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Fun Shit Friday: Liberating Naked Junk Scrub at the Jimjilbang



Dan Entwistle

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Shanghai City

As a Brit who grew up surrounded by geeky, non-sporty guys, the very thought of stripping down and bathing with a bunch of naked dudes in a public space was enough to send me running back to the comforting glow of my desktop monitor. That all changed the day Russia invaded Crimea.

Around that time in 2014, a Ukrainian friend invited me down to a Korean spa (jimjilbang) to vent about how insane Russia was being and how Putin was the biggest asshole since sliced bread. Anyway, as we walked into the changing room he kept talking before stripping down in a Bruce Almighty fashion and continuing to chat with me while his member swung freely in the breeze.

Not wanting to reveal how uncomfortable nakedness made me I gritted my teeth, fumbled around with the buttons on my jeans like a teenage boy with his first bra strap and finally managed to disrobe.

What followed was a glorious two-hours of sitting around and talking shit while our testicles slowly descended in the heat of the sauna.

Anyway, the point of this long intro is to help ease even the most prudish reader into getting naked and enjoying this week’s recommendation – a full body scrub at New Star Spa.

Found in the wet part of the spa, the New Star scrub is unlike any other treatment you’ve had. While most body scrubs here use “luxurious ground coffee beans from the Peruvian rainforest” (or some pretentious twaddle like that) New Star keeps it simple with a half-naked old dude, a coarse washcloth and a bag of industrial salt.

After you lie down on a waterproof bed clearly designed for the elderly and incontinent your “masseuse” will throw a bucket of warm water over you before going to work with his salt and washcloth. For the next 10 minutes you’ll be taken on an emotional rollercoaster of shock, pain, hatred, forgiveness and the occasional “oh my god he's cupping my testicles.”

Seriously, the guys working at New Star work more efficiently and thoroughly than any other spa treatment I’ve had in the city. It’s incredible. Sure it occasionally hurts but once you’re finished you’ll have the skin of a new-born and a healthy respect for the strength of elderly Chinese guys. If you're a lady, don't worry, you'll be scrubbed down in the female area by an elderly Chinese woman.

After you’ve experienced your rebirth, head down to the sauna, let your open pores sweat, then shower, bathe, check out the spa’s more relaxing dry area and grab a cab down to Shanghai’s Korea Town to continue the party.

Find it: Various locations but we prefer this one: 1900 Tianshan Lu, near Yan'an Xi Lu (天山路1900号, 近延安西路)

Related: 7 Awesome Things to do in Shanghai's Koreatown

Related: SHEX Visits The North Korean Border

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