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Sunday, Oct. 8, 2006

READERS IN COUNCIL

Resisting unnecessary restrictions


By BRADLEY TEMPERLEY
Canberra

Regarding Roger Pulvers' Oct. 1 Counterpoint article, "Age-old 'naked friendships' lay bare new bathhouse concerns": What the West calls "deep-scrub exfoliation" the Japanese know as "washing." Thank you for a great story. How fortunate that common sense continues to resist unnecessary restrictions. I've just returned from visiting my in-laws in Hyogo Prefecture. Though it was still very warm, I probably spent more time at the public bathhouse (sento) than on winter visits. Sitting in a rotenburo in a heavy summer rainstorm is quite an experience!

I accompanied my 4-year-old nephew at several onsen and sento. His mother and my wife wanted to relax unhindered on the other side. Despite being a 195-cm gaijin, I felt like any other customer. The fact that I was with a Japanese boy was neither here nor there. (All of that happened before the prefecture's ban on children aged 6 and over from "mixed bathing," which I hope has made no difference at all.) A more apt Hayao Miyazaki example was when Disney wanted to delete the bath scene in "My Neighbor Tottoro" before its U.S. release. Perhaps it was for more than artistic purity that made Miyazaki stand firm.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer's own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.


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