Tattooed in Tokyo
Tokyo Travel Blog› entry 2 of 3 › view all entries
After seeing the anime movie "Spirited Away", who wouldn't want to visit a Japanese bathhouse? Honestly, can anything be better? You see a dragon river-spirit, maybe a giant baby. Or, at least, get really clean. Since I was visiting Tokyo, it was on the top of my list. When I entered one bathhouse in Saitama, I expected Zen-level relaxation and maybe some sake. What I got was a little lady tapping my naked tattoed shoulder, crossing her arms in the universal "no pass" sign, telling me to leave.
Some bathhouses, not all (it's good to call beforehand and ask), do not permit entry to people with tattoos. Various reasons are given, but my absolute favorite is the Yakuza explanation. Yakuza are the Japanese Mafia, often covered in grand tattoos of Asian design; think koi and tigers. Imagine that, keeping out an American girl because she could be Yakuza. I felt so damned bad ass. Now I just needed some sort of criminal moniker, and walking back to the train I saw my new name - Old Dirty Rice Cracker. Yeah, bad ass.
By Christine Rosakranse