Wednesday, January 30, 2013

365 Inspirations—30: Hot Baths

Natural Japanese Hot Spring
"There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them."—Sylvia Plath

Yesterday I taught 6 hours at the college and had a split shift, so all I could think about when I came home was sinking into a hot, steamy bubble bath—Calgon take me away!

And that's exactly what I did! I prep my blog posts the night before, so it was a late night for me last night. 

I take baths almost every night in the winter. It's my way of unwinding and relaxing. There's something about the warm water in winter that soothes my soul. I picked up the habit of taking baths when I lived in Japan. 

Most of the Japanese people I knew when I lived there couldn't dream of going to bed without a bath. It's a big part of the Japanese culture. Whenever I'd visit a Japanese friend's house to stay the night, they'd always prepare a bath for me. It was a real ritual. They'd give me a robe and some fruit and tea and then they'd disappear while they prepared my bath. They'd often add bubbles or powder or natural minerals.

Japan is full of onsens (hot springs) and I visited over a dozen of them. At the hot springs, you are given a bathing robe (yukata) and people actually walk around the onsen grounds in a yukata and slippers. When you get to the hot springs area, most people bathe nude and the men's and women's sections are separated. It's quite the experience to go to a hot spring in Japan. 

In Korea, people in the old days used to not have bathing facilities, so many would bathe in a public bath house or "mogyogtang". The Korean style bath house is different from the Japanese experience. The Koreans have what is called a Jimjilbang (sauna). Each sauna room has different healing properties. There's usually a salt room, clay room, charcoal room, jade room, medicinal herb room and even an ice room for cooling off afterwards! There are a couple of Korean Jimjilbangs near Seattle and they are very popular. After going in several sauna rooms, you can also relax in the hot and cold pools which are segregated. My husband and I go a couple times a year and it's FREE on your birthday!

 After living in Asia for so long, baths have become a big part of my life. They go well with all the rain we have this time of year. I like to open my bathroom window a crack and listen to the rain drops while I sit in my steamy bath and drink a nice cup of herbal tea and read a book! It's heaven.

Do you like to take baths? Have you ever been to a natural hot spring or Korean spa?


  1. I live near Banff, where there is an amazing natural springs. But the public facility looks nothing like the one in the picture. That's really pretty.

    1. I'd love to go to Banff sometimes Stina and try out your hot springs there. I love and miss hot springs! Baths will have to do for now!

  2. I take mostly showers now, but years ago when I was in grad school, taking hot baths was my chief way of relaxing. In the cold Ohio (where I lived then) wintertime, they were especially nice. Even now, a hot shower will help me relax better than most things. There's something about being in water that soothes me.

    1. Yes, I agree with you..there is something about hot water on the body. It causes an instant relaxation affect. Hot showers are nice too!

  3. All of that sounds amazing.

    Too bad most New Yorkers only have room for a skinny shower and no tub! I'm gonna have to find a spa somewhere! ;P

    Loving your posts still! Hope you're having an inspiring year-- your posts always inspire me :)

    1. Nice to see you here Kate! When I lived in Korea and only had a shower, Yoon and I went out and bought a big plastic tub and made our bath tub ^_^! It worked great. Guess it depends on the size of your shower. There MUST be a Korean Spa in New York City...I'm sure of it. It something NOT to be missed, so go try it out. You won't regret it!