Why do people use the same towel to scrub themselves and dry themselves in an onsen (hot spring)?
Although you can’t dry yourself fully with it, standing around while the last of the moisture evaporates of your body is all part of the chillout experience, apparently, and the fact that the water is so hot means it doesn’t take too long.
Why do the Japanese wash before getting into the bath tub?
“economy minded housewives often recycle bathwater for use the next day in the washing machine” Getting Wet pg 25. They also use the same water for the whole family. When that water is reheated by running through the boiler again, having soap or shampoo in it would screw up the heating.
Why is okay for the naked bathers in a rotemburo to be visible from a nearby road or hillside?
In Japan (like most places, but more so), it’s more about the effort you put in and the symbolism of the gesture than it is about results. The short bamboo fence with gaps is that effort and gesture. The Japanese are also traditionally less anal about nakedness than Anglo-Saxons (as if anyone could be more so!), e.g. just a couple of generations ago women working bare topped and shared onsens.
Why do Japanese have baths in the evening rather than the morning?
As you are supposed to take your time and unwind, and as you’ve already had a shower before you get in there wouldn’t be much point getting in the water when you are rushing around in the morning. It can also warm you up ready to hit your freezing cold futon. My father-in-law also swears that a shower in the morning makes him ill.
Why do Japanese families have so many towels?
They tend to use once and wash, and you can use 3 for one bath (scrub, dry body, dry hair)
Why do Japanese wash their towels after one use?
With the humid weather and small bathrooms with limited ventilation, they are not going to dry before next time. They are also usually soaking wet due their limited size or due to being used actually in the bath or shower, and if you’ve been scrubbing your body with them they’d need a wash.
Why are Japanese baths short and deep?
Lack of space, especially as there must be enough space next to it to be able to shower before you get in and the Japanese rarely have combined bathroom/ toilets. You can still cover your whole body with water as it is possible to fill it right to the brim and just let the excess water drain off the plastic floor.
Why are plastic “unit bathrooms” so popular?
Again, one reason is that a bath is often filled so that it spills over the edge once you get in. Also, you traditionally need a place to wash before you get in and where there is no room for a separate shower you need to do that over the plastic floor next to the bath as you don’t want to get soap inside the bathtub. Unit bathrooms are also easier to clean of mould- a common problem in Japan due to the moist climate and the lack of bathroom windows for reasons of space and privacy. Finally, they are looking a little old fashioned to young Japanese now but they seemed incredibly practical and modern to their grandparents’ and even parents’ generation, and were developed just as throwing out old style bathrooms became popular.
Why do most gyms and onsen hot spring resorts ban tattoos?
It’s traditionally a sign of yakuza.
How can the Japanese get away with banning foreigners from hot springs etc?
First, it’s worth remembering that the UK and USA had a lot more experience with multiculturalism, expanding rights to groups like women and democracy than Japan has now when they (more or less) got past their “No dogs or Irish” stage, so it will take time and struggle in Japan too, and the state of play in other countries has very little relevance to that. Anyway, Britain and America are at the forefront here, and it makes more sense to compare Japan to Spain or Italy where the situation is less open but actually very similiar. It doesn’t help that all those 3 are countries expect a lot of social cohesion- in Japan having tattoos could be much more of a problem then being foreign when it comes to bathing
Why do some public pools not allow you to use soap and shampoo in the showers?
The official explanation is that it pollutes the drain water, but it is more likely to be to stop people using it as a bathroom. My private gym also theoretically has a rule against just coming in for a shower.
Why does the whole family, including the men, use the same girly floral smelling body shampoo (shower gel)?
A lack of space in the bathroom, mother doing all the shopping, Japanese men not needing as much deodorizing and avoiding strong smells, and some crap companies like Kao who are very low on innovation.