It’s a beauti-bidet in the neighbourhood

Or: Oh yeah, put your squirt right there!

Before you stop dropping your drawers or panties or whatever, a few comments about Akiba. I mentioned earlier, more than once, about Akihabara being the geek mecca of Japan. It really was a sight to behold. A sight that I’d rather have wished to have experienced alone. This was my element, but I was with a family. Not that I’m ashamed of my geek heritage, but there are some things I’d rather keep to myself, or at least with people who were absolutely like-minded. There were four SEGA buildings to investigate. FOUR! How do you bring an uninterested mother/daughter duo to something like that? How do you bring them to a palace of anime otaku treasures like which have never been seen by the majority of western fanboys? I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. And so, while I enjoyed Akiba, I think I could have easily spent two or three days exploring the treasures which that place holds. 25-year-old me would be broke if he lived in Japan. All past-me would be spending all of his hard earned English teaching dollars there. I’m sure of it.

So. Off to Hokkaido, with our first stop being Sapporo. We first had to take the train back to Narita airport, which I didn’t mind. It wasn’t a short trip, but what made it worthwhile was being able to see the infamous Tokyo Tower! A tower, which has been destroyed and obviously rebuilt numerous times after many attacks from monsters, aliens, and random wars that have occurred according to pop-culture mediums. It was during the day in which I saw it, so I missed it’s evening-lit-up-splendor, but it was still exciting to see. Sure, it’s not the Eiffel or CN tower, but it’s culturally significant for the lifelong otaku. I will see this tower again, and I promise to provide pictures next time.

The first obvious difference when landing in Sapporo, was the snow. And there was a lot of it. But what was interesting was that despite the snow, it really didn’t feel that cold. Maybe I had already gotten used to the cold thanks to my first couple of days in Tokyo, but I somehow don’t think so. In some ways, Sapporo felt almost warmer in comparison to Japan’s capital. Perhaps I’m forgetting some of my Canadian history about snow. I mean, I haven’t lived through a traditional Canadian winter since 2012/2013, after which I lived in B.C., so maybe that’s clouded my perceptions a bit. All I know is that despite the snow, there were times I walked down streets with my jacket open.

Since before we left, my friend had been promising me to take to take me to the BEST ramen place, ever. I was actually confused for a while, because he kept calling it by its Chinese term, la-mein (like chicken chow-mein). It’s a small chain of ramen shops called Tesumiki Ramen. The one we went to was tiny. Seating for eight. The owner/operator was more-or-less shewing people away. The location is on Trip Advisor and Michelin rated, which is kind of cray. We just happened to get there a little early, and the keeper knew my friend. He has a tendency to leave an impression with people (super-outgoing, friendly, and talkative).
So, if you’ll remember, vending machines really are a thing here in Japan. To order food at this ramen place, there was a ticket vending machine to order what you wanted. If you didn’t have proper change, the owner had an envelope of paper yen to help you out.

This is what I ordered.

The owner was certainly a friendly guy with enough English language skills to serve you. Hugs were shared between my friend and he. The owner also had an affinity for the Beatles, as that’s all that was playing in his small establishment. He loved them, yeah, yeah, yeah.
The raman itself was certainly tasty. But like most Japanese food, make sure you have plenty of water handy. I was thirsty afterward.

Back at the hotel, I had to drop the kids off at the pool. Yes. That’s a euphemism for having to take a dump. Which is also euphemism for having to defecate into a toilet bowl.
The time had come.
The toilet and the shower were in the same room, but were divided by a sliding door. Both areas were spacious. And the toilet itself had a strange looking lid upon it. Beside the toilet was a digital control mechanism. A mechanism with images that were pretty self explanatory. I dropped my pants and took a seat, and I was met with one of the strangest feelings in the world. The first idea that popped in my head was that somehow that within that toilet bowl there was a rip in fabric of space/time, and somehow down had become up and I was now urinating onto the toilet seat upon which I sat. It was similar to that sensation when you first sit onto the heated seats of an automobile. Warm and comforting, but completely unnatural feeling. It was nice not sitting down onto a cold seat. For once, having to drop a load in the winter was forgiving instead of harsh, albeit quick punishment.
Afterwards, after my duty had been completed, I wrestled with idea of using the bidet function. I somehow felt that by using such a device, I was breaking some sort of manly/social code. One of the people does not have the luxury of a bidet. For some reason, in my mind, it was elitest. Despite my reservations, my curiosity got the best of me. I hit the button for the narrow spray. There was a button for wide spray with the icon for a female as its support, so putting two-and-two together, I knew the first option was the one for me.
And it was.
And it was amazing.

