Gaijin Smash

A Bathing Gaijin

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on January 12, 2006

No experience in Japan would be complete without at least one trip to an onsen/bath house. They’re big, open spaces with areas for bathing and soaking. Onsens draw from a natural hot spring, while the bathhouses have large baths with different types – your standard hot water, massage bubbles, electricity currents, and even one outside, so you can soak in the hot water amidst the snow. The Japanese take their bathing pretty seriously, and I gotta admit, it is pretty nice.
There is one drawback though. These are public baths. Public baths, which means a lot of strangers, and a lot of nakedness.
You can always tell the veteran Gaijin from the newbie Gaijin in the bathhouses. The vet sheds his clothes in an instant, and has kicked back in the bubble jet bath. The newbie Gaijin stands there, wearing his underwear and holding the miniscule hand towel and saying “and we’re not allowed to wear our shorts?” No siree Mr. Gaijin, it’s you and Mr. Tanaka, as stark-buck naked as the day you were born.
It’s not just soaking in water either. I’ve seen people bring their razors, their shampoos, even toothbrushes. I’m always amazed at how open the Japanese culture is to bathing with complete and total strangers. At first, you’re tempted to think “How nice! A culture that isn’t totally hung up on the human body, and comfortable enough to do this type of thing.” Then you remember just how fucked up Japan is sexually, and you wonder if this kind of thing doesn’t contribute to that.
If there’s one thing I hate more than anything else, it’s getting stared at while at a public bath. Cause you know what they’re looking at, and why. You can’t even hide it. Not even with your tiny little hand towel. What sucks for me is that I have a tattoo on my right shoulder, and tattoos are frowned upon by Japanese society. Because tattoos = yakuza, almost unequivocally. So I usually have to use my hand towel to cover my shoulder. …How fucked up is that? I’m in a public bathhouse, naked, and being sized up by Japanese men, and my ONE piece of tiny little cloth must be devoted to covering up my shoulder. Welcome to Japan.
And yes, they do look. They stare when we’re wearing clothes. They certainly couldn’t pass up this opportunity to behold a Gaijin Body in all its naked glory.
I spend a lot of time in public bathhouses admiring the ceiling. I can tell you, some of the ones in Kyoto have the finest roof-work I’ve ever seen. Bathhouses are a place, of course, where you come to curse peripheral vision.


