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Visiting a Japanese Bath

Instructions: Click the "Play" button and listen to the recording. This conversation deals with very traditional public baths, but these places have changed considerably over the years depending on location.

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Nate: Hey Phil: Have you ever been to a Japanese public bath? I hear it's (1) an experience.

Phil: Yes, and what an experience.

Nate: What do you mean?

Phil: Well, it's nothing like (2) a swimming pool in the States.

Nate: Well, what do you do when you go to a public bath?

Phil: First, you have to take off your shoes before you (3).

Nate: Okay.

Phil: Then, you pay an entrance fee to the man or woman at the front (4). [Um-huh]. Next, you get undressed in the dressing room. And I was very surprised . . . and a little (5) to see that the woman who took my money was sitting on a platform where she had a clear view of the men's side of the dressing room. Really? This allows the workers to keep an eye on the patrons' (6) while they are in the bath.

Nate: Wow. And do you wear a bathing suit or something?

Phil: Oh no! You don't wear anything. Then you go into the main bathing area and wash your body while sitting on a small (7) about 40 centimeters high.

Nate: On a stool!

Phil: Yeah. It was really hard getting used to bathing in that (8). Sometimes, even, people wash each other's backs.

Nate: Oh really. So, what do you do after that?

Phil: Well, after you've (9) off all the soap off, they usually have two or three large baths where you can soak for a while.

Nate: Do you actually share the bath with other people?

Phil: Yeah. Traditionally, the bath played an important (10) in the community. It gave neighbors an opportunity to socialize while bathing.

Nate: Huh. Interesting.

Phil: When you're all done bathing, people relax in the dressing room by watching TV, drinking tea or juice, or talking to friends. It's quite an experience.

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