A Travellerspoint blog

Video Door Bells

Cheap Entertainment

semi-overcast 32 °C

Since being in Japan I am a little confused over safety. Everyone says how safe Japan is, but there are bars on many windows in Japan. They also have a pull down metal doors. There is not much graffiti so that is a plus. So if Japan is so safe than why all the security. Take for instance; most homes have a video door bell. When someone comes to your door, you have a few buttons and options on what to do. One you can push a button and say, Hello, I will be right there. You can also push a button and they have no idea that you are looking at them and deciding if you are going to answer your door. This is very good for door to door sales men; yes we have them here too. Or to avoid the TV police who want to catch you watching TV and make you pay a TV tax. We don’t have a TV so that is not the case.
One night there was some noises going on outside, so I couldn't sleep. So I turned on the video doorbell to see if I could figure out what was making all the noise. I stood there watching it like a bad TV show from CBS. I stood there watching each noise and expecting to finally see my neighbor who has been avoiding me pop out from the apartment below. I expected the neighbor to come out from the left. I waited for what seemed like an hour. In reality it was really 3 minutes or so, then to my surprise my other neighbor who gave us the six pack of beer, came out and jumped on a bike and rode off. I was so not expecting that. It was like my TV show had a plot change that no one expected to see. Then he came back and moved some cars around. To me who has been without a TV for some time now it was like watching an episode of CSI Back Alley. All I could think of was I wasn't expecting that. The lesson I learned that night. I need to get more friends and activities in my life and maybe buy a TV. If watching my door bell gives this kind of excitement, I will need some serious mental health help soon. Little things in my life in Japan are way too exciting for me to handle at times. I really do need to get out more.

Posted by Tina in Japan 21:22 Archived in Japan Tagged japan bells door cheap entertainment video csi oume sleeplessness Comments (0)

The Japanese Toilet

or the Ben Jo Experience

semi-overcast 29 °C

Ah this is a blog of immense awaking to the art of using a toilet. Not to gross you out or give away too many personal details. But I have often wondered if having a biday would enhance my life and make certain things in my life more comfortable. The answer is YES.
I was extremely intimidated with the Japanese toilets as they have lots of buttons and functions on them. You just don’t sit and do your business .You have a toilet experience. After having the great honor of using the Japanese toilet, I prefer the western style toilet with all the bells and I do mean bells or music. Rather than the Japanese squat toilet called the ben jo. There are many buttons on the remote for the toilet and yes there is a remote. You can push a button to play music or make a flushing sound to camouflage any sounds you wish not to have broadcast to the world while conducting your business. This would have come in handy at the Bush Inn Center as they were many complaints of no music in the bathroom and everyone could hear what was going on in each stall. Had I known then what I know now I could have fixed that problem.
The second thing I noticed is the seat is warm. On a hot day the last thing you want or need is a warm toilet seat. I look forward to winter and not having bathroom shock when I sit down to use the toilet. In New Zealand most bathrooms are extremely cold. So I look forward to the winter.
The third thing I noticed is the music button. I have been caught off guard more than once by accidentally hitting the music button. I half expect God Save New Zealand to play or God Bless America but so far just an electric sounding music or a weird flushing sound. This comes in handy if you are in the bathroom taking pictures to post on your blog. I think people thought, I was a stupid American and what could I possibly be taking pictures of in the stall. I like to share but maybe not that much.
Then the biday feature ahhhhh, I have long been curious of how this type of toilet could change my life. So for research purposes only I decided I need to give the biday a try. I am now and forever a changed woman.
I have a few tips for you if you decide you want to give a biday a go. First thing do not try to take of look at what is going on while bidaying. It ends badly. Second do not push the buttons without sitting on the toilet, this floods the bathroom and gets the walls wet. Third be careful how you sit on the toilet while bidaying, as you could get violated in a way that catches you by surprise. This may turn a lovely warm biday into a not so nice soothing experience.
My favorite bathroom in Japan has pink bathroom tissues to use to finish the toilet experience. The bathroom tissues in Japan are not the soft plush kind as in the states or in New Zealand but the Grando ( The name of the department store where my favorite toilet is, not name of the toilet) has pink paper so I am still impressed.
While I have enjoyed the Japanese western toilets, I am still put off by the actual Japanese style toilet the ben jo. This toilet you need to squat over and require balance strength and coordination and let’s just face it. I have none of those strengths. We all know it will end badly, so I have not even tried it as of yet. Going to the toilet while camping, always ended badly usually with me up against a tree trying to do my business and me ending up with poison ivy rash on my back. Then I would have to explain to everyone, how I got that rash on my back. So to avoid an embarrassing situation I will pass for as long as I can.
The last sensible accessory to the Japanese toilet is that most has a baby seat in the stall to place infant in so mum can have a hands free toilet experience. This is ingenious and should be required everywhere. If you are planning on sending The Duchess of Cambridge a gift this would be a great gift for her. This concludes my Japanese toileting experience. You have to experience it to appreciate it as much as I do.

