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Before coming to this school, I didn’t know what the bathing/showering situation would be like. Now, I’m not a personally conservative person. Nudity doesn’t really bother me. I’ve been to nude beaches and lakes before, so even after I found out that everyone showers and baths together, I didn’t think it’d be a problem for me at all. Little did I know my cultural background had subconsciously affected me. I’m not a shy person but cleaning… all of me in front of other people is more daunting than I would have thought. I think partly my problem is I had a lot of questions and I hadn’t gotten close enough to anyone yet to ask them. The bathroom (literally a bathroom, not like in the US) looks something like this. Now, this isn’t a photo of mine since I figured it’d be rude to photograph the bathroom without permission but this will give you an idea. Normally, I would only use my own pictures, this is an exception.
Everyone sits on stools and showers themselves. I’m sure for Japanese people this is normal, but coming from a culture where everything is hypersexualized and showering was something done in private, it feels super weird cleaning my junk in a room full of people. I also didn’t (and still don’t really) know what the proper procedure for that sort thing is here, but that’s the only option for getting clean so I’m figuring it’s normal here. I think this realization that I even have these reservations is very eye opening. I can see now I will probably learn more about myself on this trip than I have in my previous 20 years of life. I’m sure most American’s would have these same feelings when faced with this type of situation but really, psychologically speaking, this is probably way healthier and despite my shyness, I never knew I had, there are a lot of things I like about this bathing situation.
Firstly, the huge bath is amazing. It’s like being able to get in a clean hot tub without all the chemicals every day and it is normal. It helps you feel more relaxed and your muscles loosen up. It completely worth it. In addition, it becomes social time. While this is weird at first, it’s kinda nice. You can chat while bathing or while lathering up. I’ve actually met a couple friends through showering and bathing together. Some days are definitely more social than others, so you kinda have to read the room. And Of course, I miss having the shower as a place to escape to for some down time and privacy but honestly, it’s an easy trade for the ability to both practices my language and to get to meet new people. It also becomes a nice girl time, a kind of bonding experience. Plus, I believe it’s helping me with body positivity. The girls don’t look at me any differently, despite how different my body is from theirs. The atmosphere is very respectful. Plus, you get a more realistic image of human bodies. And really, unless you engaged in conversation with someone, no one’s going to be looking at you anyway, so that privacy is still somewhat there.
Regardless, I have every intention of shedding my American habits. I want to be able to shower comfortably with the rest of the girls and not even think about it. I think it will happen sooner than I expect. Actually, I’m going to go take a shower after I’m done writing this. But, I want to hear from you guys, what do you guys think? How would you feel about this situation? And, actually, I already have readers from all over the world. I would love to hear about your points of view. How does your culture see nudity and bathing? How do you think you’d fare in this situation? I would love to hear, so please leave a comment. In addition, I could probably go more in-depth on this topic so if you have questions or want me to talk further on this topic, let me know, especially for those planning to come study abroad.
Time to go get clean. Goodnight.