“Sento” or public baths have long been part of the Japanese culture and dates back to the time when not all houses have their own bathrooms and some want to experience the soothing feeling hot springs water gives. But not everyone, most especially foreigners, are accustomed to the proper etiquette when inside these public baths. This is what Ebisu Kogyo tried to address in its new instructional video about the proper manners when inside a “sento.”
The video titled “Gaikokujin Nyuyoku Manner Koshukai in Shinsekai,” (A bathing etiquette lecture for foreigners in Shinsekai) won the Gold Stevie Award in the Services Company of the Year category in Japan for its educational content and the way it was presented. Ebisu Kogyo is the company that operates the Shinsekai Radium Onsen in Naniwa Ward, Osaka and oftentimes, they encounter foreign guests in their bath house. Company president Hiromi Tamae said, “Hot springs are popular among foreigner, but I think bathing in a traditional sento will also create fun memories.” The video hopes to encourage more foreigners to try their services. The video starts its setting in a lecture hall where the lecturer gives a short intro on the history of sento and proceeds to show the rules on bathing using illustrations. The three main points stressed in the video were first, to take off clothes before one enters the bath area. Second is to wash the body before entering the bath and third is to keep the towels off the bath area. It also showed a scene where the seven foreigners were led to a bath to train and apply what they learned from the lecture.
The video, aside from showing ways to enjoy a bath in a sento, also showed “sansuke” or bath servants that help the foreigners by bringing hot waters and scrubbing their backs. Finally, the scene ends with the students enjoying fresh food and fruits prepared for them. With this tutorial video, Ebisu Kogyo hopes that many tourists will try bath houses in Japan and not be intimidated while inside so they can enjoy their experience.
[via The Asahi Shimbun]
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