It’s great that the Japanese don’t care, but I can’t handle that shit man. I don’t wanna see that. My first trip to a bathhouse ensured that I’d already seen more Japanese wang than I ever wanted to see in my entire life. This weirds me out, but they just don’t give a shit. You see old guys all spread out and shit outside of the bath. I don’t wanna see that man. Who does? “Jesus Christ, get over it, grow up!” I can already hear some of you thinking. “The Japanese don’t have a problem with it.” Sure they don’t. But y’know, if my prudish American ways keep me from wanting to watch rape/tentacle hentai porn, wanting to grope high school girls on crowded trains, and having an unhealthy obsession with lolitas, then y’know what? God Bless America.
Because of bathhouses, in Japan it’s no weird thing at all to have seen your friends naked. This is another concept I just can’t grasp. Once you’ve seen your buds naked do you ever see them any other way? We could be hanging out in Mother Russia wearing 4 layers of fur skin coats, but the after-image would STILL linger on. I can still recall an unfortunate incident during college. My friends all decided to go skinny-dipping one night. I got dragged along, but declined to remove any clothes or jump in the pool. I was doing a pretty good job of averting my eyes, but as one of my friends went to the outside of the pool to jump in, a car came up directly behind him. While he flew in midair, the car’s headlights acted as a spotlight of sorts. It was almost artistic the way the lights and shadows blended together. Unfortunately, that one moment in time was forever etched into all of our brains. I’ve tried everything short of pouring bleach down my ears to erase it, but to no avail. I’d pour the bleach down my ears but I can’t guarantee that wouldn’t fuck up something really important in the plumbing upstairs. And then I’d have to go see a Japanese doctor, who’d tell me by brain damage would probably get better if I lost some weight and took some suppositories.
But in Japan, it’s just one of those things – no big deal. I’ve never been witness to it, but one of my friends who goes to bath houses often with some of our Japanese friends tells me that one of them is quite talented in arranging his junk to make animal shapes. “And if I push right here, look! An elephant! Now, it’s a panda.”
I will give Japanese guys one thing though – they can handle the heat. Every onsen or bathhouse you go to is bound to have a sauna room. I’ve tried it ONCE. I nearly died. I walked in, and instantly I felt the heat searing my skin. It was like I’d finally walked into one of those Circles of Hell I keep claiming I’m gonna get sent to when I die. Seriously, it was that fucking hot! I had to put my towel over my face just to breathe. Meanwhile, you’ve got old Japanese guys kicked back reading up on the Nikkei and shit, I was astonished. I had to leave after only five minutes, or else I would have just become a steaming pile of melted goo.
One of the popular male fantasies, aside from all the schoolgirl/french maid/tentacle nonsense (WTF is up with Japanese guys?!) is to be able to sneak over to the women’s side of the onsen, and be witness to beautiful naked women openly bathing. Maybe even washing each other, playfully splashing each other with water, frolicking about among the suds…
I’m sorry, I went away for a while there. I’m back now.
Anyway, as for the female side of the bathhouse, I came to a sobering realization. The male side is mostly dominated by shriveling, wrinkly old men. Assuming the reverse holds true, that is nothing I ever want to see.
There actually are some bath houses/onsens in Japan that do not have a division for men/women. Everyone bathes in one common area. But still, even if all the women were naked, golden beauties, so? What, exactly, could a young male do about that? You can’t stare too hard, nor can you enjoy it too much. It would be fairly obvious if you did. Would you hit on them? While both buck naked? How would that work anyway? Just walk up, gesture downward and say “Well?” I imagine I’d be too busy thinking about approved boner-kill scenarios (baseball, war, my Japanese friend making a panda out of his nuts) to actually enjoy it.
I did go one time to a bathhouse with a female companion, and noticed that on the male side at least there were plenty of young guys. After leaving the onsen and meeting up with my companion, I asked her about the female side. She confirmed that there were quite a few young women present. “Well?” I asked her. “What did you think? Did you see a lot of beautiful girls?” I was hoping she would paint that picture of curvy (yeah right, what country do I live in), stunning women, all naked and bouncy and bathing each other and getting playful and what not. My companion gave it a moment’s thought, then said to me in all honesty, “They all had a lot of hair. I was surprised, it was just like biong!” and she made a sprawling out motion with her hands.
And she wasn’t talking about head hair either.
*Az’s Note – I know now since the original posting of this editorial that public bathing is very common in some other parts of the world, especially Europe. I’m also much less weirded out by it now (the system has broken me nicely), but I still don’t particularly enjoy seeing geriatric Japanese wang. …Who does?

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55 Responses

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  1. Rodney said, on December 15, 2006 at 12:34 am

    This article was just as funny as the first time I read it. Even now living in America… I find it hard to believe people can do that with no hesitation, without giving a care in the world.
    I guess the system hasn’t broken me yet.

  2. Kosetsu said, on December 15, 2006 at 12:43 am

    Maybe you can get, like, one of those horse blinder things to completely block out your peripheral vision. Or some kind of special tinted glasses that will turn all yellow-tinted flesh a brownish-black blob. Royal purple?
    Shit, kancho and bulllying doesn’t scare me away from JET, but these horror stories scare me away from onsen.
    I like the running gag of the Japanese medical practice though. XD;; “I’d have to go see a Japanese doctor, who’d tell me by brain damage would probably get better if I lost some weight and took some suppositories” – Roffle.

  3. Rain said, on December 15, 2006 at 1:54 am

    Isn’t it a Japanese stereotype that if you’re female and shave your pubic hair that you’re basically a giant ho bag? Why then does it so rarely appear in their hentai comics? I’ve read a lot of them and could probably count the pubic hairs I’ve seen on one hand. I haven’t seen much live-action porn though so maybe that’s a different story.
    I know that porn isn’t an honest reflection of societal values (obviously), but reality and porn do try to imitate each other on occasion. At least that’s why I think so many women in the U.S. at least shave their pubic hair rather than allow it to grow wild and free like ivy that bits of toilet paper can get caught in (you’re welcome for that).
    And if your brain stopped at “you’ve read a LOT of hentai comics?”, I can offer no justifications, I just find them funny and occasionally arousing which I’m not against.

