To Regulars, "Be Nice to Public Bathhouse First-Timers"Manager's Thoughts Shared on Sign
A photo of a sign titled "Dear Loyal Customers" has become a hot topic on Twitter. It was uploaded by "Kyoto-tamanoyu," a long-established public bathhouse in Kyoto. The sign requests that patrons not speak harshly to nor rebuke first-time or young customers who do not have good manners, but rather give them kind advice. It has been retweeted more than 40,000 times. Many people posted sympathetic comments such as, "I don't like regulars' watchful eyes," or "How advice is given may also be a part of good manners." We ask Hideo Nishide, the bathhouse manager, what thoughts he wanted to express through the message.
"Tamanoyu" is located at Gokomachi Nishi-iru, Oshikoji-dori, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto. The sign was posted on May 11. Nishide began explaining his intentions in the lines, saying, "I wrote what I had been always thinking about."
Thanks to its long history, "Tamanoyu" has many local, long-term customers that have been using it for many years. Even after it became commonplace for every house to have a bath, many of them still visit "Tamanoyu" daily.
"They probably come more to enjoy conversation with other patrons, than to clean their bodies. They seem to feel at home," said Nishide.
That's not a bad thing in itself, but sometimes when new customers come, some patrons become somewhat nervous about their behavior. In particular, young people with little experience of public bathhouses sometimes do not have the manners that regular customers take for granted. For example, some do not pour enough water over their bodies to quickly cleanse it before they soak in the tub. Others leave their own washbasins in front of the tap while they spent a long time in the tub. Some women enter the tub without putting up their long hair so it soaks in the water. When they see such behavior, patrons often cannot help reproaching or warning them with harsh words. Sometimes new-comers get upset and leave immediately.
"This is a common problem for many public bath managers. If young people do not feel comfortable at bathhouses, we won't gain new regular customers," said Nishide, revealing that posting the sign was a really tough decision. He further said, "I don't think a telling-off works to teach morals or manners. If we say something kindly, it's easier for others to listen, and they will be careful not to repeat the same error." He hopes that the regulars will treat first-timers with gentle patience.