I came to Castleton from Doshisha Women’s College in Japan as an exchange student. When you hear about Japan, what do you associate it with? There are some unique culture elements in Japan, but today I want to introduce Japanese Ofuro culture. Ofuro means bath in English. I remember the moment when I arrived at Castleton University, I was surprised there was no bathtub in my dorm.
First of all, Ofuro has been part of Japanese daily habit since 350 years ago. According to Naito who is a writer of the Japan Times, “Japanese take a bath five times a week in summer and six times a week in winter” (Japan Times, 2001). This aspect of culture is brought by Japanese characteristic weather and natural features. Japan is rich in water. Also, Japanese summers are hot and humid compared with Europe. So we can pool water and we take a bath to clean our sweaty body. In addition, modern technology can make hot water easily.
Almost all Japanese houses have their own bathtub. The size of the bathtub depends on the building. In general, bathtubs have enough room that person who is 5.2ft can relax.
Some people who aren’t Japanese think it is enough to take a shower only. However, I really want you to know that there are a lot of benefits to soaking in a bath. For example, it provides us relaxation effect. Also, it can get rid of fatigue and stress. Hot water keeps our body warm in winter. If you have children, bath time is a good place to communicate with your children. These examples are just a small part of the advantages.
These day there are many kinds of items in Japan for enjoying bath time. Some people put a TV on the bath wall and enjoy watching it. Others turn off the lights and light an aromatic candle.
I really miss Ofuro because more than half a year has passed since I started only taking showers. I’m planning to soak in the bath for at least an hour when I go back to Japan. It used be to difficult for people who have a tattoo to go to Japanese hot springs because tattoos represented villains such as yakuza or gangsters in Japan. However, thanks to increasing foreign tourists, there are some hot springs recently welcoming those who have tattoos. So I recommend visiting the famous hot springs when you come to Japan. You will definitely love it!