  4. moof said, on December 15, 2006 at 2:25 am

    Sadly, all the sento/onsen I tried in the Tokyo area were way, way too hot for me; getting nauseous while sitting in scalding hot water ain’t my cup of tea.

  5. Tony said, on December 15, 2006 at 3:13 am

    most of the girls in japanese porn have bush.

  6. Ale said, on December 15, 2006 at 3:40 am

    I remember my first onsen visit. Being from Sweden, who only fall short of Finland when it comes to saunas, I was pretty cocky, thinking: “I’d better stay a while or these Japanese men will think I’m a wuss.”
    I emerged out fire truck red. My Japanese friends also asked: “Why did you stay there for so long?”
    I’m of course used to the Swedish sauna style: Get ridiculously hot for 10-15 minutes, then run out in lake water, which is in no way warm. It’s horribly great. But here, no pause, no escape, only heat.
    BTW, about the whole nakedness and Europe thing: I still remember one summer when a friend of the family was visiting us in our summer house. We went to the sauna in our boathouse by the lake and there it was decided: “Why don’t we take a swim?” The friend, a 20-something woman who was quite open-minded, unveiled the two twins inches from my face. Inches. Admittingly, I was only entering puberty in that age, but I was dazzled.
    The worst part? There was nothing inviting or seducing with her move. Nothing. Like dangling candy in front of me.
    Oh, and I’ve seen my mother naked. Several times. Not nice.

  7. evil_tennyo said, on December 15, 2006 at 4:49 am

    i would love to go to an onsen, but i can relate to what you’re saying! being american, we’re not used to being naked in public with complete strangers (normally). It’s cool though that regardless, you still went not once but twice.

  8. CaptCanada said, on December 15, 2006 at 5:20 am

    You know, the Roman’s had bath houses too; and if I’m not mistaken, they fucked little boys. So maybe you are right, public bathing = perversions. Still doesn’t explain the Catholic priests, but what can.

  9. Zantetsu said, on December 15, 2006 at 9:42 am

    I’ve known about these for almost a decade, and I still will avoid them like the plague. I can sympathise with me being mediterrenean we’re raised to treat our family jewels like… Jewels.
    Who cares if Japanese do it without a care? I’m not Japanese and I’ll never be considered Japanese by them… Besides, it’s gay. 😛

  10. Warui Tanuki said, on December 15, 2006 at 11:18 am

    Ever since the first time I had sex, I’ve never really cared if anyone sees me naked. I don’t know if it was the confidence boost or what, but it just doesn’t bother me now. I quite enjoyed the onsens I visited when I was in Japan (just vacations, I’ve never lived there [yet]). As far as the copious J-wang, I was able to ignore it. Just keep your eyes at chest-level or higher, maybe let them unfocus a little. As long as you don’t fall asleep, you can just close your eyes when you’re in the water.

  11. arata said, on December 15, 2006 at 11:31 am

    OH MY GOD! This is the first time I’ve heard this issue mentioned! I had the exact same reaction on my first trip to an onsen. All the Japanese women had huge poofy vag-badgers that looked really gross and sloppy when they got out of the water. I’m still recovering from the mental scars.

  12. Barry said, on December 15, 2006 at 11:42 am

    It’s good to know that the onomatopoeia for “pubes” is officially “biong”.

  13. Patrick said, on December 15, 2006 at 5:43 pm

    “One of the popular male fantasies, aside from all the schoolgirl/french maid/tentacle nonsense (WTF is up with Japanese guys?!) is to be able to sneak over to the women’s side of the onsen, and be witness to beautiful naked women openly bathing. Maybe even washing each other, playfully splashing each other with water, frolicking about among the suds…
    I’m sorry, I went away for a while there. I’m back now.”
    That always makes me laugh. And, of course, what most guys will do.
    I’m wondering if maybe my plans to visit Japan/sign up for JET as a conversational English teacher are a little wrong.

