[Tagging] Swimming pools

John Willis johnw at mac.com
Thu Dec 17 22:06:02 UTC 2015

> On Dec 18, 2015, at 5:39 AM, Matthijs Melissen <info at matthijsmelissen.nl> wrote:
> And for the native English speakers: it's still not clear to me
> whether this use would be very contradictory to the regular use of
> 'water park' in English, what do you think?

Water park- for frolicking - shallow pools with slides, rubber amusements to slide down. 

Swimming pool - usually square multi-sport pools for swimming, lap swimming, and water polo.

Bath. - a place designated for the enjoyment of the water on your body - a  hot pool to soak in, a mineral or other ingredient to add some "health benefit" - or a place to go soak a freshly scrubbed body (Japanese style Onsen). 

This separation can easily be seen in many cultures. 

San Diego is covered with private and public swimming pools, and the easily mappable public pools are all *designed and primarily used* for lap swimming and swimming lessons. Small bean shaped private pools are mixed use, but usually big city owned pools are fairly single purpose. Even the summer "free swim" time for kids is to let them learn to swim in a fun place. 

Hot (and cold) places have water parks - Japan has outdoor shallow pools with rubber hippos and slides, sprayers and places to splash in the summer, and an indoor heated beach with water slides in the winter. 

A bath is designed around bathing or relaxing and enjoying the temperature or other property of the bath - a sauna, a mud spring, or possibly a jacuzzi.  

Japan has a huge bathing culture that is totally separate from swimming or play. If you go skiing, hiking, on a vacation, or just want to relax on a weekend, hundreds of thousands of people go to an onsen every day. An Onsen (subset of bath)  is like a health spa atmosphere - go in, clean yourself at a sit-down shower, then go into the main bath (which is naturally hot water) to relax. Go into the outdoor bath to relax and enjoy some scenery at a beautiful spot (if present).  Although many resorts have onsens, they are usually stand-alone facilities. There are no water slides or lap pools. No sports games. It is for the enjoyment of bathing and water. There are other facilities (sento) which is a bathing house with plain boiled water. I know in Scandinavia they have saunas and other similar natural and man-created bathing (or enjoyment of the water or its properties) too. 

These 3 things are very separate. They just happen to involve water - but the purpose and activity (and people's expectations) are vastly different. 

It would be like showing up at a water treatment plant with a surfboard. Totally unrelated.  

Perhaps in some places there is a little blue between them - but in my experience, they are very easily separated.  An indoor beach is a water park and an indoor 50m lap pool with lane markers is a swimming pool and an onsen's main bath (much smaller than the others) is a public bath. 

- former swim team /water polo player 
- current Japanese resident who goes to "public baths" - onsens throughout Japan. 
- rare visitor of water parks


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