Saturday, August 2, 2008

How to clean yourself in Japan...

Thought I'd post a photo of my Japanese-style bathroom so you can see how I keep myself clean.

I'm used to simple cold bucket baths in Kenya - so this was a bit more involved than I'm used to... so bear with me.

To start off with - the main purpose of taking a bath in Japan is not just to get clean - but its also a time for relaxation. The toilet is in a separate room in the house and the sink is normally right outside the bathing room (which is where you also change before going in)

Before you go into the tub to soak and relax you're supposed to use the shower head to scrub yourself clean. No soap or dirty bodies or towels are allowed in the tub. This way other family members can reuse the same tub water and it will keep clean for a few days. (still a big EWWW for me - sorry dad but I wouldn't want to soak in your water!)

Now... you might think that in order to get hot water you simply turn the red "H" dial and walah! theres water. not so fast. Let me try to explain how to work this thing (just in case there are some new JETs reading this!)

Soooo... this big black thing is my gas heater. From what I hear, magic men come and fill up my gas tank outside when I'm not looking... (then send me a not so magical gas bill)

By the shower head there are 2 white dials. The one on the right you turn to light (like a stove) and then you have to crank the white handle below it to get the flame going. (you have to peek inside a small window on the heater at a bizarre angle in order to see the blue flame) Once it's lit then you pump the dial once or twice then turn it to on. (by the way it's all in Japanese kanji - so luckily my predecessor showed me the ropes on how to use it!) Then you can use the left dial to control the amount of heat the shower head produces.

We're not done yet... Theres another funky switch (the black one) to turn on the water flow and yet another one to switch it from the shower head to the bathtub faucet. annnd I think another one to heat the actual tub itself. Geez. You would think that Japan being one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world they could make a taking a darn shower a bit easier.

I haven't ventured into the land of my deep hot tub yet. Thought I'd master my shower first before I go into another land of the unknown. I'll keep ya posted though!


JOANNA said...

That is nuts. So no more quick showers huh? Wait, so where do you rinse off with the shower head if you have to keep the tub clean???

Callie Sorensen said...

you stand on the side which is this raised wooden platform - the water and soap drains beneath. hahah...

John Nguyen said...

Ahh that sucks! I have two taps, a red one that I turn for hot water and a blue one for cold water. :D I guess I lucked out.

Callie Sorensen said...

lucky you john! :)