Oshibori. Always supplied at Japanese restaurants.

When you go to some Japanese restaurant, they always supply “Oshibori” before your food is served. This kind of custom had rarely seen in other countries before, but now the Japanese Oshibori culture is spreading around the world.

Oshibori is a wet towel served at restaurants and so on for customers to wipe their hands. Oshibori is also called “Otefuki”. Usually oshibori is written only in Hiragana without the Chinese character which is pronounced as “shibo”.
In Japan, October 29 is determined as “Oshibori’s day” as 2 is pronounced as “fu”, 9 as “ku”, and “fuku” means “to wipe” in Japanese. And as a whole it means tne day to wipe 10 (October) fingers.
The history of oshibori is said to date from the period written in “THE KOJIKI” or “The Tale of Genji”. The origin of oshibori is the wet cloth that court nobles served to their guests welcoming at home. In the Edo period, the cotton towel spreaded in Japan and the water in a bucket and a towel were started to be prepared at the entrance of the inn for travelers.

The guests put the towel into the bucket, took it out, squeezed it, and wiped their hands and feet. That action of “squeezing” which means “shiboru” in Japanese is the origin of oshibori.

After the war, as the number of restaurants gradually increased in Japan, the oshibori custom that was about to disappear in the mess of war, started spreading by degrees. At that time the owners made oshibori by washing and rolling up them at their own restaurants, but with the number of customers increased, the handwork became not to be able to make it, so “lending Oshibori” business was born.
At first the oshibori lender used their homemade washing machines and rolled them up one by one by their hands and sold them to the restaurants and so forth. But later with the food service industry has developed more, the oshibori lender started to prepare the mass production sysrem and lending oshibori (rental oshibori) business was established as a category of good business.

Recently some restaurants supply aromatized oshibori to make customers relaxed.
And at the barber’s when shaving and so on, a steamed towel is used to wet client’s beard and skin to shave smoothly. It is a kind of oshibori, too.

These are amazing hot towels! ↓↓

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