Goooood morning, MyWordVom.com! I’ve just returned fresh off a twelve hour flight followed by a four-and-a-half hour layover and a swift two-hour connecting flight followed by an hour-long taxi from the airport to home. Fresh as soft cheese in the refrigerator door, that’s what I am.
Anyways, I’m home from the land of tamagotchis and Jigglypuff, AKA Japan! I had an incredible time, but I just couldn’t stay away. My crippling lack of mastery in Japanese had no bearing on my desire to return. Neither did my non-refundable return ticket. I came back on my own free will, y’all. I came back for you.
Now, don’t get all weird with my effusive sentiment. I just crossed through nine different time zones to reunite with you, and I’d do it all again in a damn heartbeat. Don’t believe me? I expected that, so I’ve graciously decided to keep my body clock on Eastern time and have awaken bleary-eyed at the ungodly hour of four o’clock in the a.m. to prove how much I missed you.
Now, let’s talk about how amazing Japan is as a nation. I get the feeling their brilliance hasn’t been fairly recognized on a world-wide scale, and their humility as a people is just not helping matters. Allow me to lend my nation pride to describe five ways they’re straight up handing our asses to us on the daily:
- Toilets – History time, y’all. An Englishman invented the flush toilet in 1596, revolutionizing the potty process. Other nations potty differently, but I’ll spare you the details and just say “hole in the floor.” To this day in Japan, it’s still considered a “Western-style” toilet when you conduct your business on a bowl complete with a flusher, valve, ballcock (teehee), and the like. Some locals still aren’t used to the ballcock-yielding machines, rendering it necessary to have some photo descriptors of how to use. See right.
Now, just how are they beating us in the art of the potty process, you ask? We invented the damn things. True, but we’ve been resting on our laurels ever since. Meanwhile, they’ve been innovating. With music. Our flat in Tokyo had a toilet that serenaded us with Mozart. He also flipped open his lid invitingly when we opened the door and heated his seat in expectation of our arrival. Some others chirp like birds, and others grace you with the delightful noises of running water if you’re gun-shy. It’s brilliant.
- Bath tubs – I promise this post isn’t just about the appliances of the most sacred room in the home, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the goddamn brilliance of the tubs in Japan. Ever struggled to get the temp right and suffered through a bath that’s skin-scorchingly hot or lukewarm at best? Of course you have. Ever forgotten you’re running a bath until the water is one slosh away from flooding the bathroom? We’ve all been there, in the Western world. Not in Japan. They have machines that automatically fill to your desired temperature. The machine chirps to give you a 5 minute warning when it’s nearly filled. Then, it sings when it’s done, but the fun doesn’t end there. There is a reheat button, so in case it gets lukewarm midway through your soak you can rectify like a boss. This is the future, y’all.
- Efficiency – Stuff just works in Japan. Their trains run on time. They have public wifi and underground wifi. Their taxis all take credit cards. Maybe it’s the constant threat of a robot uprising, but I applaud their commitment to readily-available and efficient
technology. They are kicking our asses here.
- Comfort – Now, living quarters are small in Japan. They invented the futon, and have been known to sleep on said futon mattress on the floor. How exactly are they beating us in comfort, you ask? I’ll tell you – shoe removal. Your large homes are but an illusion of comfort, Westerners. It’s all about the bare feet in public. What are shoes but a prison for the feet? Japan recognizes this. They are all about the shoe removal at restaurants, in homes and in temples. It’s SO great. Removing one’s shoes is liberating, fun, and allows you to show off the underdog of the footwear realm – your socks. I’m a fan.
- Foreign food – I won’t waste your time by touting the deliciousness of sushi, ramen, dumplings, and the like. You get it. They’ve crossed over to the West, and we’ve embraced them with open arms. What you may not realize is how equipped they are to make our food better than we do. It all comes down to Kaizen, or the
philosophy of continuous improvement. They dedicate themselves to mastery, which is how we ended up eating pizza that is as good as you can get in Brooklyn in Tokyo. They even took the NYC attitude to heart and allowed for no substitutions – you either get margherita pizza or marinara. No toppings whatsoever. They do us better than we do. It’s amazing.
So there you have it. I effing love that country, you guys. May they continue to win and provide a crystal ball into the future of how evolved the rest of the world can hope to become. Rock on, Japan.