Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The shower and the washing machine

Time for another love/hate blog about Japan.

Bath tub and Shower:  I love my bath tub and shower.  Soaking in a tub is very much part of Japanese culture.  They consider this to be an essential part of their nightly ritual.  The Japanese way of doing things is to take a shower and thoroughly cleans yourself and then hop in to the tub and soak in the hottest water you can stand.  You do not put anything in the water in the tub and you clean yourself before hand so as to not contaminate the water or make the tub dirty.  Families will often share the same bath water.

I don't follow the Japanese traditional way of doing thing and I've been known to contaminate my bath water with bubble bath but I also don't share my water, Jeff is not a soaker.  What I love about the setup we have here is you can set the volume and temperature of the water that you would like and literally all you do is push one button and the tub fills itself and then stops.  That's it!  It also has a re-heat feature where it reheats the existing water in the tub.  The shower is also slick in that it has a "dry" feature.  After you are done in the little shower/bath room you set the dry function and the fan clicks on and blows hot air all over the place and keeps your shower from turning in to a moldy mess.  In a climate as damp as Japan this is an awesome thing to have.

Washing machine/Drier:  The washing machine/drier that we have in our apartment is supposed to do both things, wash clothes and dry them.  It sucks at both.  The think I hate most about my apartment is this appliance.

The washer gets clothes clean-ish, but all of my clothes are pilling.  You know, those annoying little balls that you get on really old t-shirts?  I have nice clothes and I take care of them so they generally last a stupidly long time.  Not here.  Everything I have brought with me is showing signs of ware.  It also leaves an astonishingly large amount of lint on everything.  Some how the washer at home removes lint (I hang dry some items in the US and they never are as linty as everything is here).  There is no gentle setting, there is no temperature setting, only volume.  So my choice is hand wash everything and then it will take even longer to dry (since the one thing the washer does well is centrifuge out some of the water) or just plan on a shopping spree when I get home.  I'm not the only person having this problem.  Other US transplants are having the same issues.

The other hate is the drier.  I call it a drier only because that's what it calls itself.  It has a dry setting that goes up to 5 hours.  I have tried this on several occasions.  It does not tumble dry anything.  When I tried trying the sheets on a rainy day when they were not drying out side I wound up with the most sad and wrinkled mess I've ever seen and I'm fairly lazy about promptly removing things from the drier in the US but this was crazy.  The fitted sheet was so bad it was hard to get it on the mattress.  I tried it a second rainy day with towels.  It took 7 hours for them to dry.  There were still damp after five.

I have since given up and on days like today (29'F and snowing) the laundry is on a rack in my living room (the only room with a heater on, I'm sure I'll do one of these about missing central heating one of these days).  In addition to not really having space for this eye-sore of an apparatus, all that lint I mentioned?  Yep, it's all over the apartment so I'm having to vacuum and dust way more to keep the lint from blowing around.

I never thought I'd be so excited to do laundry but I honestly am looking forward to pulling warm dry clothes out of a drier that dries!

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