such a way that would make it impossible for us to go to such a place. How hell is depicted in Beppu is one of horrid beauty and terrible allure. Love Japan

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