A Travellerspoint blog

Random thoughts...

Seriously, it's just a coincedence they're mostly body-function related.

I decided we needed a place to put all the little daily things that happen to us, our random thoughts on Japan and pictures that don't really have a home anywhere else.

Crazy picture of the week:

Auto Toilet 1.jpg Auto Toilet 2.jpg Auto Toilet 3.jpg

We found this on our first trip to Kyoto. My favorite parts in the instructions are #4, the toilet will chime when there is one minute left and when your time is up the doors will open automatically. And #5. When you wish to leave (do many people hang out in the auto toilet?) press the door open button. Anyways, it is quite the contraption. They are funny instructions.

I think I have to comment bathrooms here. The toilet situation in Japan is very polar. On one end you have the Auto Toilet and the other end you have the squat toilet. It is very strange to see these too extremes.

Which takes me back to one of our first days in Japan. We were at the train station in Umeda and I had to go to the bathroom. It was quite the experience. I walked in and saw the first stall, a squat toilet. So, I moved on to the next one. Which was a normal toilet, but with some crazy seat. So I sat down and was treated to a very pleasant warming sensation. There is nothing quite like going to the bathroom and getting warmed up along the way. Then I discovered the buttons on the side of the toilet. Man, that was interesting. There was one that released a spray to cover any smells, there was one that provided a faux-flush (no water, just the sound) to cover any unfortunate noises. Then I found the spray button. Courtney got a kick out of the smirk that was on my face when I left the bathroom. This is something you have to experience to understand.

Again, a bathroom related story. (I'll try in the future to limit the toilet humour) We were wandering around, Shinsibashi which is a large shopping area in downtown Osaka. In Japan they have a lot of shopping arcades. Basically they are covered streets, with no cars and stores lining each side of the street. None of these stores are merched properly; no one has enough space to display anything and some of them probably have been in the same family for generations. So we were wandering around one day taking in the sights and the next thing I know, Court's poking me in the arm. When I turn around, she was covering her face and she managed to squeak out, "Is that guy peeing?" I heard a noise like someone was running water and the problem was I didn't register what she asked and I turned too quickly. And I saw EVERYTHING. He was definitely taking a leak. The thing was he wasn't tucked into a corner of an alley: he was standing on the sidewalk peeing into the street. Yes, that was one of the first days in Japan.

There is one system here that I think is brilliant. (There are a couple more that I really like. I just don't remember them right now)
Your feet aren't measured in arbitrary sizes, they are measured in centimetres. So no more, "I think I'm an 8.5. Oh wait, these are Nikes, then I'm a 10." Nope. You walk in and say I am a 25.5 and you get a pair of shoes that fit.

One last random story. To put it in perspective, since I've been here I'm down at least a belt notch (Courtney's down at least 2; eating rice + no car = weight loss). Before I started teaching my adult classes I decided it would be best if I had a suit. I didn't bring one with me, so I dragged Courtney on the expedition to find me a suit. I figured I would have to get one tailor made, but I wanted to look around first. So we went into one store and the suits were reasonably priced. I flagged down a clerk to help me out, which was interesting because he didn't speak English and I don't speak Japanese. So with his help and through a lot of gestures and pointing I started trying on suits. I found one that was nice and fit, the disgusting thing is I had to get a XXL. Yes, I am a XXL in Japan.

Those are my random thoughts for now. We'll post more as they come along.

Posted by agc_cwm 04:37 Archived in Japan

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