The Japanese Bath by Bruce Smith, Yoshiko Yamamoto

By Bruce Smith, Yoshiko Yamamoto

Within the West, a bathtub is a spot one is going to cleanse the physique. In Japan, one is going there to cleanse the soul. Bathing in Japan is set even more than cleanliness: it's approximately relations and neighborhood. it's approximately being by myself and contemplative, time to monitor the moon upward thrust above the backyard. besides sixty full-color illustrations of the sunshine and ethereal baths themselves, the japanese bathtub, delves into the classy of bathing eastern sort and the innate fantastic thing about the stairs surrounding the method. The authors clarify easy methods to create a eastern tub on your own residence. A Zen meditation, the japanese tub, certainly, cleanses the soul, and one emerges refreshed, renewed, and serene.

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I~ ~ " "1"i , "', It, ~'"" .. ", A ~ "' When I was about nine years old, Imade what I considered then a great discovery about human character. It was in my family, as in most Japanese families, the custom to bathe together, and even on the odd occasions when Iwould begin bathing alone, by the time I started washing my back, my father or mother would come slippingin through the frosted-glass door to help me. Even for a self-absorbed nine-year-old,it was impossiblenot to be aware of my mother's incrediblyfrantic way of washing my back.

Most Japanese remain seated while soaping the body, taking care not to splash any soap scum into the tub water, and depending on mood, this scrubbing can take as long as ten to fifteen minutes. The bather completely rinses off the soapsuds, then rinses once again. At this point, he or she is ready for the last soaking. Since the body is already warmed this time, it is easier to descend into the clean water. The body feels smooth and soft after the vigorous scrubbing, and the muscles and nerves begin unwinding from the accumulated tensions of the day.

Carefully constructed, this miniature landscape can suggest an intricate world of natural elements, allowing viewers to wander through hills, forests, and along rivers while merely looking out the window of their bath. 31 Carefully selected stones-by their sizes, shapes, and quality-can -l . repre- sent scenes of ocean, river, valley, marsh, and waving reeds. To create a scene of the ocean, a Heian-period text instructs one to . ffing, making them appear as though they extendfrom the shore. There should be aJew rocks isolated from the rest.

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