If someone asked you about baths... bathing... bathtubs; called furo in Japanese, what could you say? That's not too broad a topic. What is there to bathing but getting clean?
Not according to Tetsu. I swear, he has a philosophy about bathing... a Furo Philosophy! Tetsu goes to one or the other of the Ofuro facilities near us two or three times a week. He can sing the merits of Ofuro (honorable bath) daily... Our conversation is fairly one-sided.
"Taking a long, hot Ofuro is my absolute favorite pastime. I go from the ultra-hot outdoor bath to the indoor sauna. I take a dip in the cold-water bath and then go take a nap on the heated stone slab outside. Back inside to the salt sauna or the electric bath, back outside to the murky bath or the herbal steam sauna. An Ofuro cleans you, warms you, and gives you time to ponder about life...I could spend the day at the Ofuro."
AND HE DOES!!!
Ofuro is different from onsen because it is not really naturally pumped in... And when Tetsu can't get onsen then he'll take Ofuro.
Me? I'll go to the same place and wash up, jump in and warm up in ONE of the baths and then get out, get dressed and go read a book someplace. The Ofuro places are a waste of money for me...
"Tanya, there are all sorts of things to do at the Ofuro. After the initial soak, you should keep you heart above water level." (Lessens the chance of heart attack.... Oh my goodness! We're dealing with risk here!)
"You could sit by the bath just danging your feet in... that helps improve circulation. And the napping outside on the hot stone slab is heavenly! Where else can you sleep outside in the buff?"
"Tetsu, you are crazy. That hot stone just keeps one side of you warm... the other side is being frozen! If you want to sleep outside in the buff, just go out to the back yard and tell Choco to move over..."
"And there are all sorts of exercises to do in the bath... You should try it..."
Exercises? Exercises.... Ah, I was reminded of the last time I went to the Ofuro and some lady stepped in across from me, closed her eyes, raised her arms to shoulder level letting her hands float, and then "walked" across the outdoor bath on her bottom using her glut muscles. Unfortunately with her eyes closed, her direction control was thrown off and she came right at me.... Sort of like a waterlogged Chinese zombi making an attack. I quickly manuevered out of her way so that she could continue her exercises...
Our piddling furo at home hasn't been used in years. Tetsu takes every opportunity possible to go to an outdoor Ofuro not far from us.... a quick morning shower is sufficient for me!