First of all, let me thank Lynn and Allie for commenting and letting me know that they liked my daily babbling about Japan on this blog. They are no-reply so I hope they will come back and see how much I appreciate their comments (and all of yours!).
So...I won't worry about this being too trivial and today I will show you our bathroom. Big thrill. This weekend we did housecleaning chores like putting down the winter carpets, giving Choco a bath and cleaning the bathroom. My meticulous husband took the lead in all these tasks and I ran around vacuuming, handing him towels and scrub brushes. The bathroom looks good so that's why I'm inspired to post pictures while it is still presentable.
Usually in America you will find a nice big bathroom with a big mirror on the wall, a shower stall or bathtub, a couple of sinks and a toilet. In Japan, the three main functions of a bathroom, washing, throne sitting and grooming are all done in three different rooms. The toilet sits alone in a small closet like room, the sink and mirror area is combined with the laundry area and the shower and bath is one "room" in itself.
Our whole tub-bathroom is covered from ceiling to floor in tile though some fancier homes will have good smelling wood walls and bathtub. Apartments will often have bath "units" made of pressed fiberglass, and the whole room and bath is set into an apartment wall. At any rate, the whole room is for showering and there is a drain in the floor so that the water runs out. There is a stool in the bathroom for sitting on and also a basin so that you can soap up and rinse off before getting into the tub. The tub water is supposed to stay pristine clean so that numerous members of the family can use the same hot water. Our bathtub is fairly deep and one person can easily sink up to their chin in the hot water. When the kids were little, it was Tetsu's job to give them a bath and the three of them would scrub and soap each other (lots of laughs and fun) and then they'd all get into the bathtub and soak. I remember them playing number games and drawing pictures in the condensation on the wall. When the kids were ready to get out Tetsu would call and I'd come running with a towel and dry them off .
It occurs to me that just the idea of the family taking a bath together may horrify some people and you're right, I do have a daughter and yes she did take a bath with her father and brother. This is the norm in Japan and within the family, the genders mix in the bathtub. Both kids decided they were too old to bathe with each other and dad (and occasionally me) when they were in the fourth or fifth grade. So far no traumas have appeared that could be associated with family nudity.... I repeat! This is the normal way in Japan. My family is not that weird!
In the other room, there is a small unit sink that has a mirror and little plastic doors to hold the toothbrushes etc. That means there is only one sink for a whole family trying to get ready to go to school or work all at the same time. My makeup and toiletries sit around the sink as do Tetsu's shaving things and all the toothbrushes, contact lenses, q-tips and whatever. When four of us lived here and we were all adult size, this was a major battle! Who gets to use the mirror while the rest of us stand around brushing our teeth in the hallway? (This may be another reason why Takumi never got into the habit of shaving and still goes around with a straggly beard. Too crowded in the bathroom in the morning!) The washing machine hums away in one corner while the four cats do their business in another. What a whirlwind of activity goes on in this little room!
And if you want to hear about the toilet (is this getting too personal for everyone?) You can check out a post I wrote about it earlier this year. Whew! I hope I don't get censored for this post. At least the bathroom is clean!