Please start at Day One

Friday, 1 April 2011

Day 32 - Japanese Baths

A pictorial guide to Japanese baths:
Step One.
Make sure you are entering the correct bath, I have not heard of any mixed baths in Japan. This hotel`s bath has a helpful notice in English, but this is unusual. As a general rule doors/curtains/notices tends to be in blue for the boys and red for the girls - or you need to start learning Japanese.

Step Two.
Strip. This is the changing room, slippers are left outside, some shared baths in hotels and public baths have lockers to put valuables in.
Step Three.
Enter the main bathroom, but DO NOT get in the bath! First, sit on a small stool at the shower, and wash yourself. It is important to wash yourself first, so that you are squeaky-clean before you get into the water. You will be sharing the bath if it is a large one, or, someone else may be using it after you if it is a smaller one. I`m not entirely sure why everyone sits down to wash at the shower, instead of standing, although I think I have splashed water and soap over chaps sitting next to me a few times while I have been standing up, so maybe this is why. At each shower there are generally two, or sometimes three, big dispenser bottles of shampoo and body soap, these bottles are also inside every hotel-room private bathroom.

Step Four.
Submerge yourself in hot wet bliss while admiring a view of Mount Ishizuchi, which at 1982metres is western Japan`s highest mountain. Not all baths have such an impressive view, this bath was on the 9th floor of the hotel.

 At Temple 64 I met Professor Tanaka again, he stayed at the same Ryokan as Fujiisan last night and told me that they were talking about me. I also met Airi-chan, who is 12 and has just completed all 88 Temples on the pilgrimage, she has been travelling around the temples in sections over a period of about six months by car with her family.

  • Distance walked today =  9km
  • Distance walked so far = 628.5km
  • Temples visited today = Temple 64; Maegamiji.
  • Kouban visited today =  nil
  • Accommodation =  Hotel and breakfast ¥6,000 (or  ¥5,500 I`m not sure which),  Mishima Daiichi Hotel, Mishima, Ehimeken 〒799 0405
  • Expenditure today =  train fare from Iyo Saijo to Iyo Mishima for the hotel ¥1200, evening food and sake ¥2043, one Temple Stamp ¥300, card for hotel`s cinema-on-demand ¥1000 - I watched "From Paris with Love", and half of "Inception" but fell asleep and started dreaming. 
  • Settai = brocade name-slip from Airi-chan at Temple 64, and ¥500 off the price of the hotel - I had paid ¥6000 already and was using the computer in the lobby when the hotel reception clerk came over to give me a ¥500 coin as O Settai to a Henro, however because of my poor Japanese I couldn`t work out if it was a personal gift from the clerk, or whether he was telling me that the hotel gave a discount to Henro, I will study Japanese much harder when I return.

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