Japanese Hot Spring (Onsen) Etiquette

In that well known comedy film the question is asked, ” what have the Romans done for us?” and of course a whole liturgy of answers follows.

One thing the Romans bought to the many lands they conquered was the habit of bathing daily. Being a Roman soldier based in Rome, it must have been with very mixed feelings to receive the order that you were about to march to Britain. The sense of adventure and pride at fighting for your country would have been tempered with the knowledge that the destination was a land full of savages running around covered in blue dye. Worst of all was the knowledge that those lovely hot steam baths in Rome would certainly not be available in England.

In Rome and all the larger towns and cities of Italy, there are today the remains of huge elaborate baths. A Roman bath was almost a town within a city. Romans bathed every day, usually in the afternoon when work was finished. These communal baths were highly sophisticated places. There were steam rooms, dry rooms, hot and cold baths, and throughout the whole complex there was underground heating. Every luxury you have in your modern bathroom existed in the time of the Romans. Even the flushing loo already existed in the form of continuous running water beneath a trough.

Gradually the Roman invaders set about building baths in their conquered lands just like the ones back in their homeland. They got lucky in some places like Bath in south west England where naturally 岩盤浴  hot water came up from bedrock to the surface. Later, many of the private Roman villas had their own baths and running water with underground heating like the example which can still be seen today at Chedworth in Gloucestershire.

The Romans, like the ancient Greeks before them, realised the importance of the Baths not just for the advantages of cleanliness and wellbeing, but also as a centre for meeting and learning. Some of the large baths like the two remaining ones in Rome, had libraries and refectories. These were places to meet and plan everything from business to wars and to indulge in many other leisure activities.

Whilst not suggesting that your bathroom is big enough to invite dozens of friends in to chat, eat drink and plan, do remember that some of the greatest ideas in history have come from people sitting in the bath or on the toilet! Make sure your bathroom is so comfortable that it can be a place for meditation and reflection. Perhaps like Archimedes you could have that eureka moment. The very best of bathrooms with roper rhodes and roper rhodes bathroom furniture can help you design a space as comfortable as that at any luxury villa of two thousand years ago.

The difference will simply be the sleek new styles of fittings and furniture. The heating will be easier to control, but the end result is exactly the same. This room should be a place you can totally relax and pamper yourself in. You may not be able to afford the full time bathing assistant who would scrub your back for as long as you liked at the Roman bath, but you can’t have everything.

 

Japanese Hot Spring (Onsen) Etiquette
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