  14. Mr. Bomberman said, on December 15, 2006 at 5:54 pm

    Oh my god..
    I’m definitely gonna try that one day.
    Oh, maybe I did, cause when I went to Switzerland in 2004, I was in one place (like that), and I too, was the subject of “attention”… being one of the only 12 black people over there (the other 11 was people who were with me.), and you know.
    I also have been broken down by the system, with an extra price of my sanity.
    And… Ale, I feel your pain.. There were times when I felt like gouging my eyes out whenever I saw my mom naked… UUGH.

  15. Gabe said, on December 15, 2006 at 7:41 pm

    I have no problem with the onsen in Japan and being nekkid in front of the Japanese because lets face it, there is nothing there that will reduse your ego. The one thing that I cant stand is that the Japanese like hot water, and not just hot, I am talking about hotter than lava gonna melt your skin hot. It is like they are making soup not a bath.

  16. Nils said, on December 16, 2006 at 5:18 pm

    I’m German, and I don’t see how nudity should be a problem to anyone… I’ve been in the sauna with friends of mine, seen them all naked, men, women, hairy or shaved, with or without tattoos or piercings… doesn’t matter at all.
    I’ve also seen my parents naked. And I’ve been at nude beaches. I don’t understand why nudity should be such a big thing.
    Well, I’ve heard that Americans are even clothed in the sauna, at least wearing some towel around their hips or something. So maybe you would experience some kind of shock in such a situation, while I would not.

  17. Kosetsu said, on December 16, 2006 at 6:43 pm

    *laughs* Gabe, does that mean “Gaijin Soup”? The ability to melt in the face of countless J-wang and scaldingly hot public baths and steamrooms, thus safely avoiding all dangers except consumption by the unwary.
    Also, I originally though the “boing!” onomatopoeia was for leg hair or something – but now that I think about it… *shudders*

  18. Stig H. said, on December 17, 2006 at 11:15 am

    I just wanted to comment on the amusingly appropriate ad on the right of the page. Since I’m not sure whether ads get randomized here, I’ll add a screenshot!
    Click here to view. Yes, it’s safe for work, unless you’re really, really prudish.

  19. Tom said, on December 17, 2006 at 11:29 am

    I’m curious about the sauna thing (I’m Finnish). How many degrees hot is a Japanese steam room? I’ve been to saunas abroad plenty of times, and they’ve all been pretty mild (around 80°C at the hottest).

  20. Stig H. said, on December 17, 2006 at 5:22 pm

    Erm… my picture link didn’t get added? Sorry about that. I could have sworn I added a HTML link to it to the post. ^^;;
    Oh well, looks like the laser pointer ad is a regular at the right side, so I guess it doesn’t matter. “It’s that long?” indeed.

  21. Jen said, on December 17, 2006 at 6:19 pm

    You’re lucky you are allowed in the onsen with a tattoo at all. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been relaxing in the bath (yes, I do like onsen and I’m fully over the wierdness) only to have someone come up to me and tell me to leave, cuz one of the old ladies complained about my tattoo (granted, it’s a bit bigger than can be easily covered by a towel).
    And yes, the hair thing is very true. Often both leg hair and other.
    Saunas are amazingly hot here, I thought I was going to faint the first time I was in one. Another time it was so hot I got burns around som of my piercings (metal conducts heat too well).

