Japanese Bathing

In Looking Like the Enemy, the author reminisces on the ritual bath.

"Bathing was a nightly ritual at our home on Vashon and it was done leisurely and with such pleasure, similar to how they bathed in Japan. Every evening after the dishes were washed, the paper read, and the kitchen tidied up, my folks would take a bath together. Mama-san would get the hot water running in the bathtub. Papa-san would undress in the living room beside the stove. Carrying his yukata, a cotton kimono, he would walk naked through the kitchen to the bathroom and step into the tub. Mama-san would undress in their bedroom next to the bathroom and join him.

"Each of them would slowly sink into the hot water, sit, look at each other, and relax with deep sighs while they adjusted to the heat. The air was always warm and moist, the light dim, and the atmosphere peaceful. Eventually they would bathe themselves as they talked over the events of the day, and end by washing each other's backs.

"It was in this setting that I could occasionally spend some special time with my parents. There was a naturalness to Japanese bathing that made it okay for me to talk with them while they bathed and soaked. I often sat on the toilet seat cover and asked all kinds of questions."