Today was massage day, and the theme was, bizarrely, Mt. Shasta. Do you know that one? According to Murata-san, that mountain and environs are very sacred spots, brimming over with spiritual energy. She visits every year. Personally I’d never heard of the place before, but because I suffer considerably during Japan’s hot and humid summers I did appreciate the whole high-altitude experience, especially the wipe-down with cool towels (she uses a different one for face, torso, back and each limb – imagine her laundry bills!) and the mountain-shaped piece of cake for dessert, called Mont Blanc. I liked the mountaineering magazines and photos placed in the waiting room, too. Unfortunately I don’t read Austrian, but the pictures were beautiful.
Afterwards she told me, with some surprise, that my whole body was extremely tense, and that I was obviously under a lot of stress. I was also surprised to hear this, because personally I’ve never felt better (well, “better” is relative I suppose). She didn’t tell me to try and take it easy – anyone who lives in a Japanese city will know that that’s totally impossible anyway – but she did advise me to avoid cold drinks, vigorous air conditioning, and stressful work situations. Personally I’m going to throw her advice to the winds, and indulge in the best remedy for stress: more work! And more massages!