Wednesday, December 19, 2007

We need a Bath

Japanese bathing rituals came up on a discussion list I participate in, and this neat link was offered: 24 Hour Bath

I read a novel by Yasunari Kawabata called "Snow Country" that I recall having lovely descriptions of aspects of traditional Japanese hot spring culture.

Also, I'm guessing this book is pretty well known: "In Praise of Shadows", by Junichiro Tanizaki. It's a slim book, an elegant description of traditional Japanese houses, with a beautiful section on the bathroom.

I go to Korean bath houses here in Los Angeles, and there are similar protocols ... cleaning (especially SERIOUS exfoliating at a trough), followed by a circuit of hot/cold baths, including an angelica tea bath, as well as a series of saunas with varying humidity and heat. Shoes are not worn into the locker room, and sandals are used for specified areas, like the toilet.

When I first started going, the clientele was almost all Korean, and the baths were very clean and quiet. They've caught on with others, so are a bit noisier and slightly grungier. Which is ironic, since westerners often scoff at the idea of a public bath space being hygienically sound!

Can't find any luxury "dog baths", but there seems to be a healthy market for dog bath robes!

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