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After a long and warm autumn in Japan, winter has finally descended across the country. And with the cold weather comes the season for onsen, Japan’s hot-spring baths.

On this week’s show, Japan Times contributor Mara Budgen takes a look at the history of onsen in Japan and asks whether Japan’s iconic hot-spring resources are sustainable.

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So long, 2021:

We want to hear stories from our listeners, wherever you are! Send us your stories about your favorite experiences this year, and what got you through the challenges of 2021. It could be a new hobby you started, a trip you took after getting vaccinated, anything that helped make 2021 a memorable year.

Record a voice memo on your phone — the inbuilt app is totally fine — and tell us your story along with your name and where you’re recording from. Try and keep the recording to a minute or two. Once you’re done, email your recording to with the subject line “So long, 2021.”

Please send your entries in by Friday, December 24, to be played around the New Year. Listen to last year’s episode, here.

On this episode:

Mara Budgen: Twitter | Website
Oscar Boyd: Twitter | Articles | Instagram


The Japan Times is currently hiring news reports and a features editor. Find out more at

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