Thursday, March 3, 2011

The one where I put my hand in the toilet

Commuting by bike is hardcore stuff - at any given time I am travelling around the city with at least one extra outfit in my bag - and don't even ask about the shoe colony breeding under my desk at work. If only I wasn't such a schvitzer, I could be one of those fabulous women wearing heels and a skirt on her bike, barely breaking a sweat as she glides through the streets. I tried her out for a couple months, and although I felt infinitely hotter (in both senses of the word), she is strictly a weekend friend for me. So I wear scrubs on my bike now and get changed in a bathroom stall every morning, which of course comes with its own set of neuroses in a place where you should not hear anything that goes on behind the stall door. Fuck, save me from myself.

Every morning I place my bag on a shelf in the stall and almost every morning when I pull earrings out of my bag the thought crosses my mind that one day I am going to drop them in the toilet. I then make a little promise to myself to start my accessorizing when I am safely away from the toilet's beckoning depths from the following day. That promise? It gets made every day. It's also not without good reason.

When the beau and I first shacked up together, we lived in one of those charming "one room" bachelor pads, which was probably around 20m². The "one room" (or wan roomu) is not named as such because it is a one bedroom apartment, but rather because the entire thing is literally one big (actually not so much) room. It is one of my greatest regrets that I didn't document that time in our lives with photographs of the apartment at the height of our residence there, maybe throwing in a couple weird bed shots like John and Yoko, for it was truly stacked from the floor up. The bathroom was a "unit bath" (yunitto basu), which I loosely define as my ass will hit the wall if I bend over. Those of you not in Japan may have encountered one of these beauties before, favourite that they are of the ubiquitous Japanese business hotel. So imagine that, if you will, and then shrink it a little more, and you have our cream-coloured, seamless all-in-one bathroom. Not surprisingly, the toilet had a nasty habit of tempting my cosmetics to leap from the narrow shelf above it to a watery grave below. I almost shed real tears the first time my face cream ended up in there, bobbing around and daring me to pull it out and pretend like nothing had happened. So I guess you could say I have experience with this kind of thing and I've come out of it with the knowledge that unless you close the lid while literally powdering your nose in the mirror, that shit is going to wind up soaked.


One thing our unit bath toilet didn't have, was a flushing sensor, which adds a whole other element to the fishing game. I've toyed with fate too long, made too many broken promises, so of course last week my bag falls over, puking into the toilet, if you will, a hair clip and an antique locket (and my pride, if you must know). The hair clip I can do without but the locket? It was given to me by a close family friend for my Bat Mitzvah and while it spent about ten years being too grown up for me, my style has now come around. There was no time to think, really, I knew I had about 20 seconds tops before the ever-efficient toilet would sense my panicked body in front of it and whisk the locket away to, I don't know, somewhere off Odaiba. In my hand plunged, out came the locket, and stall peace was restored. Except now you can add sticking my hand in the toilet to the growing list of things I've done behind the stall door at work.

5 comments:

wakanai said...

Graceful words, sheer poetry!

(By the way, how is your obi?
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110303f3.html)

illahee said...

oh, the things we do behind the stall door...

your one room reminds me of the place my husband had when we first met. kinda cute and cosy, actually. but it's no wonder he spent most weekends at my (JET/CO provided) 2DK when we first started dating...

Green-Eyed Geisha said...

wakanai: Thank you, I am appreciative of your support as always! :) Thanks for the article link, I have heard about the practice from a couple people in the geisha world, but I don't think it's commonly known (maybe a future post?). This geisha uses the uncut full obi, which can be quite laborious.

illahee: Nice! I don't know how we made it through a year like that, when people here tell me their place is small, I can't help but think they don't know from small!

BiggerInJapan said...

it seems you're having fun more and more each day.. Time for a sabbatical perchance? I feel ya, green-eyed sister.

TheOctopus said...

Good heavens, how did you get that picture of my bathroom?

On second thoughts, it's similar but 90˚ rotated then mirrored, but yes I already lost something in there (I thought it would be too big to go down so tried flushing away the surrounding, ahem, and of course I was wrong).

A move to a larger bathroom is on the cards once the travelling season is over.