As I mentioned a week or so ago, our bathroom deserves a blog entry of it’s own. As is typical in Japanese homes, it’s actually two separate rooms as the toilet is always separate from the bath. Public toilets in Japan vary widely from the traditional squat toilet set into the floor to amazing high tech ones with heated seats, built in bidets and sound effects so that whoever is in the next stall can’t hear what you’re doing. As if they don’t know! After all, what are the options? Our toilet is pretty typical of those found in homes, however. In this day and age when we preach the virtues of water conservation, I really cannot figure out why this invention hasn’t found it’s way to North America. There is a tiny sink built into the top of the toilet tank. When the toilet is flushed, rather than clean water entering directly into the tank, it flows through the spigot into the little sink and is used first for hand washing.
Bathtubs in Japan are for soaking and relaxing in, not washing. Our bathroom is actually a large shower stall containing a short, deep tub and a small sink. One is supposed to shower outside the tub first then climb in to soak. Soap and shampoo are never supposed to be used in the tub. We, however, choose to bathe North American style keeping the water in the tub instead of all over the room.
The tub is only about 3 feet long but it’s significantly deeper than our tub at home so it is possible to enjoy a good soak. For those who enjoy long baths, it has a wonderful feature. At the push of a button, the water cycles through a heater and is warmed up almost instantly! No more having to get out because the water has cooled off.
In order to get hot water in the first place, we have to turn on the gas and the water heater but once that’s done there’s hot water almost instantly and as much of it as you want. The water to the kitchen sink works the same way. The bathroom sink only has a cold water tap but if you need hot water, the hand held shower is close enough to provide it.