|On the suburban frontier west of Tokyo - Fall 2002|
Here there is an old-fashioned Japanese squat toilet - a porcelain-framed hole in the floor. Squatting to move bowels certainly keeps one from reading! Fortunately there's a water pipe in front of the squat-zone so I can hold on and relax my balance. Previous tenants have done the same - there's a tell-tale bend in the pipe from toilet-clingers. And since the toilet is in the home, I'm free to use it naked, which is best, since squatting will otherwise often risk causing the contents of your pockets to drop out.
There's not really any sink that's just for maintaining your hygeine. There's a tiny sink above the toilet bowl - so you can rinse your hands with the incoming clean toilet water. We have made this a full-fledged handwashing station with a towel for drying and even some liquid soap. So what if our toilet tank has suds in it?
But this is not really much of a suitable place for brushing our teeth. The sink is too small and somehow cleaning the mouth doesn't match the other activities that take place when we squat in here.
The toilet and the bathtub are in separate rooms. The bathtub is in a small square room, with a handheld shower next to a freestanding tub. The tub is elevated, with a hole in the bottom - pull out the plug and the water drains out into a grate-covered drain in the floor. We could replace this tub at any point - it seems very temporary and customizable - the tub is not fixed to any of the architecture.
But it's deep and it holds two for a nice soak. We have wood floor-mat, a wooden stool (nice to sit while hand-showering), and a wooden bowl to fill and pour over your shoulders (optional Honduras-style showering) - so the smell of fresh cut wood permeates as it gets wet.
Luca, the Italian PhD moving back to Rome, he gave us a red and a blue lightbulb to go with our new lamp. We screwed them into the bath room and the toilet room, respectively, to create pleasant color toiletting experiences.
But still, no place to brush your teeth, or take out my contact lenses.
So there's the kitchen sink for teeth-brushing - a little iffy when there's piles of dishes and the like and I realize I'm mixing up old tartar and sudsy flouride mix with old bowls trimmed with yogurt. And where do we keep the cotton swabs?
|perhaps in the kitchen|