Thursday, February 24, 2011

Will Miss #291 - massage culture

All humans have the same basic needs, and one of the more fascinating aspects of learning about other cultures is seeing how they adapt to meet common needs when their culture, by and large, does not practice the same type of expression that is common in one's own culture. The need to be touched is shared by all humans and many animals, but physical affection, particularly hugging and cuddling is not a common part of Japanese culture. This is especially so among most adults. It is my opinion that the plethora of massage places that will provide anything from a 10-minute quickie to a 90-minute luxury rubdown is related to the need to have physical contact in a culture that doesn't offer much in the way of casual touch. I also like the fact that massage is seen as a common experience which anyone can afford and partake in rather than something that only the rich, injured, or oddball indulge in.

I'll miss the pervasive massage culture, and what it says about Japanese culture and how it has evolved to meet a need.