Being keen on the world traditions of bath culture I have changed my favorite Thailand into super-modern Japan. I have enjoyed and learned Finnish Saunas in Finland, Russian banya in Russia and Turkish Hamam in Turkey. For more look through
- 7 things to learn about sauna not to waste money building a bath house and be careful visiting banya or sauna or
- Sauna accessories rightly using; don't fit into the steam room if you are booted and drunk! and
- You can easily build Russian banya. My pursuit was to get terms of intimacy with well-known Japanese bath ‘sento’. My previous attempts to learn more about Japanese bath without visiting their Motherland failed. Moreover most bath accessories: tubs, baskets, buckets etc. in Japanese-like rooms were labeled ‘made in China’. You can imagine my excitement when I first saw the Nikko Hot Springs.
First of all I was impressed by Japanese responsibility for keeping the rules in ‘sento’. The list of these rules which I heard from my Japanese guide was the same as the following I found in the Net:
- Take off your clothes in the changing room
- Put clothes in the basket or shelf
- Enter the bathroom with a small towel and your amenities
- There will be a bucket beside the tub, scoop out some water and pour it over yourself to rinse your body before getting in the bathtub
- Soak in the bathtub. Remember not to bring anything into the tub, not even a towel
- Get out of the tub and wash your body or hair in front of the faucet; It should be done outside of the tub
- Rinse off soap and shampoo well
- Get in the bathtub again if you want
- Rinse your body with clean warm water in front of faucet
- Dry your body with your small towel before you go to the changing room
- Dry your body with your bath towel and dress in the changing room.
- Do not use soap in the tub
- The water in the tub tends to be hot in Japan. You can adjust it by running cold water, but don't overdo it
- Usually, the tub water is used by others. Please remember not to drain the water when you are finished.
Secondly I was affected by strict face (and ass) control concerning tattoos on parts of the body. One girl in our group was not allowed into the ‘sento’ rooms only for wearing a tiny butterfly tattoo on her fanny.
Then I was impressed by the fact that you have to leave your shoes at the front door and walk a long way to the changing room, which could confuse Paul Wolfowitz as well.
Finally worldwide known Japanese wonderful nature penetrates through ‘sento’ bath procedures as the wooden and stone tubs are outside among trees and bushes. Taking a bath you are surrounded by blooming gardens. For more about Japan look through my The Thai Tramp blog.