Bathtub lament

I love baths.

Even before I went to Japan for the first time in 2001, I loved soaking in a tub, surrounded by hot, soothing water. My bathtub growing up wasn’t the most comfortable, but it had a slanted end I could lean against. In Japan, of course, I enjoyed huge tubs that covered me completely to the neck; in some cases I could even dunk my head, though I’m not sure you’re supposed to do that. Since tasting the joys of true, full-body bathing, I’ve dreamed of recreating the experience in my own home, wished that somehow it could happen.

On TV or in movies we often see women pampering themselves in huge claw-foot tubs, no matter if they live in mansions or dinky little apartments. In reality, even nice apartments like the ones I’ve been living in for the past nine years come with standard-issue low tubs, barely high enough to surround a smaller person with water. Larger people find up to half their body out of the warmth at any given time. These tubs are also often lacking a comfortable side to lean against. In these tubs, bathing is a cramped, cold, unsatisfying experience, hardly relaxing.

regular bathtub

Honestly, I’d prefer a sit tub to this–a round or square tub tall enough to sit in and be totally immersed. I don’t mind curling up a little if it means I can get all the way underwater. That would save space, too, and eliminate the need for an angled side to lean on.

Alas, I don’t have one of those, or a huge claw-foot tub, or anything. And so when I want a nice relaxing bath, all I can do is sigh, deal with my discomfort, and try to amuse myself looking at things like this and this and this and this.


  1. Did you ever visit any public bath houses in Japan? I went to one a couple times in Okinawa. I’ve found some Korean ones that are similar recently. Of course, it’s not really like drawing your own bath – more like a hot tub – but it’s an enjoyable experience to me.

    1. Yes! I went to several, and I loved them. I’ve thought about whether or not something similar can be found here in the States, and wondered about Korean spas, but ultimately I’ve been too chicken to investigate. There’s a whole stigma about nudity and a sexual shame thing that might make people assume you go to that type of place for illicit purposes. (Though maybe I’m being uncharitable.)

      1. While I am sure bath houses of the seedy variety do exist, the Korean Spas I have been to have all been very family oriented with nothing seedy looking going on. Here is a link:

        The bath/steam room area is separated into men/women, but the sauna area is coed. There is also a movie viewing room, meditation room, etc. A lot of people apparently spend the whole night at them!

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