“This is one thing that I want to continue using until the day I die.”
Of all the things that Japan is renowned for– all of its architectural triumphs, pioneering technology, sexy shenanigans and mind-bending animation — it comes as a surprise to this writer to read that one Chinese blogger in Japan values one thing above all else. Residing in Japan for more than 15 years, this 39-year-old blogger and professor of fine arts claims that, were he to return to his homeland, he’d miss one item more than anything else, and simply can’t begin to fathom why it hasn’t caught on back home.
Forget underwater Walkman music players, forget strawberry ramen and cuddle cafes; for this man, the humble nylon wash cloth is the pinnacle of Japanese invention, and it has become an essential part of his life.
In a short essay published by Japanese news site Livedoor News, this unnamed blogger explains how he came to be so in love with a simple nylon wash cloth, how it hits all the right spots in the shower and, in no uncertain terms, how it changed his life.
“In China, people normally use cotton fabric wash cloths in the shower. But the thing is, they’re simply no good for working up a good lather since there’s hardly any friction to be found. Just like in Japan, people in China used to wash with dried sponge gourds- in fact, they’re still really popular with the older generation even today. I’ve tried using these things, but you have to be seriously careful how much pressure you apply because it can actually be quite painful, and when you’ve finished using them they just don’t dry properly. In other words, it just doesn’t fit in with our contemporary lifestyle.”
I hear you, sir! I’ve gone through numerous cloths and even a wooden-handled body brush before now, and no matter how good a job they do at getting you clean, there are few things more unpleasant in life than picking up your cloth the next time it’s time to get soapy and finding it still moist and cold from the last time you used it!
The shower specialist then goes on to discuss a Korean alternative to sponges, but asserts that these, too, are not up to the task.
“There are also a number of glove-shaped abrasive towels on the market that have come over from Korea. They’re certainly great for removing grime, but in modern society where we’re used to bathing daily, we’re simply not so dirty that we need to scrub like this, and the glove is impractical for washing your back with.
Enter the Nylon
“Japanese nylon towels are available for as little as 500 yen [US5.60] from variety shops and drug stores. They hit the spot just right. They’re available from 100 yen shops, too, but the fibres are not so tightly woven. At any rate, the 28cm x 110cm size is ideal, and it’s perfect for washing the entire body. They towels in three varieties: hard, regular and soft, so you can choose the stiffness of the towel that most suits your own body.”
▼The humble nylon towel. How long we have overlooked thee.
A chance meeting
“I first met with these towels back when I was an overseas student. I’d work out at a sports gym and I’d see all these guys in the locker room with nylon towels, so I went straight out and bought one for myself. After a workout, getting a lather up with a nylon towel and a good cooling shower gel is the best; when you’ve finished it feels like you’ve cleansed your entire body and soul.
“I take a lot of trips to China for work, but I always make a habit of carrying my nylon towel with me. If I find myself in the humid south, I make sure to pack the coarser weave; it’s much more refreshing. If I go up north, or if the weather’s particularly dry, I recommend carrying the softer variety since it’s much kinder on your skin.”
▼For those who prefer their wash cloths a little cuter, there’s always Kitty-chan
But woe betide the man who forgets his treasured wash cloth while away from home! According to our nylon fanatic, not even the pleasures of a top hotel can come close to the soothing caress of a soapy nylon friend.
“There have been times when I’ve accidentally left my towel at home while travelling. At times like these, even if it’s a five-star hotel that I’m staying in, I still go to bed unsettled and with the feeling that I can’t shake of the day’s fatigue; being without my nylon towel genuinely removes any aspect of pleasure from even the nicest hotel rooms. For me, my nylon towel is something that I simply cannot be without.
“The average life expectancy of Chinese males is 72.38 years, and I’ll son be entering my 40s. The day will probably come when I leave Japan, so if I use one nylon towel per year, I’m going to need another 33 of the things to last me the rest of my life. That said, factoring in the possibility of losing a couple along the way, it might be more prudent of me to stock up and buy 35, just in case. At any rate, I thoroughly intend to use Japanese nylon towels from now until the day I die.”
You’ll have to excuse me, dear readers, I suddenly feel so incredibly unclean. I’m running out to the drug store if anyone wants anything?
Source: Livedoor News