A peo­ple per­son

Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK) - - From The Road -

The ad­vice on ‘sur­viv­ing’ a Ja­panese on­sen [ March 2018, is­sue 184] came rather too late for us. Both my hus­band and I travel ex­ten­sively and make an ef­fort to ob­serve lo­cal cus­toms. To mark our sil­ver an­niver­sary, we vis­ited Japan and Aus­tralia with our son and daugh­ter. And while stay­ing in a ryokan (inn) in Nikko, we were very care­ful to re­move our out­door shoes when in our room, to change into ‘toi­let shoes’ when needed, and to re­move our indoor shoes be­fore step­ping onto the tatami mat.

Each morn­ing, four yukatas (ca­sual ki­monos) were brought to our room and cer­e­mo­ni­ously placed on the floor in size or­der, their bows tied im­mac­u­lately at the front. Our son took great pride in do­ing as the Ja­panese men did and wore his yukata out­side in the evenings.

Then, it was time to try out the ryokan’s gen­der-seg­re­gated ther­mal baths. My hus­band and son were each given a large and a small towel, with the chang­in­groom at­ten­dant in­di­cat­ing that only the lat­ter should be taken to the baths. As­sum­ing th­ese were to cover their pri­vate parts, they con­fi­dently en­tered the baths clutch­ing their tow­els firmly to keep them in place, only to find the Ja­panese men lan­guish­ing in the hot wa­ter, tow­els on heads! Ap­par­ently, the Ja­panese soak them in cold wa­ter and place them on their heads to keep cool whereas the English pre­fer to pro­tect their mod­esty! Vanessa Smith, Hud­der­s­field

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