In Japan the bathtub and the toilet and sink areas are different rooms. The bathtub room (for lack of a better word) is actually a whole room which is just a big shower. People wash up outside of the tub in this room and shower right there and the water goes down a drain that is in the floor. Our bathtub room has a window and is tiled but many (especially in apartments) are complete fiberglass units with no window. In any case, one undresses in the separate sink area and then goes into the bathtub room. Usually towels are in the sink room because the bathtub room gets completely wet.
So much for the background to my story.
Yesterday morning when I was taking a shower I noticed that the glass door stuck when I was leaving the room. I mentioned to Tetsu that he needed to check the door and maybe fix it (he's fixed it once before.) Tetsu took a shower after me and yep, the door stuck a bit when he was getting out too. Tetsu got dressed and then got out his screwdriver and proceeded to take the door latch and handle apart. I started the washing machine (in the same sink room) and then went back to watching morning TV.
I little bit later I hear some muted yelling.
"TANI!!! TANI!!! HELP!!"
Tetsu had locked himself in the bathtub room! With the door handle in pieces on the floor. He wasn't too happy that I hadn't responded right away but what with the TV and the washing machine...
From my side, I jammed the handle piece back into the knob hole and the two of us banged and jiggled (a little bit of swearing from Tetsu's side?). Tetsu was giving me directions and I was oiling the jammed latch and poking haphazardly with the screwdriver.
"COME AROUND TO THE YARD AND HAND ME THE SCREWDRIVER THROUGH THE WINDOW!"
The bathtub room window is slatted but when I got to the window from the yard Tetsu had already pulled off the screen and was trying to figure out how to get some of the slats out. I didn't really think this was such a great idea because there are a lot of slats and Tetsu isn't a small Japanese.
"Tetsu, maybe I'd better call a neighbor, or a plumber... Or a handyman..." (at 7:30 in the morning...)
Tetsu began thinking about breaking the glass in the door with the shampoo bottle because his pride didn't want the neighbors involved in this embarrassing situation but before we got that desperate the door suddenly popped open and Tetsu was set free. Altogether Tetsu spent about 30 minutes locked in the bathtub room.
Afterwards we thought about all the things that could have happened that didn't. Usually Tetsu has gone to work by the time I take a morning shower. Can't you just picture me wet and naked locked in the bathtub room even the towels on the other side of the broken door? Our bathroom faces the forest and though people walk by the front of the house, if one is in the shower room you can't see or hear them or vice versa. I suppose if I'd been locked-in I could have screamed and someone might have gotten curious about the cries of help echoing from the forest but it probably would have taken awhile. Even if someone did figure it out and a handyman was called, there I still would have been standing in all my glory... And even in this fall season, being naked and cold would have been pretty miserable. Of course waiting for my husband to come home from work some 15 hours later wouldn't have been fun either. In the winter it might have been down right dangerous.
Right now the latch and handle have been disabled so that there isn't a repeat performance. Public baths sound pretty good to me right now...