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Hot springs are popular among foreigners, but I think bathing in a traditional sento will also create fun memories. The entire industry has to unite and come up with ideas to incorporate foreign touri

17 Comments

Hiromi Tamae, president of Ebisu Kogyo, a company that produced a video teaching proper Japanese bathing etiquette to foreigners at a “sento” public bath. It won a gold medal at an international business competition. (Asahi Shimbun)

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True. . . . for one thing allowing for both genders to enjoy the Onsen together and this will mean allowing for some kind of swimwear . . .

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Completely agree with you semperfi.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

How about this mind-blowing idea? Hire one of the hundreds of thousands of unemployed young persons in their 20's who speak English reasonably well to provide explanation in English when foreign visitors come with a smile and friendly face.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why only for English speakers?

Most Asian and many foreigners(African) I know can't speak English, many can speak French, etc though.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Sento are dying out as not a lot of money in them. Onsen are thriving because so expensive.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Why only for foreigners? Plenty of Japanese could do with this lesson as well.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Wakarimasen

I guess you have never been to a super sento that is packed during the weekends. Families spend most of the day at those facilities having lunch and supper as well as some snacks in between.

@semperfi

I guess you had never been to a konyoku or co-gender hot springs.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

You mean like La Qua or Yutopia? i don't think that those are the sento this bloke is referring to. more like a hot water park.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I really don't see the attraction unless it's a private bath. The old guys are gross, bending over in front of everyone, hacking and spluttering, splashing everyone around them with the soapy water from their own shower. Then they have the nerve to complain about 'tattoos'.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Will have to change their attitudes in tats if they want to be ore foreign friendly!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The old guys are gross, bending over in front of everyone, hacking and spluttering, splashing everyone around them with the soapy water from their own shower.

I believe you. In my experience, some of the old ladies don't even bother to wash up first, they just get straight into the bath.

And you know what infants usually do when placed in warm water, don't you? Well apparently the same goes for seniors. Ugh! So much for clean Japan.

Other countries, such as Iceland, have had great success with mixed baths that require swimwear. I really think that this is the way that Japanese public baths should go if they want to attract more overseas tourists.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@semperfi

True. . . . for one thing allowing for both genders to enjoy the Onsen together and this will mean allowing for some kind of swimwear

"Traditionally, there was basically no separation between the sexes. It was only after the sexually obsessed Westerners and Christians came to Japan that separate started to be practised.

Why are they obsessed with looking at genitals, or hiding them? Everyone has some.

No, no, no ... the idea swim wear is disgusting. How can you clean yourself and be clean wearing swimwear in a bath? All those dirty genitals! Would you get into a bath with someone else wearing underwear? It is no different.

Before the Christians came, a simple rope might suffice. Whole family's were able to enjoy bathing together. It was far better. It is an attitude of mind to separate nudity from prurient sexuality. The more nudity is normalized, the less it is sexualized.

Luckily there still are some onsen where natural bathing is still practised."

@Moderator

This discussion has nothing to do with Christians. Furthermore, this post has already been removed once for being off topic. Please do not post it again."

Of course it has. It's everything to do with Christian morality. You just don't know your Japanese history.

Now stop being so anally controlling and allow others to have the discussion they want.

Thank you

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Then they've got to change their geriatric opinion on tattoos. Young people have them these days, and LOTS of foreigners have them. It's not just the yakuza anymore.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

when my street where i lived was under repair, installing new water pipes the people affected went to sento. children and women goes to women only and men for men only. The owners made sure that people washed their body and shampoo their hair before plunging to hot pools. i like that people didnt stare at each others private parts. mena and women walking naked before entering the specific place..

tattoed foreigners will never be comfortable with japanese men who have no tattoes and yakuzas have their own sentos to go with. and if you think many japanese young people have tattoes your mistaken there for having tattoes in japanese culture is a taboo for it will hold it against them when looking for jobs..

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

First of all, it's tattoo. Three Ts, two Os. Second of all, there are plenty of young Japanese with tattoos. Not nearly as many as in other countries, true, but the attitude about tattoos is slowly changing. People here aren't sporting full sleeves, but discreet ones are more common than you seem to think. Easily hidden. Looking for jobs? Every inch is covered by a business suit.

tattoed foreigners will never be comfortable with japanese men who have no tattoes

Oh, how I love sweeping generalizations about how foreigners should feel in a sento. Granted, as a tattooed female, I don't have any experience bathing with Japanese men, but I go to a sento once a week and have never felt uncomfortable. Sure, those silly "no tattoos!" signs at the entrance irk me a little, but I've yet to offend anyone, including the staff.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Inverse,

I do not mean this harshly but at some point in life you should learn that the world is not all about you and put and consider others feelings ahead of you and your wants. You must accept, "Me and My tattoos! ... My rights". It's all too egotistical.

The no tattoo rule and taboo is a good one. There's once was a purpose to tattoos, in the old days when the fisherman and firemen wore them to allow their families to identify their bodies if they were killed, but these days there is no deep and sincere purpose or reason for them. They are just vanity and consumer items, like the latest sports shoes or fashion.

The nice thing about everyone being the same and nude in the baths it is it one of the few or only times when everyone is equal. There is no difference between the highest boss or the lowest factory worker. All the artificial pretensions of wealth and status are striped away.

Have your own personal choice of decorations but have them in a way that you can take them off, or leave them at home.

One day the fad will change and your generation will be the "geriatric" one stuck in its own blurry blue-black saggy and wrinkled world.

If you have enough excess money to spend on them, perhaps consider giving it to a charity that provided life changing or saving surgery for children in the developing nations, e.g. correcting hare lips, or cataracts in the old.

That would be a much more satisfying badge to wear for life even though it is invisible.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I won't disagree that they can be vanity and consumer items. That's how people treat them, I guess. Thanks for trying to school me on the beginnings of tattoos, but you need to go further back in history though. Google "Otzi the Iceman" or "Siberian ice princess." People have had them before we even had written history. Tattoos are cultural as much as anything else. And the fact that they are mostly banned here is xenophobic. "We only want our culture here."

I get the "we're all the same in the bath, rah rah!" sentiment, really I do. And that would be nice, in an ideal world. But I don't agree that that is the case presently. If it were, then why aren't other consumer or vanity goods banned in the bath area. Why don't they ban people with dyed hair? Or who are wearing jewelry? How about people that bring their basket of designer cosmetics into the bathing area? I have literally seen women carrying Yves Saint Laurent towels in the bathing area, so don't suggest people have forgotten their status just because they're not wearing clothes.

PS. Don't throw your "your generation" BS around, people of all ages have tattoos.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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