Jigoku no Yu Bathhouse
Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see…
TRANSMIT - initiate the Sento signal - RECEIVE - initiate the oyuya prerogative- SPLISH-SPLASH, I WAS TAKING A BATH - heat the ancient waters - WITNESS - Jigoku no Yu Bathhouse.
Scanning the limits of linear progression…
The origins of the Japanese bathhouse stretch back to Buddhist temples in India, to China, and finally to Japan in the time designated the Nara period, when bathing was a more religious ritual. Enter the yuya. Water is a wondrous medium. It bends the active transport of spirits, space, and time.
However, this story only goes back a century. The opening of the Jigoku no Yu Bathhouse. A place for a wash. A place to socialise. Mammalian flesh is programmed toward skinship. Yet the price for admission to this bathhouse was improbably high. Only certain clientele permitted. The murmur of rumour surrounded the bathhouse, rumours that special clients paid for much more than bathrobes and bars of soap.
We saw a great influx, in the last decade, of clients who bore the invisible marks of the Eye and Pyramid.
What splashes in those hot waters? What makes the liquid boil hotter? That brimstone stench. The Oni. For a century, the House-in-Exile has made its base of oppressions at the Jigoku no Yu. Though capable of threatening the very fabric of human life, the urbane, outcast demons have come to appreciate Tokyo. Their leader, Inbeda, loves the mundane comforts of this plane. He can get them by offering his clients things far beyond the mundane, from his damp throne.
But the mundane, oh sweetling, is relative. What is mundane to the demigod is exotic to the mortal. Vice versa. That is the economy of the strange.
So many deals in these echoing chambers. So much splashing of water. All those words in all those languages passed through the lips of the golden mask. It can speak any language. Did you know, sweetling? It can even speak our parlance directly. Such a relief. Our accent in your level of reality is so…so…THICK!
We hear we hear the mask of babble now. We see mighty Inbeda, demon of the third greater hell -- blue-skinned Oni in an expensive tiger-striped bathrobe. Inbeda, the sword-for-hire against his own kind -- or any kind -- the price is the thing. His tastes are as vast and vulgar. That manikin looks so familiar… That blue dress…
We have spoken with the mask, sweetling. We know. We know why Inbeda chose a bathhouse, why he chose heated water. He stares with his demon eyes at the medium that bends spirits, space, and time. It forms a little window to home, when he looks at the right angle. Mighty, terrible Inbeda! Renegade of Hell. He has come to enjoy this earth, but he feels the tiny pangs of homesickness for the very place he loathes. He would not want that personal detail known, so we'll just keep it between you and us. Eh, sweetling?