  22. Genibibiou said, on December 17, 2006 at 8:30 pm

    “One of the popular male fantasies, aside from all the schoolgirl/french maid/tentacle nonsense (WTF is up with Japanese guys?!)”
    I don’t know WTF is up with Japanese guys, but I WOULD SURE LIKE TO KNOW!!!!
    During my stay in Japan, there happened to be an anime convention about a week after I arrived. Granted, in Japan, there are anime conventions about every two weeks. I, however, had only been to two back in the States, so I was elated to say the least. “An anime convention in the motherland of all anime?? How could I possibly RESIST?!” Ah- how I wish I could have that blind naivete back.
    I went to the anime convention, dragging a friend who was in the same study abroad program with me (my host family respectfully declined to go). She was a hardcore fan, too, so we decided to go dressed in matching French Maid costumes. Bear in mind, I was a C-cup, and she was a double-D, and these costumes were in no way modest. Just throwing that out there.
    We didn’t even make it to the Registration table before the gathering crowd of creepy otaku boys realized that not ONLY were we dressed as one of their favorite fantasies of all time, we were American- and thus, quite busty. The mob enveloped the both of us, asking our names, taking our pictures- one guy even asked how much he would have to pay me to give him a kiss. Ewwwww. Once inside, we fared little better. Neither of us could bend over the tables to look at the merchandise without a crowd behind looking up our skirts, and the person behind the table stifling a nosebleed while he got a good look at our boobs.
    We won the costume contest, though, and we spilt the 50,000 yen prize between the two of us. Gaijin Smash.
    Oh, and Arata?
    “All the Japanese women had huge poofy vag-badgers that looked really gross and sloppy when they got out of the water. I’m still recovering from the mental scars.”
    I’m still recovering from laughing so hard at the phrase “vag-badgers”. Nice one.

  23. CKX said, on December 17, 2006 at 9:12 pm

    Onsen are great. Can’t stand the heat in the sauna’s though. Some of them are more than 90 degrees. I love the rotenburo (onsen in open air), some have spectacular views like when they’re in a valley with a river or near the sea. In winter surrounded by snow is the best onsen experience I think.
    Once I entered a famous onsen in Kyushu and their was a complete gang of Yakuza inside. The few non-Yakuza guy’s in there didn’t dare to speak a word. Allthough there is a sign at the entrance which forbids gangmembers to enter the onsen, they were there. Well, who would think of not letting them enter! Anyway it was an asome experence for me and I got to see all the tattoo’s for real. Some of the younger member’s tatoo’s weren’t finished. When I got in the boss-type yakuza and some older yakuza were in the rotenburo and the younger yakuza inside and when the older guys came inside the younger guys went outside. Senpai-kohai thing I guess. As a half-japanese myself and looking foreigner I wasn’t really scared though.

  24. callalily said, on December 18, 2006 at 12:03 am

    As Seinfeld said, there’s good naked and there’s bad naked…
    Way too many people don’t seem to realize they are bad naked!

  25. Jody said, on December 18, 2006 at 1:52 am

    I’d be careful in mentioning your trips to the onsens to some of your students, a few inparticular. Would they ever be presented with an opportune moment…

  26. Anonymous said, on December 18, 2006 at 5:09 am

    Luckily, I have the ostrich-with-its-head-in-the-sand advantage when it comes to public bathing: I can’t see anything without my glasses, and I make it a habit not to bathe with them. ^^
    My only Japanese bathhouse experience was at a summer camp for exchange students in Okinawa prefecture; it was inside an building and ceramic tile, and was basically a nicely warm (but then, I like my baths hot) shallow swimming pool with seated showers off to the side. It was also populated only by high school girls and their host sisters, meaning about half of us were American. We were pretty brazen about it, too; having been freshly brainwashed to EMBRACE THE CULTURE!!, most of us just got nekkid, scrubbed up, and went soaking like no big deal – I’ll leave all you males here with that lovely mental image. I had my ostrich-ness on, of course, so not so much with the lovely views. But then, not so much with noticing the vag-badgers either…
    I felt really bad for my one exchange student friend, who hit the showers late for some reason and got to bathe under the watchful eyes of the girls from the *other* summer camp – the elementary school.

  27. Anonymous said, on December 18, 2006 at 5:09 am

    Luckily, I have the ostrich-with-its-head-in-the-sand advantage when it comes to public bathing: I can’t see anything without my glasses, and I make it a habit not to bathe with them. ^^
    My only Japanese bathhouse experience was at a summer camp for exchange students in Okinawa prefecture; it was inside an building and ceramic tile, and was basically a nicely warm (but then, I like my baths hot) shallow swimming pool with seated showers off to the side. It was also populated only by high school girls and their host sisters, meaning about half of us were American. We were pretty brazen about it, too; having been freshly brainwashed to EMBRACE THE CULTURE!!, most of us just got nekkid, scrubbed up, and went soaking like no big deal – I’ll leave all you males here with that lovely mental image. I had my ostrich-ness on, of course, so not so much with the lovely views. But then, not so much with noticing the vag-badgers either…
    I felt really bad for my one exchange student friend, who hit the showers late for some reason and got to bathe under the watchful eyes of the girls from the *other* summer camp – the elementary school.

