"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Friday, June 17, 2011

TONY: Toto to Toto

June 12
Good Morning All,
Well today is the big day and I`mglad to say I`m a bit more adept at the Japanese keyboards.  The space bar is smaller and there are these  3 extra function keys that control the language (because they have not 1, not 2 but 3 alphabets), they moved the @ key and disguised it as a japanese character, and I`m still not sure why the sentences repeated everytime itried to go back and fix something- it was either embedded in capslock or arrow keys.
. . . I have to say that if any of you have read a Stephen King novel you might understand this feelingI get all the time here.  Take the gunslinger series, the characters are doing there thing, and everythingis mostly the same but they call halloween-reap, and scarecrows stuffyguy`s, the baseball team is the K.C. Monarchs.  Anyway it feels like you`re in a parrallel world.  Mostly, the differences seem pretty clever but whoever designed the stuff did start from the same place I did and after all the trouble I had in the bathroom I was afraid I`d kill myself if I tried to make a cup of coffee.  In private homes you open the bathroom door and there are a pair of slippers you step into. When you are done, you have the choice of big flush or small flush then the coolest thing- theres a little sink with a fountain on top of the tank so you can wash your hands, then that water drains into the tank behind the toilet for the next flush.  Pretty clever huh?  Of course then the toilet seat looks like you pee`d all over it so you clean that up and don`t forget to point the toes of the slippers at the toilet!
Any way I`ve got to run, this is a huge day.  Even bigger than I imagined to the people here. They are so nice.  They would be nice regardless but being Barbaras grandson is pretty sweet. Yesterday at the rehersal I was introduced to hibakusha (survivor of the atomic blast) they called  Sens  

(Back to Jessica: Tony's letter ends here, when he accidentally clicked on a key that converted everything he was writing into Japanese characters. . .)
     I have to Laugh Out Loud every time I read that sentence, ". . . after all the trouble I had in the bathroom I was afraid I`d kill myself if I tried to make a cup of coffee." Tony's first and last experiences in Japan had to do with toilets.
     Big flush/little flush and a little fountain over the toilet tank that starts spouting when you flush is the bare minimum a Toto toilet will provide for you. On the fancier models, like those in expensive hotels, there are multiple buttons and levers for water amount and pressure, buttons to heat the seat, start "music" playing (music being "flushing noise" for modest users), and switch to bidet (the symbol on the button is a pair of bare buttocks over what looks like water spouting from a whale). There is also one for "odorization."
     Tony's last experience in Japan was in one of these more elaborate models at the Tokyo Airport. He disappeared into a restroom (toi-reh, toilet) and came out nervous. I happen to know from visiting the ones in the women's toireh that he had had an encounter with a Toto Washlet.
     "I couldn't figure out how to flush it," he confided to me. "I finally stepped on a floor pedal--and an alarm went off." Even as he spoke, a uniformed security guard came running--running!--through the airport lounge where Tony was trying to appear inconspicuous and disappeared into the same restroom.
     "They probably thought you had fallen and were ringing for help," I noted.
     "I did need help," he said disconsolately. "I needed help flushing the toilet." His expression made me giggle.

     Before we got on the plane, Tony called his wife and told her, "See you yesterday!"


  1. This is so funny...lol! I remember my first experience with a "rocket" toilet....I call then rocket toilets because they have about as many buttons as the space shuttle! I remember the first time I used my mother-in-laws "new" toilet...I pushed the button that washes your bottom and got such a shock! I jumped up and the washer kept on spraying.....there was water all over the floor and ME! I her old old house she had an "indoor" outhouse! That was a real shocker to open the toilet door and see...an outhouse toilet!! Yes...Japan and their toilets!

  2. That's too funny! I remember trying to decide if it would be ok to pull my camera out in the bathroom in the Tokyo airport trying to get a picture of that bidet symbol. It had me laughing.

    I can't imagine what it would be like to set off an alarm just by using the toilet!