Friday, 19 November 2010

Bathing etiquette and advice for foreigners

With the arrival of Kevin next week, there has been a lot of opportunity to exploit the "foreigners in Japan" topic. Besides the obvious questions we might like to ask him about his country and his experiences (look out for the pod-casts later on), it is also a good time to extend a hand of friendship, anticipate any problems he might have in his first few months here and offer some valuable advice regarding cultural taboos, and customs.

To this end my adult class this morning devised a list of pertinent points regarding a visit to the onsen (hot spring public baths). It goes something like this:

* Before entering the hot bath you should wash your private parts and armpits.
* Don't wear a swimsuit in the bath.
* Don't put your towel in the bath (but on your head is ok!)
* Don't wash your underwear in the bath! (taken from a real sign)
* Don't swim, splash or dive in the bath.
* If you suffer from high blood pressure, you should not enter the bathtub for a long time.
* You should dry your body with a towel before going into the changing area so you don't wet the floor.
* Sweep the area after using the hair-dryer.

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