General Listening Quiz

“Japanese Public Bath”

Level: Topic: Speakers: Length:
intermediate bathhouse man – man 01:38

Pre-Listening Exercise

Name two customs or traditions visitors to your country may have difficulty adjusting to. As part of this discussion, talk about any points that visitors should be aware of when staying as a guest at a home in your country.


take a bath” = lose money
His family business took a real bath when the giant superstore moved into town.”

doesn’t/won’t wash” = used to say that you don’t believe someone’s explanation or attitude about something
Your excuse that your dog ate your homework won’t wash with the teacher.”

Listening Exercise

A. Listen to the recording and answer the questions. The story describes the very old-style baths that are often not seen today.

What is the first thing you do when visiting a Japanese public bath?

Phil: First, you take off your shoes before you enter.

What surprised Phil when he went to the bath?

Next, you get undressed in the dressing room. And I was very surprised . . . and a little embarrassed 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.

What do you wear when bathing?

Nate: Wow. And do you wear a bathing suit or something? Phil: Oh no! You don't wear anything.

Traditionally, the bath was a place where people could ____.

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

What do people sometimes do after their bath?

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.

Vocabulary Practice

Do the vocabulary quizzes with the words from the conversation for more practice:

Post-Listening Exercise

Discuss the topics below with a partner:

  • three aspects of your culture that may require foreigners to get used to
  • an experience in visiting a foreign country where you had difficulty with the language or culture.

Online Investigation

Use the Internet to learn about a unique cultural tradition of one of these countries, or a country that interests you:

  • Cheese chasing in England
  • The water festival in Thailand
  • Wife-carrying tournament in Finland
  • Groundhog Day in the United States
  • Throwing baby teeth on the roof in some countries
  • La Tomatina in Spain
  • The Haka in New Zealand