By Billy Hammond (Copyright AELS)

If you’re part of the younger generation, you might be surprised to hear that there were authentic Japanese furo baths in Hawaii in use up until around the early 1980s.

 

When I was growing up, most of the older homes had a wood-heated furo, which would be called a “Goemonburo” in Japan. One of the after-school chores my sister and I faced was to wrap the wood piled up in the coffee orchard in burlap coffee bags and to carry it home for furo kindling.

 

The furo at my grandparents place was located in a separate building enclosed with corrugated roof iron. The furo itself was a redwood rectangle with a copper bottom floor surrounded by concrete, which formed the fire chamber under it and supported the furo (hint: think of a wooden open-top box with a copper bottom). The fire pit under the copper bottom was probably about 24 – 36″ high and slightly less than the width of the furo above it.

 

A slatted board was placed inside the furo and the user would submerge the board when he or she entered the furo. It served as a spacer between the hot copper bottom below and kept you from getting burned.

 

A supply of coffee wood and guava kindling was kept in a shed connected to the furo bath building. In the old days, the women would put the tissues used to wipe their urine in a trash basket and we would use the tissue paper for fire starting. We would also use newspapers and other things like old Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs to get the fire going. My grandfather also kept an 1-sho size sake bottle filled with kerosene and stoppered with a cork that had been shaved to allow the kerosene to be shaken out and applied to the fire.

 

In the early days of my childhood, the men in the family were allowed to take a bath first and the women took a bath later. My grandfather, being the senior male was always the first and I used to take a bath with him. He liked hot baths, so I naturally developed a liking for the same.

 

Just as in the case with the furo in Japan, there was a wash basin (called a senmenki) that you filled with water from the furo to wash yourself with and rinse afterwards. After washing and rinsing on the concrete floor surrounding the furo, you would ease in slowly (or quickly if the water still wasn’t very hot). The temperature of the bath water was adjusted by adding cold water.

 

The furo fire at our place was tended by my grandfather while he was alive and after covering the furo with its wooden cover after bathing, he would add kindling to keep it hot for the next user.

 

The furo fire itself served other purposes as well and I remember my sister and I throwing in ulu (breadfruit) and sweet potatoes to cook from time to time.

 

ハワイ島に五右衛門風呂?!

 

ハワイの若い世代のひとは1980年代の前半まで日本式風呂があったと聞けば驚くだろう。

 

私の若い頃には殆どの農家に五右衛門風呂があった。妹と私の学校帰りの仕事はコーヒー農園のあちらこちらに積み上げたコーヒーの薪をコーヒー用の麻袋に包んで運んで帰ることだった。

 

祖父母宅のお風呂場は家から少し離れたトタン建物であった。五右衛門風呂本体はアメリカスギ囲い構造で下は銅シート。箱型の風呂桶はコンクリートの火室上に設置されていた。火室はおそらく61-91cmくらいの高さ。幅は上に設置された風呂桶よりも少し狭く。風呂桶の中には底板があった。

 

コーヒーやグアバ薪は隣のトタン屋根の小屋に保管されていた。幼い頃、家族の女性は尿拭きのトイレット・ペーパーを籠に入れ、火起こし用に燃やした。場合によって新聞紙やシアーズやモントゴメリ・ウォードの通販カタログも使った。風呂焚き担当であったお爺さんは灯油の入った酒の1升瓶も置いていた。瓶のコルク栓は削られており、灯油を薪に掛けるように工夫してあった。

 

お爺さんがまだ生きていた頃、日本の古い習慣も生きていたのでお爺さんは1番風呂だった。孫の私は一緒に入ったので自分もついでに一番風呂も頂いた。お爺さんは熱風呂が好きだったので私も自然に熱い風呂を好むようになった。

 

日本と同じく、入る前に洗面器で湯を掬って出し、身体を洗って流す。上がると木製カバーをかぶせる。

 

お風呂の燃えさしは他の目的にも利用した。妹とよくウル(パンの実)やサツマイモを焼いた覚えもある。

By Billy Hammond (Copyright A.E.L.S)

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Books published by AELS (AELS出版書籍)

魔女学院&光塾:魔女ガールズの冒険

原作&翻訳:ビレー ハモンド

日本語編集:伊庭野れい子

Majoh Gakuin & Hikari Juku – Japanese Witch Schools – English Edition (魔女学院&光塾(英語)

By Billy Hammond

迷える魔女の戦い (魔女学院&光塾シリーズ第2)

原作&翻訳:ビレー ハモンド

日本語編集:伊庭野れい子

Lost Witch (Majoh Gakuin & Hikari Juku Series Book 2) – English Edition (迷える魔女: 魔女学院&光塾第2弾:英語版)

By Billy Hammond

幸せを運ぶ魔法のチャレンジ 魔女学院&光塾シリーズの第3(Fate & Magic Jp)

原作&翻訳:ビレー ハモンド

日本語編集:伊庭野れい子

“Fate & Magic” Majoh Gakuin & Hikari Juku Series – Japanese Witch Schools Book 3 – English Edition (幸せを運ぶ魔法のチャレンジの英語版)

By Billy Hammond

Regressed 「過去に生きて・・・」

原作&翻訳:ビレー ハモンド

日本語編集:伊庭野れい子

Regressed – English Edition

By Billy Hammond

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