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I Am... Mama and Writer

First Mama.  Then Writer.  Though, of late, the latter has consumed a great deal of time as I work to get things in order to potentially be ...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Saturday Soliloquy #13

Some of my favorite things about Japan include many daily practices.  I loved the entry way in my Host Family’s home.  It was quite large.  Basically it was a transitional sort of area of the home… even those you may not invite into the inner parts of your home could enter and converse with you in the entry room.  There were many things in this room of my Host Family’s home, but I don’t remember all the details.  The main things I remember are that #1 the entry level of the floor change right before you went into the house… it raised up about 8-12 inches from the level of the first front door to the level of the door into the home.  Before anyone entering could step up to the inner home level, it was expected that one should remove the shoes worn outside and put on some house slippers.  My Host Family had house slippers for each person, but also had lots of extra visitor slippers.  I loved that.

I also really loved that my host family had a whole smallish room for the toilet.  This room was a bit sunk down and the practice was to remove house slippers, put on the toilet room slippers (that everyone shared), use the toilet, and then exit, leaving the toilet room slippers ready for the next person to enter (not exactly convenient for the person exiting), and putting house slippers back on.  The toilet room was entirely separate from the room that had the sinks and there was no door between the two.  I didn’t realize, until the end of my time in Japan, that my Host Family’s toilet had a hand-washing sink on the back of it… every time one flushed, clean water ran so you could wash your hands.  Very cool.  Unfortunately, I went from the toilet room to the sink room every time after I used the toilet.  The room in which we took showers and baths was through a door in the sink room.  The bathing room was very cool.  It was one level onto which you stepped upon entering the room and then you stepped up to step down into the tub.  The shower spigot was a few feet away from the awesome tub so you could wash and rinse without getting any rinse water into the hot deep tub.  The tub was amazing.  It was re-circulated water kept hot by a heater that was part of the whole set-up.  I could sit in it and the water was up to my chest.  I could also stretch my legs out straight in front of me.  I could not lie down unless I bent my legs… but I was happy to just sit and soak.  I loved the baths!

I got a cold while in Japan and my Host Mother immediately put me on a schedule of dinner, bath, hot tea and off to bed.  It seemed a little silly to me, but that was one time I whipped through a cold much faster than was typically normal for me.  I’m sure the tea she gave was helpful, too… though I’m not sure what it was.  It also felt quite nice to be so carefully taken care of.  It seems that I’m generally perceived as a pretty tough chick… so it’s rare enough that anyone attempts to take care of me or be protective of me.  But I am a woman… and we all want to feel cherished and lovingly cared for… at least sometimes.  Anyway… it was nice to be cared for by my Host Mom.  And it definitely helped!

I also liked that the part of the school I attended expected us to remove our shoes to enter the main part of the building.  The rest of the campus wasn’t like that, but I’m glad my little building was!

The bike parking area near the train station I rode to from my Host Family’s home was quite cool.  There were bike racks, but no one used chains or anything else like that to lock up their bikes.  There were neat little keyed or coded locks that stuck the tire in place somehow.  I think it was more because the people were full of integrity, but being careful didn’t hurt either, I’m sure.  The little parking lot I used was attended by a security guard, too.  Very neat.

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