For the longest time, I was probably one of the very few remaining Koreans that had never stepped foot into a jjimjilbang (korean spa/bathhouse), ever. I guess it just never really appealed to me. But as I got older, the appeal of a jjimjilbang got me a bit curious. I was always hearing people talking about how relaxing a day at the jjimjilbang is…how their skin becomes so soft and glows afterwards…and yada yada…all these wonderful things that piqued interest.
But still, the public nudity part made me very hesitant. And being a bit OCD, the walking around barefoot in a congested area part just added to the reluctance. Like, what if I get athletes’ foot or something? For at least a year or so, I was unable to actually get myself to find the balls to go.
Having a friend that went regularly, I asked him nonstop questions about all the things I wanted to know about a jjimjilbang. If you are a jjimjilbang virgin like I was and have some questions or concerns, you can most likely find them on my questions list (all the things I had been wondering have been answered, listed below). I have probably asked the general things most people might wonder about and then some.
Earlier this week, after all the wondering and hesitating, I decided to just suck it up and go find out everything I wanted to know about jjimjilbangs.
The jjimjilbang at where I got devirginized was at the Imperial Health Spa in Fullerton, CA.
Since this is the first and only jjimjilbang I have ever been to, I don’t really have anything else to compare it to. I wish i had taken more pictures, but I left my phone in the locker. I just did not want to get too distracted with all the picture taking action to relax and enjoy the full experience…how so very unlike me, I know. I also didn’t feel too comfortable about taking my phone in to some of the very hot rooms. It’s like leaving your device in the car during a heat wave….there’s possibility of damage.
My overall first time experience was pleasant. I came on a Monday night, around 7ish. There weren’t too many people. Had I came on a weekend or whatever other time when it was crowded…OMG I think I would have ran and been traumatized. I can’t even fathom the night of having kids running around here. Luckily, there were zero kids around the night I went.
And my biggest fear…the shower part would have been like my nightmare come true had it been packed. Being naked and having too many naked people around me is not just something I am comfortable with yet. It’s just too much communal nakedness than I can handle. I know that is all part of the whole traditional jjimjilbang experience, but it still makes me a bit uncomfortable. I can’t even fathom the thought of going in the tub…stewing in a communal tub of water with a bunch of strangers…OMG it just sounds gross to me, personally.
I heard the rules are most different for different places, but this place doesn’t allow slippers in the area. I wish they did. Walking around in the public restrooms barefoot just feels ewww…
My favorite part of the whole experience was the individual clay cave and the pebble room.
I started the visit with going into the clay cave, individual cave for one. At first, I felt the heat a bit uncomfortable. I laid down and tried to relax. A couple of minutes into it, I was getting in the zone and soon nearly dozed off into a nap. My body was starting to become very relaxed…maybe a bit too much. I wanted to nap in there.
I went around visiting all the rooms, body becoming more relaxed with each room. After the first few rooms, I was curious to see what the “VIP lounge” was all about. There was an 18+ sign at the stair entrance. I was thinking maybe that’s where the grownups go to play go-stop and stuff lol.
When we got up, there was another sign at the entrance door….this time, it said something about how the vicinity is a family area (I don’t understand how it can be both a family area AND an 18+ area), so engaging in any sexual activity will lead to arrest. It was kind of hilarious. I guess stuff like that has happened in the past for them to put up a sign like that lol. I mean, it’s pretty private (especially when empty), there are rows of reclining chairs and a women’s room with individual beds….so I can imagine maybe young kids must have used the VIP lounge in the past as a “motel” maybe?
Anyway, the last stop was in the pebble room to finish off the night. I first saw the pebble room on an episode of Connan and have wanted to try it since. Laying on top of the hot stones felt just as I imagine, therapeutic and relaxing. I didn’t want to get up until I was getting too hot.
Now that I have been properly jjimjilbang-devirginized, I am curious to try out some of the other local spots…finding the emptiest times to go so that I don’t come across loud, annoying people, small children running around, etc… because that would defeat the purpose of coming to relax.
In case you missed all the questions I wanted answered about jjimjilbangs from the “jjimjilbang
virgin” post, here is a recap, but with the questions answered this time!
Q: Do I HAVE to be naked?
A: In the shower, sauna, and Jacuzzi, yes.