Posted by Tina in Japan 21:16 Archived in Japan Tagged toilet japanese jo ben experience bathrooms Comments (0)

Our Trip Over to Japan

Never Flying That Airline Again

overcast 32 °C

Well this is our second full day in Japan. I am exhausted and I feel like I have been run over with a truck. I hope this feeling ends soon.
So much has happened I need to start somewhere so. At the airport I am once again reminded that I am not a famous person. A news crew was there but they declined to interview me they didn't even ask me . They just looked at Kevin and decided he was not a cricketer guy. I was able to use one of the few words in Japanese I know (Tīshatsu) as we purchased three t-shirts in Sydney and you would have thought that they were a million dollars. In the end we didn't have to pay anything or at least we have not gotten a bill as of yet. We went through several customs check points at several airports in 3 countries and I was prepared with letters about our prescription drugs, we had in our luggage. We had letters to explain what the medicines were used for and how much we had with us and to my disappointment they were not needed. We went through Beijing and after their security check I needed a cigarette, As the pat down was quite intense.The flight was long and we were accosted by children the whole way here. I love kids I hope to have grand kids one day but six kids inflecting they bad behavior it really is not the kids faults it is the parents as they were clueless on what to do. We had 4 screaming children on the first leg of the trip. The mothers kept trying to sneak in first class. One mum tried to change her child's diaper in an empty first class seat. If I was a paying customer I would be upset to. I had to set a man straight as he wanted to use our isle as a through fare threw the cabin. After he rudely crawled over us the first time I gave him a talking to and said this was not on. The bathroom on the plane were disgusting and I suggest no one ever fly Air China as the crew were terrible and the toilet made me want to cross my legs and get a hepatitis shot . I will never fly Air China again. Well we are here enough complaining I have so much to blog about so on with it.

Posted by Tina in Japan 21:07 Archived in Japan Tagged japan travel to bad airplanes service Comments (0)

My Adventures in Japan

Department Stores in Japan

sunny 32 °C

Well so far we have gone to three departments stores as we are surrounded by stores here at the Tachikawa Palace hotel. Each store has their own variety of merchandise. But they all have one thing in common, one does not simply walk into the store when it opens, you are welcomed into the store. The stores all open at 10:00 am. You know this because a crowd of people gathers outside the store waiting for the store to open. At precisely 10:00 A.M. on the dot a bell rings and usually a very pretty girl will bow and say “Ohayōgozaimasu” that means Good Morning.
In fact it sounds more like they are screaming Good morning to the crowd.
At the fancy high end department store the welcome girls are dressed in pink formal outfits that look more like flight attendant uniforms from the 1960’s. They stand by the door, then they bow to and say “Ohayogozaimasu” for several minutes to all that pass threw the doors. As you walk threw each department all the sales people are also at the front of their departments and they also call out “Ohayogozaimasu” after you walk threw the store things calm down a bit and the sales staff go about the business of trying to sell you product.
We went to the store to look for a bed. The selection compared to the New Zealand or the United States was lacking. At the store we went to we were met with two sales people who tried so hard to communicate with us and try to get us to buy what I have now figured out is a very expensive bed. No wonder the sales staff tried so hard the bed was prices at ¥818,000.Yen which translates to approximately $10,584.92nz or $8,237.26US. The bed was nice but needless to say we are not buying that bed, even if the sale price is ¥518,000.
Today we went to the electronic store that was a full fledged assault on the senses. It was very over whelming. To get a feel of what is is like go to your lounge or living room and turn on all the things that make noise with the volume turned up of course and see how that feels. Imagine going into an electronic store and every device is turned on with the volume turned up. This was the electronic store. Of course it seemed as I was the only person who had a problem with this. Every TV, every stereo, every video game that had a beeping sound was on. Then you had people on loud speakers and standing at the front of the department store yelling “Ohayogozaimasu” and daily specials at you. It didn't take long for this country mouse to get over whelmed and scurry away. We did manage to purchase shampoo and vitamins at the electronics store go figure out why this was being sold at the electronic store. You could also get your eye glasses and your prescriptions filled there too. I guess they figure while you were waiting for your prescriptions you would look at purchasing electronics.
This store we went to had 6 floors of goods but the last floor was my favorite floor. I found my first craft store. This craft store made spotlight in NZ look like a 7 eleven corner dairy. There were acres of fabric and notions and craft dilly bobs and the most beautiful paper I have ever seen. This paper is for wall dividers or screens. You can buy a frame and select the kind of paper you want in the screen. I will not be leaving without some of this paper. We also found a place in the sewing department where we can have a tailor made suit made for Kevin this is another activity we will be doing before we leave. I must get much better at Japanese before we attempt this project. As I want the correct fit and style for my darling husband. All and all going to the stores has been an experience I won’t soon forget. I have so far been to about five stores and have seen more stuff in that short span of time then I have my entire time living in New Zealand. Amazingly I only managed so far to buy a purse and sun glasses and a personal fan for which we have no tools to open and put the batteries in to make it work.. In my next blog I will tell you all about the grocery stores another experience to be had.

Posted by Tina in Japan 20:58 Archived in Japan Tagged japan in shopping department stores Comments (0)

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