Finding an old fashioned wooden bathtub beside a lonely stretch of narrow farm road in the deep mountains of central Japan. The Japanese commonly clean their body outside the bathtub and then soak in the tub only after their bodies are thoroughly scrubbed and rinsed. Wooden (or more commonly plastic in modern times) pails are used during the bathing process to pour warm water over the body while cleaning. Old fashioned Japanese bath pails did sometimes include a handle and both the pails and tubs were typically made of wood from the Japanese suginoki tree which is known as Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria) in the west. Suginoki is native only to Japan and has long been a favored wood for the making of high-quality cabinetry and woodcraft. Tubs, pails and other similar bucket items are assembled without the use of adhesive and were made watertight through tight-fitting joints bound with metal bands or interwoven strips of bamboo. The wooden slats which form the body of the pail may display longitudinal or cross-cut grain patterns (called masame and itame respectively) though the itame style is most common. Wooden Japanese baths and pails are typically finished with a light layer of wax or persimmon juice.
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