Domo Arigato

My plans fot the summer are under major reconstruction, because the big girl – who was planning to come home from New Zealand last tuesday –  had to have her appendix removed. She had acute problems, and the emergency operation actually happened on the day she was scheduled to fly! So I booked a ticket to New Zealand and am now at the other side of the world. Getting there involved two flights of more than 10 hrs each, and a stop-over at Osaka. It was funny to be confronted with a language I had not prepared for at all – I usually try to learn some basic words and some numbers, but now all I had was ‘domo arigato’ meaning ‘thank you very much’. Which came in handy on the flight, when I sat next to a Japanese couple. I had 9 hrs at Osaka airport, a boring wait. Long enough though to spot an example of a nifty appliance I had not encountered before: a toilet that doubles as a bidet. I photographed its manual, loved the ‘use when washing the posterior’ and ‘use for bidet washing’ stuff.

Then, of course, I needed to find out about  Japanese people’s way of going potty . Check a Wiki entry here if you share my curiosity. And just so you know:  The current state of the art for Western-style toilets [in Japan]  is the bidet toilet, which, as of March 2010, is installed in 72% of Japanese households. In Japan, these bidets are commonly called washlets, a brand name of Toto Ltd., and include many advanced features rarely seen outside of Asia. The feature set commonly found on washlets are anus washing, bidet washing, seat warming, and deodorization.

Osaka airport was almost deserted – at least compared to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. I spotted a Japanese girl in kimono and figured that in return for photo’s of  windmills and wooden shoes I could do a kimono. So here goes:

Brought my crayons, as this trip offers a unique opportunity to test the playfulness of the people Down Under. Won’t do so until the Big Girl is up and running again –  running being wishful thinking at the moment, for all she’s able to do at right now is shuffle from bed to couch and vice versa.


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