Saturday, June 27, 2009

all those bugs busy buzzing 'round

I HATE JAPANESE VERMIN. I feel like I'm in a Brobdingnag voyage---they're huge! I saw a spider the size of my hand one night, hanging out on the bathroom tiles welcoming me to be petrified by it. The fuckers are surfacing everywhere in this humidity. I counted at least eight large spiders and one Big Daddy sunning themselves and being all spider-like on Nakatsu school's front door. I entered and exited through the back door the whole week to avoid contact. ANDANDAND!!! MOSQUITOS ARE EVERYWHERE AND THEY LOVE CHINESE FOOD. I lose sleep over them because I hear them. They wake me up from slumber, mockingly buzzing near my ear, tummies full of my blood. One morning I woke up with seven bites all over my body. My largest accumulated mosquito-bite-total stands at 11. It looked like I had leprosy. 

A few months back I saw the first harbinger of the upcoming months' insect infestation---ROADKILL CENTIPEDE, guts and all festering about. If you can see an insect's insides, you know it's big. I wondered aloud if was some deranged kid's house pet that escaped, because nothing that mortifying could naturally surface from the ground. There are plenty of (less) creepy-crawlies like ants or ladybugs roaming around already. I insisted to my sanity that the centipede was a renegade pet an unpleasant person kept as testament to their strangeness, like people who raise iguanas or keep bats in cages or whatever. But NO, I WAS WRONG. CENTIPEDES ARE EVERYWHERE. I saw another one recently sauntering across the road as if it's were allowed to be exposed to human sight, that asshole! I ran away and screamed bloody murder. What what was it doing walking on my sidewalk?? What was it doing breathing my air??  

If I wasn't so scared of them I would smash every insect to pieces or obliterate them all nuclearly--but I have a feeling radiation exposure would just cause them to mutate, grow larger, and spiteful of humans. I think the first atomic bomb caused them to grow this large in the first place. 

Can insects read? I now have a slight irrational fear they will kill me in my sleep for posting this.  

Monday, June 8, 2009

potty mouth

This entry was inspired by last week's bathroom banter with a coworker at an izakaya. Without going into too much detail--I peed, I wiped, I postured, then I hollered to the next stall over:


After said holler, a fit of giggles surfaces from a bystander. Twas an English-speaking Japanese woman! So I doth implore: "WHYWHYWHHYY must you make me feel bad for not folding the toilet paper into a triangle after I use it?" 

She replieth: "Because I get bored when I go pee!" 

"Oh...does it matter if I can't fold it back as neatly as I found it?"  

She continued giggling. I think she was too polite to tell me that I probably shouldn't bother. 

Thus begins The Beat's Japanese bathroom enigma analysis (for women at least). Only in Japan would urination merit a proper blog entry.

Enigma-1: Toilet paper triangles. 

Toilet paper triangle in an upscale hotel, sure. Toilet paper triangle at the communal in Starbucks, whyy? It's a nice gesture, but I don't need your help to find the end of the roll. I don't want to think about your grimy hands delicately folding a perfectly symmetrical toilet paper triangle while I'm peeing. I don't want to feel guilty for not folding the toilet paper back into a triangle so the next person can conveniently wipe too. If you're doing it just because you're bored, as in the aforementioned anecdote, why don't you bring a book instead? 

Enigma-2: Bathroom slippers are always worn in the bathroom. 

Fair enough for the Eastern-style toilets, which is basically just a hole in the floor you squat over (where bodily excrement could splash about if you can't aim well) but why are the ubiquitous slippers found in Western-style bathrooms as well? I wont launch a scientific study comparing the amount of floor bacteria in the respective rooms, but I'm betting the Japanese style floors have way more icks and ews. There really is no reason to protect your feet while using a Western toilet, actual Westerners sure don't. I venture to guess that Japanese people are so used to wearing footwear in bathrooms that they carried it over to the Western counterpart. This segues to to...

Enigma-3: If the Japanese are so afraid of possible unsanitary exposures, then where are the damn toilet seat covers? 

I'm a squatter. I will never EVER sit on a public toilet seat, who knows what combination of fuck's on the seat, and if there is only one other squatter like me it merits my hover. After living here for 6 months, I now prefer the floor toilet over the seat for public peeing. I'm gonna say it's actually more sanitary to squat over the floor because there's a bigger surface area to aim pee versus the smaller circumference of a seat. Plus, less porcelain-to-skin contact is desirable. So if the Japanese wear slippers to protect their feet, why don't they have seat covers to protect their exposed ass? They don't hover; them women actually sit on the seat, even on public toilets! I don't get it! It seems to be a cultural attitude that naked skin is always clean. This brings me back to a doctor's visitation a few months ago when I was asked to change into a robe and sit bare assed on the wax-paper-less examination table. Perhaps hundreds of actual diseased patients are screened on that table!! But there it was, a pleathered, germy, cushioned table. I shuddered, held my tongue for sake of cultural sensitivity and carried on. What was I talking about again?

Enigma-4: The automated flush sound. 

I love those nifty washlets with aim-accurate bidets, sprays, and charming musical tones as much as the next foreigner. Some of those toilets even have automated deodorizers that make your ones and twos smell like spring flowers! BUT, I'll never understand why there's an option to play the built-in flush sound when it makes the actual flush sound when you, well, actually flush. 

That's about all I have to say about that.