It really is a different world here, in Japan.
I already knew vaguely about bathing in the home, and I had experienced the onsen system of public bathing, but I had never been in someone’s home for it all.
This week, I had one friend talk me through how to shower (per my request) when I stayed with her at her apartment, I had an old coworker explain to me how bathing worked (also per my request) when I was staying at her house with her and her two girls, and then I again had an opportunity to bathe at the house of my old host family.
(Yes, “host family” suggests that I lived with them, but it was just a one-weekend homestay, and they took me to an onsen, so I never used their bathroom.)
I now know how it all works, however, I wasn’t too interested in the bath part, for various reasons, and so I simply did the showering portion of the bathing, and continued on my way to bed.
And, what’s cool to me about that is how I went ahead and told my host family that I usually just shower.
They were shocked, because, well, it’s winter and is therefore cold here.
However, I explained that it is quick, and I prefer showering, and they were okay with it.
My friend who had explained the showering to me the other day actually has a feature in her bathroom that blows warm air when you turn it on, so you can shower and not get cold (because you really don’t leave the water running for showers*, so it can get really cold soaping up after the hot water isn’t pouring all over your body anymore), which I found to be really cool, but simultaneously really silly.
So Japanese, really.
Also, I have noticed that everyone leaves food out, during the day or overnight…
My guess is that it is because it is wintertime, and so, here anyway, it is very dry and there aren’t really any bugs at all.
I think they would be surprised with Houston’s winters… and possibly would wonder when winter was going to start, and wonder what happened to the winter months when it is suddenly February and the weather still feels like early October… 😛
My old coworker said to me that she can tell I am very 元気 genki (healthy and well and filled with energy) now, and that she is glad for it, that it makes her very happy.
I told her that I believe Texas (Houston) agrees with me very well… thus my being very well.
And it is true: living in Houston agrees with me.
Living in Japan did not.
It broke me down.
Fortunately, I have distinction enough to acknowledge when there is breakdown on my life, and so worked through the total breakdown of myself and my life, resulting in the greatest breakthrough of my life… something for which I likely will be ever grateful.
I am who I am today in huge part due to my time – my horrible, miserable, pain-filled and stress-filled time – in Japan.
And who I am today is someone I love being.
Frankly, she is amazing.
For one thing, everyone lives touching her muscles. ;P
For another, she emits genkiness, the spirit of life, delight at being alive.
And those are both ways I have wanted to be for many, many years…
She is also grateful and graceful.
Double plus there.
I am proud to be the excited, learning being that I am today, and I am grateful for the opportunity to live this life, as well as the opportunity to become the ever-better version of myself that each moment of the future holds for me.
I am here to share my gifts with the world, those gifts that God has given me, and I am finally taking care of myself so that I can do that truly, wholly, and not just in part.
No, I am not sharing them perfectly every moment of every day and night – I don’t believe that I ever will do that.
However, I am sharing them perfectly for who I am and where I am right now, and that, in and of itself, is perfect.
So, tangent coming to a close, thank you, Japan, for being this absurdly different world that only agrees with me on short-term visits, and that pushes almost all my buttons… like every day. 😉
I am grateful for all that you have so far shared with me, and I look forward to our future interactions and exchanges together.
I hope I have offered and will offer in kind. 🙂
For now, Oyasumi, goodnight.
*Oftentimes, at onsen, I have seen (and therefore now do myself sometimes) women sitting on the shower stools, using one foot to keep the water button pushed in while washing, so the water stays on for more than ten seconds at a time – so it runs continuously – and they don’t ever have to feel cold while sitting there, showering.
P.S. I only just realized that I need to be putting 2020 on here now… oops…