Local Sento, 11PM

Sometimes, I beat the heat of an Osaka summer evening by ducking out round the back of this large apartment complex and going for a soak at the local public bath (洗湯 sento). Every neighbourhood used to have one (private bathrooms were for the rich), and Nagai-Higashi, before it got swamped with housing developments (yes, like the one I live in), was no exception. A bit of the old neighbourhood still remains, and patrons (many elderly, but certainly not all) still use the sento, although I can’t imagine anybody having to any more. It must be just a personal preference. The place can’t possibly make much money, because the vast majority of apartment dwellers would never go near the place. I can imagine the downside of having to use a sento (trudging there and back in the winter or rainy season couldn’t have been much fun), and I still need a shower to wake up in the morning, but on a night like this, after soaking in three different tubs and taking a sauna (all for the price of a tall Starbucks Latte) nothing makes you feel more refreshed, or so relaxes the stiff shoulders.
And so to bed.

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