Tokyo Notebook

-・- From My Everyday Life to Japanese Culture -・- Why don't you see the real Japan, not the typical foreigners' version.

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Posted by Kinakinw | --:-- | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | スポンサー広告

08 2010

Empresses of “Sento” Empire

Do you want to take a hot bath?

Most Japanese love soaking a bathtub, and I sure do love that. Though I have a bathtub at home, I prefer a spacious bathroom and often go to a public bathhouse, “sento” (Dr. Wikipedia details it). My favorite sento nearby has a sauna (extra cost), and I always spend about 2 hours taking the sauna and sitting in a nice hot water every Sunday evening.

In most sentos some older persons who frequents have been a sort of autocratic Empresses :D. Those regulars gave me sento etiquette training in my elementary school days. They are rulebooks. Lately I’ve noticed that Empresses are having a hard time with newcomers of their generation. The newcomers are not familiar with sento etiquette. They come to bathhouses because they get free tickets, which Local Governments give them as part of health promotion activities for the elders. Unfortunately, sometimes conflicts occur between them =).

The problem is the water temperature. In a sento in downtown Tokyo bath temperature is very high - between 43 and 45 degrees C (109~113 degrees F), and regulars love a very hot bath. Besides common rules for a communal bath (e.g. wash one’s body with soap and then rinses oneself thoroughly before dipping into a bathtub), there are local rules differ from region to region and sento to sento. One of the local rules is about how to take this very hot bath. If there are two separate tubs, you can add water only one of them (let’s ask a grandma). However, you must never try to adjust an entire tub to your suitable temperature. The right way is that under a running faucet you dip into under the faucet where the temperature of water drops. Then, when you soak up to your shoulders, turn the faucet off as quick as a flash. If bathtubs seem separate, they are continuous at the bottom. Don’t forget Empresses desire a very hot bath, and adding water effects on the other tub.

Some newcomers who don’t know or just ignore this rule add too much water into a bathtub. When Empresses give them a mild verbal reprimand, it sometimes creates an explosive situation. They don’t have a quarrel but start whinging. At an unfortunate time I’m told complaints from both sides. Empresses point out the newcomers’ rudeness, and the others say the regulars don’t know too hot water is dangerous to health.

I don't really care either temperature….
Come on, grandmas! I just want to relax and enjoy my bath time.
It's a toss-up!


Posted by Kinakinw | 12:08 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Hot Spring & Bathhouse in Tokyo

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