(modified from a post originally sent to several mailing lists including DFS, ISSHO, and UFJ)

Date: Wed, 22 Sep 1999 11:10:26 +0900
From: Dave Aldwinckle <davald@do-johodai.ac.jp>
Subject: Otaru Onsen Follow-Up 9/22/99 (Aldwinckle)

Hello Everyone. Some important follow-up:


I noted in my Monday report that according to the manager at Yuunohana Onsen, the Otaru Sentou Association (Otaru Sentou Kumiai or Kyoukai, if memory serves) has a formal policy banning foreigners from all sentou in Otaru. That is what he said. However, after dialing 104, I could find
neither moniker in the phone book. So, before we get chaff in the facts, let's keep the record straight.

This morning I made a few confirming phone calls to:

1) THE HOKKAIDO ONSEN ASSOCIATION (Hokkaidou Onsen Kyoukai) at (011) 271-0074

who denied that they had any specific anti-foreigner policy (or knew of any), then referred me to:

2) THE HOKKAIDO UNION GUILD FOR SANITARY ENVIRONMENTS IN PUBLIC BATHS (Hokkaidou Koushuu Yokujou Kankyou Eisei Dougyou Kumiai) at (011) 611-9341

which handles Sentou in particular. The baachan there (after a really nice chat) said she knew nothing of any formal policy in the organization. She then referred me to:

3) THE OTARU BRANCH OF #2 ABOVE (Hokkaidou Koushuu Yokujou Kankyou Eisei Dougyou Kumiai Otaru Shibu) at (0134) 22-9045. The ojisan there was very clear that there was in fact no formal policy, despite what Yuunohana said, which bans foreigners in all Otaru sentou. The places that do are not members of this Union, he said, and they charge different prices and have different rules.

I then called our reporter to confirm, and he told me that he had taken this confirming phone trail himself yesterday. However, he knows of Sentou that do and don't ban foreigners, just like onsen that do and don't ban foreigners.

The point is that at the institutional level, officially there is no ban on foreigners. However, there is quietly no ban against banning, either. This is probably what you thought all along, but let the record show that this has been confirmed. The phone numbers are above should you wish to confirm or share views with them yourself.

One more point. When talking to these people (they were very friendly, helpful, and engaging--they all knew me from the newspaper article ("I'm the one without the beard")). They were also very adamant about explaining their position to me as to why bad manners beget banning. So I made sure to make my points about "consequent abuses through this rule" back to them, and asked them to work with us in trying to find a more equitable solution to this problem. They seemed receptive and acknowledged the flaws in the ban.

Dave Aldwinckle

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