Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Amachan Dreams in Japan, Pt. III

One aspect of Amachan's trip I've been particularly keen on to share is the topic of cleanliness. Yes, you read that correctly, cleanliness. It's rather fascinating, just wait. It's as if I'm wanting to see some fantastic amusement park, but I am so curious to see for myself that Japan has very little litter. What? They actually care about picking up after themselves? Ahh, how refreshing.

 Do you know of any cities this clean? This is Tokyo.

Perhaps it's common knowledge that Japanese folk are particularly keen on avoiding germs whenever possible. A simple example is the masks they wear when they're feeling under the weather and needing to venture out into town. I think it's rather thoughtful actually, don't you?
But let's focus instead on the household. Perhaps a smart idea is the fact that they keep their shower and bathtub completely separate from the toilet. Take a look. 

This is quite clean and--modern? 

It's common to have the accordion covering over the bath to keep the water warm. You can view HERE a different view of a Japanese bathroom.

The toilet is really in a "room" the size of a closet. Often connected to it is a room for the sink and clothes washer. Open another connecting door and BAM, feel free to shower, then soak in the tub. It can be quite the process to make yourself fresh as a daisy.

1) Rinse yourself by dipping the cup into warm water,  to rinse off the initial dirt. DO NOT get in the tub to do this. Ah yes, with their cool technology, they're able to keep the bath water warm.
2) Once rinsed off, then you can soak in the tub to warm up and relax. If you're feeling lonely, don't worry the tub talks to you. Ladies, if you have long hair, tie it up because you should not allow your hair to get in the tub.
3) You can either sit on the stool or stand and wash yourself in the shower area. There are often two hooks on the wall, so you can raise or lower the shower hose, again so you can choose if you want to sit or stand to wash.
4) If you'd like a final soak in the tub, just make sure all the soap is off before you get in.

It certainly makes sense to get cleaned up at night (as they often do) because your bed sheets at least do not get dirty so quickly. When it comes to bath/shower time, often it goes by rank within the family of who goes first to last. As well, the water in the tub is used by each member of the family, smartly to save water.

Amachan noticed a handkerchief shop and wondered why such a shop was even necessary. Well, when you go to a temple (the pictures above are from a Temple in Kamakura) or shrine it's customary to rinse your hands and your mouth before entering it. Aha, thus the need to carry your own handkerchief. They do the same at home--at least Mystery Man's family did--wash their hands and rinse their mouth when they get home. 

As I'm sure most if not everyone knows, it is customary at a Japanese home to take your shoes off at the front door and use slippers when walking around the house. Makes perfect sense to keep the floors clean, although Amachan said she tended to take longer to take her shoes on and off because she often wore shoes with laces. Tricky. As perhaps added caution in terms of germs, before using the restroom (toilet) each member of Mystery Man's family take off their slippers before entering the small room. I'm nodding in agreement, since you can't see my reaction.

A clean train station, what a beautiful sight.

Japanese folk are also, hmm, thorough in how they recycle. They have specific bins for compost, landfill trash and your usual paper, bottles and the like. Nice, nice. When it comes to general cleaning, again they are very thorough. True story here, Amachan witnessed a gentlemen cleaning the tiles in a train station with a toothbrush. I applaud you dear sir, for I don't think I've seen such dedication anywhere in my travels.  

Sooo, what about general trash like cigarette buds, is it okay for them to toss them anywhere? Pshaw, no sir, folk who smoke have a small pouch specifically for the buds. They then of course dispose of them properly when they get home or come across a trash can. There are other smaller details I could get into, but I think you have a nice grasp of their cleanliness now, ya?

Thank you so much for reading. If you missed them, take a look at:
 Part I about food in Japan 
Part II fashion
Part IV exploring
Part V Disney Sea


  1. Really cool stuff. I am learning all kinds of interesting facts about Japan. Wow. You really go deep into the toilette thing.

  2. Haha, thanks. I found their bathroom routine rather fascinating. It's very much like anything they do, often a long process with details we'd never think of. I still have two other posts about Japan in the works. =)