Shizuoka Hot Spring Anecdote: The Cleaning Lady, The Towel & The Foreign Male Bather

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One may have lived in Japan for 39 years and still find himself unprepared…

The other day, Thursday April 9th to be precise, the Dragon and I took advantage of our day offf from work to visit a hot springs spa sponsored by the City Of Shimada in Shizuoka Prefecture called Itawari No Yuu/伊太和里の湯, which is not only new (it was founded 6 years ago) and ecological (all electricity is provided by nearby solar panels) but cheap and located in the middle of the neighbouring mountains.

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The access is easy as a city-sponsored bus will take you there from Shimada Station within 30 minutes for only 200 yen!

The only problem is that they do not provide an absolutely necessary item normally available in hot spring spas…
We forgot it was sponsored by a municipality with the need to cut corners for economical reasons!

Anyway, Dragon and I, after paying the cheap 500 yen fee for enjoying the bath and spa facilities went inside our separate public baths…

As I opened my locker, I noticed the absence of towels…
I asked another bather where I could find a towel…
“I’m afraid you have to bring your won!” he answered with dubious look at this foreign “old man”!

Oh, well, I had a handkerchief which should be enough as the hot water would soon dry off my body…

This when a cleaning lady almost barged inside the men’s locker room. She was pretty mature, but no one seemed the least embarrassed by a lady, however old she might be (mind you, not that old as she was probably my age!), entering a space usually reserved to men only. Peaceful, tolerant and comprehending Japan for you!

She directly addressed me in Japanese, not the least bothered by my totally naked body. I didn’t care much either as I often visit Japanese hot springs. Some might snidely remark I was probably showing off (exhibiting?).
She just told me: “Your wife told me you didn’t bring a towel with you?”
“That is right,” I equably replied, “but I have this handkerchief!”
“I’m afraid that will not do! Please wait till I come back!”

Only a minute later she came in again and handed me a towel with the name of the hot spring spa on it a small vinyl bag to take it back with me.
“Thank you so much!”
“You are most welcome!”
And she went out as if nothing had happened.

Dragon told me later that realizing our mistake upon entering her own locker room had asked the same cleaning woman who just happened to be there about the “missing” towels. The charwoman explained we had to buy towels (300 yen each) from the spa. Dragon first asked her if she could kindly inform me of the situation, which the nice lady did at once before going out and meeting Dragon again who had meanwhile bought the two towels and prayed her to hand it over to me, explaining all the time that she should easily find the only “gaijin no ojiisan/外人のお爺さん/Old foreign man” (thank you for making a whole dish of my apparent age!) in the male bathers locker room!

I very much doubt such a situation could have happened outside japan! LOL
In any case, bring a towel with you next time you visit a city-sponsored hot spring spa in Japan!

\RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

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