Public bath rules
Japanese people love to take baths inside really hot water(40~50 degrees Celsius). Maybe is their lack of swimming pools or maybe is just that being a volcanic island makes it easy to build baths from hot spring water. Here there is some of the basic vocabulary related to the Japanese bath culture.
- お風呂(ofuro): “bath” in general.
- 銭湯(sentou): public “bath”. There is usually one “sentou” in each neibourhood, they are divided in one big bathtub for men an and one for women.
- 温泉(onsen): hot spring. “Onsen” are located in volcanic areas.
- 露天風呂(rotenburo): outdoor bath.
- 野天風呂(notenburo): indoor bath.
The water is usually around 43 degrees, but it can be up to 50. I can go inside even when the water is 45, but no more! Japanese like the water to be REALLY hot. Next there is a poster with some of the rules you have to know before going to an “onsen” or “sentou”:
- Do not take a bath with your underwear on.
- Do not waste water.
- Do not bring your towel with you into the tub.
- Wipe yourself off before coming out to the dressing area.
- Washing clothes of is not allowed.
- Make sure to wash yourself well before getting into the tub.
I respect all these rules. But there is another rule, that is not written in this poster but everyone knows it, you can’t enter the bathing area with sandals. It’s a stupid rule! I think it’s one of the reasons why it’s so easy to get “athletes foot”(水虫=mizumushi= “bug water”), in summer you see that one of the most featured products in drugstores are ointments to treat fungus. They could start using sandals, I don’t think it would hard anyone, but sometimes stupid rules are difficult to change…