“Don’t get arrested”

"Don't get arrested"

“Don’t get arrested”. So the husband warned me when I told him I was going to the sentou (銭湯) to relax and help me get to bed soon for an early morning job call with the U.S. tomorrow.

Don’t get arrested” is a a delightful over-statement and also conveys that perhaps I am uniquely capable of being imprisoned for my moe (萌え) interests.

Without a doubt the husband uses the phrase to echo my mother’s inappropriately saying the same unpleasant phrase (for instance, when hearing that I had to hand out $20 bills to interview skateboarders for a large corporate web design project).

Anyway, I visited the sento in old Nishi-Shinjiku which my gaijin (外人)friend M. showed me last week. While there are plenty of places in Japan for single-sex nudity, it is one of the few that allow tattoos. The first time M. and I went together there were no tattoos, but large numbers of attractive young men bathing at 1 am before closing. Tonight I went earlier, and was delighted to see four handsome sleeves and one full back piece.

Here’s a web image of a sentou. The only one I could find with partial nudity.

"Don't get arrested"

And here’s the dangers that perhaps the hubb imagined. (I was imagining something more along being abducted as a yakuza bride).

"Don't get arrested"


  1. A sentou is a neighborhood bath, once very popular but less used now that more people have bathtubs at home. In Tokyo most were built in the 1960s and 1970s, and most residential neighborhoods like Nakano have many sentous.

    An onsen is generally larger, more up-scale and has some claim to natural spring water. There are a few in Tokyo, and famous ones in Hakone. The ‘destination’ sentous also have restaurants.

    In both cases, they are segregated by sex, and involve total nudity save for a semi-transparent washcloth used for scrubbing and minimal modesty. It’s good clean fun.

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