  28. AutumnFire said, on December 18, 2006 at 11:45 am

    …one of my friends who goes to bath houses often with some of our Japanese friends tells me that one of them is quite talented in arranging his junk to make animal shapes. “And if I push right here, look! An elephant! Now, it’s a panda.”
    Ha! Rank amateur. Try THIS on for size! “Puppetry of the Penis.” http://www.amazon.co.uk/Puppetry-Of-The-Penis/dp/B00005NONL .
    And yes, I have watched the dvd and it was pretty amazing. The things some guys will think of to do when you’re bored simply astounds me.

  29. Anonymous said, on December 18, 2006 at 5:05 pm

    I live in a clothing optional environment, so I thought that nudity shouldn’t be a big deal. But then I realized that my house only has students and there is no need to be afraid of the not-so-appetizing nakedness of old.

  30. Anonymous said, on December 18, 2006 at 5:05 pm

    I live in a clothing optional environment, so I thought that nudity shouldn’t be a big deal. But then I realized that my house only has students and there is no need to be afraid of the not-so-appetizing nakedness of old.

  31. Matt Metford said, on December 18, 2006 at 5:37 pm

    Every time a teacher or Japanese friend invites me to an onsen, I suspect that they have an ulterior motive.
    I went to a fitness club during the second month I was here to go swimming, and the changing room was an experience. I took a locker in the aisle closest to the door (the exit door, not the door to the pool), figuring it would give me a little privacy.
    It did not. Japanese dudes were walking up to my aisle just to stare at me for a minute, then amble back to their own locks on the other end of the room. I got changed as quickly as possible. It happened again on the way out, naturally. The most disconcerting part is that they were all just wandering around the changing room stark naked. I thought men or women walking around the locker room naked was just something from teen movies and porn.

  32. Matt Metford said, on December 18, 2006 at 5:39 pm

    Also, and this may be incorrect, I heard that the reason for the lack of pubic hair in older anime is that there was a law in Japan, stating that if there was no pubic hair and no nipple visible on a woman, then it didn’t count as porn? Anyone know if this is true? I think this law was relaxed, but I’m not sure.

  33. Genibibiou said, on December 19, 2006 at 8:25 am

    To Matt Metford:
    I’m not so sure- I think maybe the whole “lack of pubes” thing might be a result of Japanese guys loving young girls. I mean, considering a LOT of the hentai is with young schoolgirls and the like, I guess it’s kinda understood that they wouldn’t have a lot of hair down south…

  34. Anonymous said, on December 19, 2006 at 11:43 am

    I have to say that I don’t find the nakedness in public baths etc. particularly shocking, being Finnish and all. What strikes me as odd is this: “If there’s one thing I hate more than anything else, it’s getting stared at while at a public bath.”
    Here in Finland we have a unwritten rules of the sauna etiquette. One of the most important is that you don’t really pay any attention to anything below the chin. I’d just find it weird to act otherwise. Hell, I sat alone with five girls of my age (I was sixteen and generally as horny as you could expect someone of that age to be) in a sauna on a summer camp, and never did it occur to me to stare at their parts. Nor did they stare at mine. That would have just been rude beyond words.
    I guess the Japanese must be a bit more tolerant about staring than us Finns.

  35. Anonymous said, on December 19, 2006 at 11:43 am

    I have to say that I don’t find the nakedness in public baths etc. particularly shocking, being Finnish and all. What strikes me as odd is this: “If there’s one thing I hate more than anything else, it’s getting stared at while at a public bath.”
    Here in Finland we have a unwritten rules of the sauna etiquette. One of the most important is that you don’t really pay any attention to anything below the chin. I’d just find it weird to act otherwise. Hell, I sat alone with five girls of my age (I was sixteen and generally as horny as you could expect someone of that age to be) in a sauna on a summer camp, and never did it occur to me to stare at their parts. Nor did they stare at mine. That would have just been rude beyond words.
    I guess the Japanese must be a bit more tolerant about staring than us Finns.

