If you love Japanese hot springs, onsens, or are curious about Japan, this blog is a cultural guide for you: steamy photographs (no porn), hot explanations rippling with the bare truth about Japanese hot springs, as well as unbiased reviews. Step into the blog, and wet your toes, your whole body, your mind, your soul, and your computer as you enjoy relaxing photographs and healing stories.
Friday, May 25, 2012
What is a Goemonburo, 五右衛門風呂 (Cauldron Bath)?
One way to gain a comprehensive understanding of Japanese culture is
through studying hot springs and the nomenclature of hot springs and
baths. Moreover, displaying a deep knowledge of Japanese bathing history and customs will impress your friends and any strangers in the hot spring.
Ishikawa, Goemon Was Boiled to Death in a Hot Cauldron.
Try Not to Have a Similar Bathing Experience!
Depending upon who tells the story of the legendary Ishikawa Goemon, he was either a Robin Hoodlike thief or a ruthless common criminal. Kabuki plays, Japanese animated cartoons, books, movies have been based on his life and legends. Apparently, he was a real person who was caught and executed by being boiled alive in a cauldron. One legend goes that his son was killed along with him. Another story of his demise is that he managed to hold his condemned son above his head and that the boy was pardoned just before Goemon died.
Luckily for us, we can enjoy goemonburus, baths shaped like cauldrons, in many locations without being boiled alive. These small baths are usually made of ceramic ware or metal. To see how ceramic goemonburus are made by hand in Japan, click this link.
My Japanese relatives purchased a large stainless steel barrel and made their own goemonburu. We roasted chestnuts around a fire of branches we had collected from the ground around their hut in the mountains of Nagano. After that, we used the fire to heat the bath water. The goemonburu was placed under crystal stars. The sky glittered above the dark silhouettes of straight dark cedar trees. Since goemonburus are usually only large enough for one person, we took turns heating up before retiring into the cold hut. It was a very simple but memorable bathing experience.