Massage Therapy is on Every Corner

July 29, 2008 at 1:32 pm 1 comment

Ever thought of hiring a personal masseuse?

Well, unless you’re loaded, you probably can’t afford one. So what’s the next best thing? How about a massage shop on every corner?

Okay, maybe not be as abundant as Starbucks, but shops catering to soothing the knots of a stressful work day are only steps away; in a department store or along a busy shopping arcade, even at the airport. No need to reserve, all you do is walk in and within minutes you’ll be kneaded like putty.

Hour-long sessions are about 6,000 yen, which comes out to 95 cents a minute. Not exactly chump change, but still affordable. Back in the day when my Tokyo dorm rent was only $100 monthly (I miss being a student), I’d treat myself to a massage nearly every week. Especially when winter came around, I’d mentally write off massages as a necessary expense for my health. Regular visits boost circulation and keep you warm.

Massage shops fit a particular category called iyashi-kei — that which heals the body and mind. Certain music can be considered iyashi-kei if it rejuvenates you, as can certain food if it comforts you. Even certain celebrities are iyashi-kei if, just with a glance at their image, can turn angry men into teddy bears. Like I’ve mentioned before, Japan is a high-stress society, so people will pay top yen to take a load off.

Next time you visit Japan, stop by a massage shop. It’s a whole new experience, far better than what you can get in the U.S. You’ll experience customer service at its best and you don’t even have to leave tip! (^D^)/


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