  36. Dyanna said, on December 23, 2006 at 12:15 pm

    I also heard about that pubic hair law. No pubic hair and no wang, which is why tenticle porn was created.
    I also heard that the Eyes-Above-Chin Rule is a rule in Japan, too, but I guess curiousity of foriegners overrides it.

  37. heh said, on December 24, 2006 at 5:33 pm

    To the people saying this is weird, it’s a cultural difference, open your mind and accept that in some countries people don’t have a problem with nudity, that doesn’t mean they are perverted or backward, it’s just a culture difference. Actually it’s more perverted to to link nudity to sex like in the US…
    And a few centuries ago in Europe people used not to bathe, because they thought it was SINFUL to take care of one’s body… Isn’t THAT ridiculous? In the Chinese countryside the toilets don’t have walls or anything, meaning everyone else can see you, but people are used to it so they don’t find it weird. Just different cultures.
    Also about hair and porn, legally speaking porn is forbiddenin Japan. That’s quite funny how there are westerners who complain and say Japan is fucked up because porn is illegal/or showing pubes is, but the irony of it is this law was made by AMERICAN during the occupation. So all you hentai lovers blame McArthur.

  38. Azrael said, on December 24, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    ^Do you have any proof on that? I’d heard that it was American influence which lead to the censorship of Japanese porn, but when I actually looked it up, all I found was that depictions of the male/female genitalia *in a sexual content* were forbidden, and had been since the Meiji Era (before the war, incidentally, so we had nothing to do with it).
    It’s not that porn is illegal, it’s just that showing genitalia in a sexual context is. It’s a stupid law but I doubt any politician will rise up to change it.

  39. magi said, on December 31, 2006 at 1:05 am

    as an exchange student in japan i have visited bath houses quite a few times (on school trips, orientations, extra) perhaps it was because my company was high school girls but i found they were rather unhairy. One of my friends even shamed me into shaving the little hairs off my toes. to be honest i had bigger problems (40 japanese girls and only 25 shower hoses!) i consider myself lucky though i never had to endure the site of “geriatric japanese wang” ^_^

  40. Runs With Scissors said, on January 2, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    errr. Yeah, I visited Washinton a few years back, and they had natural hot springs and the whole communally bathing naked thing as well. I totally would have been fine if it had just been women, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. AND there were NO bath towels. I totally understand what you’re getting at…

  41. Christer said, on January 4, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    What’s so wrong about seeing your friends naked? When you go to the gym with a buddy you shower in the same shower room afterwards, you see them naked then, so?

  42. jen said, on January 13, 2007 at 5:16 am

    mm… bathing with friends? yucks… but with handsome strangers… y not…

  43. Kat said, on January 15, 2007 at 9:55 pm

    Japanese women not only have a bunch of hair down there… its so long that when they get out of the water, it looks like when you see those cartoons of long haired cats climbing out of water…
    I’m talkin, braidable.

  44. E-Ping said, on February 25, 2007 at 7:05 am

    I’ve only visited the onsen once during a trip and I found it pretty nice. Not much different to other hot springs I’d say. Of course, not much people were inside, and I found out that that space was occupied by a few Koreans and us (a few Taiwanese) so it was perfectly fine. No one is going to do the staring or get stared XD.
    As a sidenote I actually bathed with my friends when I was in junior high, and our grade (ninensei) went on a camp trip. It was getting dark and the bathroom weren’t enough to accommodate all of us boys. I didn’t look but they said they did. duh.

  45. Corey said, on March 9, 2007 at 1:52 am

    I wouldn’t really enjoy seeing a lot of any wang, let alone Japanese wang. But i do plan on going to Japan one day…sigh…pray for me.

