First up, a Japanese secret by way of New Jersey.
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We are excited to share the Acari family’s bedtime ritual. Each evening Ed and his wife, Naoko, and their two children, ages 12 and 16, follow a Japanese tradition of showering and then soaking in an ofuro, a steep bathtub purchased from Zen Bathworks in Haines, Alaska. The tub is made from a light-colored, naturally aromatic Japanese wood called hinoki. Hinoki has a lemon/ginger aroma and maintains heat for a long time. Edward told us that some people choose to add tangerines to the bath water to enhance the scent. Most ofuros are smaller but almost twice as deep as the average American bathtub so the warm water usually reaches above the bather’s shoulders. The Arcari’s ofuro is located adjacent to the shower and overlooking the garden. The bathroom floor is made of river rocks and wood planks and the combination of materials and views elicit a calming, restorative feeling. Ed explained that in Japan it’s customary to soak in the tub to symbolically rinse off the stress of the day. (Just looking at this photo of the Arcari’s bathroom helps us relax. We can only imagine how soothing actually soaking in the ofuro must be.)