You might have experienced being offered a Hot Towel. This is commonly done when you travel on an air plane. Or when you have a dinner or a lunch at a restaurant.
I always wondered about the idea behind offering a Hot Towel in such situations. Was it supposed to make you feel fresh? Or was it just to help you wipe your hands? Or was it for something else?
I have found myself happily accepting these when offered during the travel - but only when I want to stay wide awake during the flight. I usually politely refuse them when I want to catch up with sleep.
What exactly is a Hot Towel? It's a piece of cloth - virgin white in color. It's slightly moist or even a bit wet, wrung and wrapped in a roll. This is what gives it a ultra fresh look.
A set of hot towels are carefully stacked up on a tray before being offered to the customers. And the person offering the towel picks it up with a tong, when it opens up and lands up in the hands of the person taking it.
A bit of internet search reveals that Hot Towels have been a Japanese tradition. Known as the Oshibori, these have been offered in Japanese restaurants and bars - both in Japan and across the world.
Common human sense has made the offering of a cold towel in warm weather an off shoot idea of such Hot Towels. Hot towels continue to remain popular - in the winter, and sometimes in the warm weather too.
So next time you are offered one, have a thought about the Oshibori.
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