  46. WagDug said, on September 20, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    I have to comment here becouse Im from Finland. There are about 5.3 million people living here and we have 5.3 million saunas also :D. I would really liked to know what kind of Saunas they got in Japan. Becouse I heard they are kinda crappy compered to the real thing. So are they like Swedish saunas and the heat is around 40C – 60C or the Finnish type 80C to over 100C.
    And the staring thing must come to shock to Finnish people. We go to sauana naked but we never look down :D. We don´t even look each others when we are clothed.
    You Know You’ve Been In Finland Too Long, When…
    When a stranger look and smiles at you, you assume he is drunk, insane, or American.
    Oh and sorry for my bad english… I cant even write finnihs right :).

  47. Ceri Cat said, on September 26, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    *chuckles* Up until relatively recently it seems Japanese law regarding porn had a strange clause not allowing the showing of pubic hair, with the amount of porn some western guys watch it’s conceivable the Japanese men aren’t much better at times. So maybe actually having bush was more interesting than seeing bald. Of course with the lolita complex that doesn’t really work but I so do not want to go there. Though really I’m used to the Japanese example, only one of my ex’s has shaved, and frankly I didn’t notice at first because of her gut until the hand went questing.

  48. Anonymous said, on November 9, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    It’s good to see that there are more finns than just me reading this blog =P
    But i have to reply to one thing Tony from sweden said, that “sweden is only second to Finland when it comes to saunas” Don’t make me fucking laugh! 😄
    You guys are a bunch of pussies when it comes to a sauna, you dont even have a drain in the floor in most of your saunas, how the hell are you going to get any steam going? =P
    And more, I have relatives from America, and I remember when they visited a couple of years ago they were avsolutely paranoid about being seen naked, even among family! This I thought was really silly. As a lot of my fellow Finns before me have stated, we have a very relaxed view on nakedness and saunas. In a sauna you are always naked, no matter if it’s mixed or one gender only. We usually don’t have mixed saunas in puvlic facilities, but in private it’s not really a matter you think about. The sauna is simply a “non-excitation” zone. And seeing buddies naked..? What’s the issue there?
    And all this bathing showering and saunaing naked still hasn’t made our people into boy lovers or fetishists, so you might as well throw that theory out the window.

  49. Anonymous said, on November 9, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    It’s good to see that there are more finns than just me reading this blog =P
    But i have to reply to one thing Tony from sweden said, that “sweden is only second to Finland when it comes to saunas” Don’t make me fucking laugh! 😄
    You guys are a bunch of pussies when it comes to a sauna, you dont even have a drain in the floor in most of your saunas, how the hell are you going to get any steam going? =P
    And more, I have relatives from America, and I remember when they visited a couple of years ago they were avsolutely paranoid about being seen naked, even among family! This I thought was really silly. As a lot of my fellow Finns before me have stated, we have a very relaxed view on nakedness and saunas. In a sauna you are always naked, no matter if it’s mixed or one gender only. We usually don’t have mixed saunas in puvlic facilities, but in private it’s not really a matter you think about. The sauna is simply a “non-excitation” zone. And seeing buddies naked..? What’s the issue there?
    And all this bathing showering and saunaing naked still hasn’t made our people into boy lovers or fetishists, so you might as well throw that theory out the window.

  50. Anonymous said, on July 24, 2008 at 8:32 am

    I seriously hope panda nuts isn’t some sort of children’s entertainer.

  51. Anonymous said, on July 24, 2008 at 8:32 am

    I seriously hope panda nuts isn’t some sort of children’s entertainer.

  52. Anonymous said, on April 12, 2009 at 11:30 am

    i seriously don’t understand the problem japanese people have with tattoos. in singapore, tattoos and body art are admired, not scorned. besides, a sizeable number of people have them, which their proudly show off at the beach in their bikinis and such.

  53. Anonymous said, on April 12, 2009 at 11:30 am

    i seriously don’t understand the problem japanese people have with tattoos. in singapore, tattoos and body art are admired, not scorned. besides, a sizeable number of people have them, which their proudly show off at the beach in their bikinis and such.

  54. Anonymous said, on July 28, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Can you get kicked out if you have a tatoo?

  55. Anonymous said, on July 28, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Can you get kicked out if you have a tatoo?


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