An extreme example of possible toilet seat/bidet sets. This one is more than $500CAD. But HELLO KITTY!

Where did my anti-bidet bias come from? This was awesome. The ultimate solution to s**t-stains in my undies! A clean sphincter after every deuce! Not only that, but this also created less use for toilet tissue. This was a land where Charmin Ultra-Soft didn’t exist. So if you can’t treat you ass like royalty that way, this was the next best, if not far superior option. Add this to a list of lifestyle choices. I’m not overexaggerating when I say that the heated seat/bidet combo is life-altering.

So this experience is probably the most.. colourful.. of my trip (it’s the little things), more is forthcoming. Next time– Otaru and the Left Hand, Right Seated driving experience.

I up ‘n gots me a new Johnny

Well, not quite yet.  The plumbers are installing it now.  I actually had no idea this was coming.  You see, earlier in the week, the toilet kept running on and the stopper wouldn’t seal in the reservoir.  I contacted, for lack of a better term, our property manager, and someone was sent the following day.  TheWife™ was out and about when he arrived, and I thought we communicated okay.  The problem appeared to be solved, except for a small, but constant flow of water into the bowl.  This has always been the case and thought it was intentional, as it was happening from the moment I moved in.  There were also a couple cracks in the ceramic, but I thought nothing of it.  This morning, the plumbing people show up with a new toilet.  Surprise!  The porcelain God decided that a new altar was be bestowed onto us, for delivery if its sacrificial sacrament.  There’s a downside to our shiny turd collector; it can’t collect golden showers or chocolate hostages for a couple of days.  If I need to go, I now have to run to the public toilet in my building– which is down a flight of stairs, and a half-way across the building.  I’d call this a first world problem, but for some reason, I don’t feel as though I can classify this as one of those.

Oh yeah, I also started teaching this week after a 12-year hiatus.
And yes, it went well.  I commented earlier this week that it was like riding a bike, and I still stand by that.  I fell back into the process with relative ease.  The only issues I’m having is timing vs content.  Each class is two periods of 45-minutes each.  Under and overfilling that time slot is a bit of challenge.  Class sizes vary from 12 to 22, which means that the length it takes to finish an activity can drastically change from one class to another.  I’ll get it figured out, I’m sure.
Something else I kind of forgot about was the charge to the ego that teaching can bring–which I think I’m far more aware of this time around.  I think I can thank time and experience, and over a decade of self-reflection for this.  I’ve noted before that there’s a fairly strong reverence towards teachers here, and it really demonstrated itself on Friday.
Before my classes started, a couple of classes got moved, with on being changed to 4:30 on Friday.  Fine.  Come Friday, I show up for my class thirty minutes early.  I was surprised to find one of my student’s waiting for me outside of the classroom.  We chit-chatted a little, and she told me that a lot of students might not show because of the change.  Not everyone got the message.  Apparently, they did get the message, but the messages were different by two hours.  The coordinator gave me the wrong schedule.  The interesting part about this is that not a single one of the students who eventually showed up (only eight of what should have been close to twenty), every said anything about.  Just assumed my time was right, and their time was wrong, or just didn’t want to speak up about it.  If this had been a class back in Canada, there’d at the very least be questions of what happened.  Not here.

Oh, and one last thing.  The new Foo Fighters dropped this week, and it is awesome.