Sunday, July 26, 2009

Japanese superstitions

My Japanese teacher brought me a list of superstitions today:

The number four:
It's considered inauspicious because it is pronounced the same way as the word for death (shi). Therefore, one should not make presents that consist of four pieces. In some hotels, and hospitals the room number four is skipped.

Give food chopstick to chopstick:
This is only done with bones of the cremated body at funerals.

Sleeping toward the North:
Do not sleep towards the North because bodies are laid down like that.

Funeral Car:
If a funeral car passes you, hide your thumbs! My sensei says that this is because your thumbs are considered your "parent" fingers. You need to hide your thumbs so your parents don't die soon.

Cut Nails at Night:
If you cut your nails at night, you will not be with your parents when they die.

Lie down after eating:
If you lie down immediately after eating, you will become a cow.

Whistle in the night:
If you whistle in the night, a snake will come to you.

A couple of other ones we talked about were:

Being alone in the room with a porcelain doll:
Apparently, their hair grows when you are alone with one.

Potted plants for someone in the hospital:
Thats like telling the person that you want them to grow roots in the hospital.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Violated, but it feels so good.

Though I'm not sure what key words brought you to this blog... welcome!
No, this is not a very public bathroom, though they do exist here in Japan, this is Toto Super Space. It is a showroom for the fanciest toilets around.

While they appear warm and inviting, there's a place to try them out and this (above) is not the place...


This (above) is. The Trylet room is simply the bathroom. There are several different stalls that you can actually go in and use. And use them we did. I took along two not-so-unsuspecting friends and their kids. We gave the bowls a whirl (HA!). They didn't put the top of the line in the Trylet, but it was good enough for us and an entertaining afternoon.
This model may be the top of the line. If not, it's right up there. I think this toilet does everything for you. For 1,152,113-yen ($12,222 at today's exchange rate) it should!

We were told, by a Korean distributor there, that this particular model is particularly good for the elderly. Part of the fun, no, all of the fun, is trying the various buttons and just seeing what will happen.
Not a bad view at all! You can enjoy this view as soon as you step off the elevator on the 26th and before you enter the showroom.

Toto Super Space is located on the 26th and 27th floors of the L Tower in Shinjuku and it's free!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

You win this time Fuji san!

I just had a facial that I'm sure some would pay top dollar for. It consisted of the finest Japanese lava rock being blasted into my pores at 140 mph (my estimate).
Katie wanted to attempt Fuji, so I agreed to accompany her, for moral support. We came back down to the 5th station looking like armless monkeys had applied a very dark mascara all over our faces until we looked like a couple of Goth rockers on retreat. That lava dust is all-invasive! Word of caution, don't put on lip balm before facing the dust. It just sticks to your lips to turn them black.
Don't let this beautiful sunrise fool you. This mountain is dangerous when the wind blows!
A lot has changed on Mt. Fuji since I climbed it last year. This year I'm pretty sure they have added thousands of extra meters of vast nothingness and blister-inducing steps between stations 5 and 7.

We saw many people nearly fall over the edge. We were unable to summit due to the wind. There were several tour groups on the mountain when we were there. They were all turning around and heading back down. I was okay with that. I made it up the whole way last year. I must have been knocked in the head sometime between now and then. I forgot how much, umm, fun it is.

Monday, July 13, 2009

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