Q: What if I choose to take a shower at home right before I go? Maybe they won’t say anything since my hair will be all wet like I just came out of the shower?
A: If you step into the naked area, especially the Jacuzzi..possibly. I’ve read reviews on Yelp about Korean ladies yelling at other patrons when they looked too dry and unshowered, telling them that they need to shower before entering. And apparently, the lashing out to was towards the nonKorean ladies, making them feel racially discriminated.
Q: What kind of food do they have there (an important one)?
A: Was just not interested in trying that night. But it is usually Korean fast food type of meals.
Q: I was reading on jjimjilbangs. And when and if I decide to go, I want my first time experience to be at a nice one. I want to go to one with the PC bangs, hair salon, karaoke, virtual golfing area, and all that jazz. Oh that’s only in Korea? Well, I wonder if we can find one close to that in Ktown.
A: The fancier ones are more likely to be found in Korea.
Q: Can I crack a hard boiled egg on your head like they do in Kdramas? No? Why not? You suck.
A: Did not go with this friend for my first experience. But I didn’t even see anyone eating an egg that night.
Q: Do the showers have doors or curtains? NO?? WTF?! Hell no, I ain’t going then.
A: Really wish they did.
Q: You went there with who? Isn’t it weird taking a shower with someone you know? Or do you guys shower at different times?
A: I still don’t think I’d ever be comfortable showering here with anyone that I know. Why, oh why can’t they just put up some curtains or something? Oh well…I guess that just takes away the full experience.
Q: What do you wear during the times when you are not naked?
A: the shorts and t shirt they give you.
Q: Do you wear those yang muhri (towel on the head that is worn like a sheep’s ear)?
A: I haven’t seen anyone do this that night. I can see some people doing it just to pose for pics….
Q: Do you go in those Jacuzzis naked too? What? Ewwww
A: Yeah…the tub is where nudity is in full, at the locker room area. I’d NEVER go in there. Nudity in the tubs have been the horrifying image I’ve had that kept me from coming. This is the part I’d never roll with.
Q: Nobody wears socks or slippers? What if I catch Athlete’s Foot?
A: Still one of my least favorite parts of the jjimjilbang experience.
Q: Tell me about the different rooms. Can I just go there to go sit in the ice room only?
A: You could, but that will defeat the whole experience. I went on a winter day. I can’t imagine wanting to sweat in the hot rooms in the summertime. But all the rooms were so relaxing to just lay down at. I didn’t spend more than a minute in the ice room. I’d sweat in one room, go cool down in the ice room, and continued like so.
Q: Do you need to bring your own toiletries?
A: They had soap, shampoo, and conditioner. I might bring my own next time, but it might be a hassle to carry around unless you really only want to use your own. It didn’t matter to me much. I rinsed and washed as fast as I could and got the Hell out of there because it felt so weird to be taking a shower there even though it was empty at the time. No matter though, because I took a full REAL shower when I got home.
Q: People sleep there overnight sometimes? How do they sleep like that with no privacy?
A: There are some in Ktown, L.A. that are 24 hours. People stay overnight to save money on motel/hotel fees….wouldn’t be that uncommon to see out of towners and drunks sleeping there. Personally, I don’t know how anyone would be able to sleep comfortably in a room full of strangers, especially if they snore, fart loud, talk loud on the phone while others are trying to sleep, etc.
Q: Do you think I will like it? Or do you think I will chicken out and run out?
A: I did like it. Had I gone on a weekend when it was packed, I totally would have ran.fast.
Q: Which parts are co-ed?
A: All except the locker room side which includes the shower, Jacuzzi and sauna. All the rooms are co-ed.
The end…all my questions have been answered.
Naturally, at the end of the relaxing session at the jjimjilbang, I was famished. I had been craving smoky BBQ all day, so I stopped by Brew Hawg BBQ & Brewing Co in the city of Orange.
The place isn’t huge and all the tables were occupied, so the food was taken home to go. Opted for BBQ Purgatory. Choices of meat included: tri-tip, brisket, pulled pork, and baby back ribs.
The sides: peanut cranberry slaw, cornbread, mac n cheese, and fries (not pictured here, but they were crisp and well seasoned).
And that concludes the evening….relaxed, happily full….I was ready to sleep like a baby!