Mellow yellow at work?

“If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”

I think every American knows this rule of thumb of bathroom etiquette. Whether or not they practice it is another matter. In our apartment, our own little slice of America in Japan, we are firm believers in this rule. There is simply no need to waste that much water just to flush every single time you pee. But for those who do flush every single time, this is not a critique. To each their own I say. But I will say that it is one thing to enforce this policy in your own home with the fellow residents of that home; it is an entirely different matter to follow that rule when visiting someone’s home, at work, or any public bathroom. You should never let it mellow when it is not your own bathroom. And if you know that guests are coming over to your house, that rule should be temporarily suspended and the toilet flushed before your guests arrive. It is simply common courtesy.

Unfortunately for me, I met with an infraction in the practice of common courtesy today at work. I went to the bathroom and the stall I entered had not been flushed, allowing me to see some stranger’s pee in the toilet. Fortunately, I was not too grossed out. I just went to the bathroom and then flushed as one should do. But, why would someone do that? It’s completely gross and a little disturbing I think.

And this is not the first time that I’ve encountered an unflushed public toilet in my life. I am sure that for most of you, you have also come across public bathrooms where the toilet wasn’t flushed by its last user. Well, for guys actually, I have no idea what the rule is for urinals. If someone would please inform me, I would be happy to learn what is and isn’t appropriate. Anyway, why is it that people can’t always seem to flush after they use public restrooms? I mean, you don’t even have to touch the flusher if that’s what you’re worried about all of you non-flushers out there. Just use the bottom of your foot. Just think how you would feel if you came across some stranger’s pee in the toilet you were about to use. Not so cool right? Yeah, that’s what I thought. I really would like to figure out what kind of person does that because I always, always, always flush in public restrooms. It would be completely disgusting not to!

So, if you happen to catch a non-flusher in the act, perform a citizen’s arrest or something because I know that I will be doing the same here in Japan. Although, the results might be a bit more comedic as I try to explain in very bad Japanese why they are in such big trouble. “In toilet…you…small size…didn’t finish…BAD!” Haha! I just laugh thinking about it because that’s exactly how my Japanese would go. Next mission, learn how to say ‘to flush’ in Japanese.

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September Blues

Since I’ve moved to Japan, September has become a very strange month for me. I have a big image clash between American September and Japanese September. In America, September is the beginning of new things. The new school year is starting; the weather is getting cooler; a new season of sports is starting. September just feels like a much needed change, a good energy kick to cut the monotony of the year that has started to drag. Japan, on the other hand, doesn’t feel the influence of September half as strongly.

The biggest difference between the two is the school year. Japan starts their school year in April, so right away September loses much of its appeal. Though all Japanese students have a summer vacation, they don’t have the big three monther that Americans do, so it doesn’t feel like a significant change to go back to school after summer vacation.

As for the weather, in Nagoya at least, September is just a continuation of summer. It’s still hot and sunny most days. Sometimes the nights get cooler, but it really just depends on the day. The leaves don’t change color until October and November.

And sports? Yeah, right. Again, the school year has a big effect on sports. In high school and college, sports are actually clubs that you join, so there are no seasons for sports. They’re year-round activities. Of course, there’s a peak season for games, but you only really feel that influence in baseball, Japan’s big pro sport. As for basketball, football, and soccer- of course there are pro teams in Japan, but their popularity is very limited. There’s no frenzy as the nation gets ready for the start of the football season every fall. Not that I can complain about that one, not being a big football fan myself. But it does make a big difference in general feeling when the entire country only gears up once a year for only one sport.

So, September has become a strange month for me. It used to fly by back when I lived in America. Now, September has just become another ordinary month, where the days just drag by without any great break in the schedule. Even though it is the last week of the month, it feels a lot longer than one month has passed since my birthday.

Frequent Flier

I finally bought my plane ticket home for Christmas vacation! Yay! This year- Christmas in Ohio, New Years in Vegas.

Ive gotten pretty accustomed to making these long flights across the Pacific and this time around when I was booking my ticket, twenty-one hours total flight time (including layovers) just didnt even phase me. I know that for all of you, this probably does seem a bit shocking. But I guess thats what happens when you become a world traveler. Well, not that flying strictly between Japan and America counts as world traveling. After all, it is only two countries. But still, I now know exactly what I do and do not need for such long flights, which international terminals give the best and worst service, and how to navigate through both Detroit and LAX airports, both of which are horrific, and happen to be in my itinerary this time around. No avoiding it sometimes I guess. So, now just the countdown to winter vacation remains.

Silver Week

Throughout fall in Japan, there are several national holidays. Once every thirty-five years, those holidays come together consecutively to make one mega fall holiday now known as Silver Week. And as you might have guessed, Silver Week is this year! It started today, Monday, and lasts through Wednesday.

Unfortunately, I dont have any big travel plans for Silver Week, but it is entirely my own fualt. I kept thinking that Silver Week was a ways away, until it became Saturday and it finally clicked in my brain that I had the next few days off. But even then, as I was talking to my roommate Jenny about my meal plans for Silver Week, I figured that since I was working on Monday, I couldnt make the lunch that I had wanted. Yeah, I am not working on Monday.

So, instead of traveling the country, I had some good plans to relax, watch movies, so to Starbucks, and lots of other fun thigns that I just dont seem to have time to do during a regular week. And one of those things also included sleeping in. Last night, I told Jenny that I was planning on sleeping in. I set my alarm for ten and snuggled in to have a good, long nights rest. I woke up at 845, wide awake with absolutely no chance of going back to bed! Suck to being an adult with a normal persons schedule! Sometimes I long for college days where you could totally sleep for twelve hours at a time and nto feel the effects negatively. But, getting up early did give me a chance to call friends and family, so I guess that I cant complain too much.

Now, I am off to enjoy my Silver Week. Today-movie, Starbucks, and possibly checking out new cell phones.

Barbeque

During summer vacation, some co-workers and I had a barbeque to celebrate summer and summer birthdays. I finally got around to taking the pictures off of my camera , so enjoy these pictures. I love yakiniku! Then later the boys played some kind of zombie video game while the girls watched and ate cake.

The Sounds of Construction

This week they started doing construction work on the apartment building next door. I’m not reaDSC01453lly sure what they’re doing, but I do know that it will be for the next four months. So far this week, they’re just putting up scaffolding. When it first started, I thought it was one of the most annoying sounds, especially when it woke me up well before my alarm was supposed to. But now, a week in, I’ve sort of gotten used to it. I kind of like waking up to the banging and chatting of the workers. And it is actually pretty interesting to watch them work.

DSC01454And unlike construction workers in the states, these guys don’t spend any time cat calling girls who walk by. Actually, they’re pretty friendly. Sometimes when I walk by and they’re on lunch break or something, they’ll say hello. But that’s it, just a friendly hello, the same as I might get from a neighbor.  And I can hear them talking every morning and all they talk about while they’re working are work things. Okay, they also talk about lunch-when it is and what they’re going to eat, but who doesn’t do that?

But take a look at these crazy outfits that they wear. I don’t know how well you can see them in the pictures, but they wear these big poofy pants that kind of remind me of a mix between genie pants and MC Hammer pants. I can’t imagine them being safe to work in, but apparently they work because it’s the official uniform in various colors. They also wear these soft boots. Maybe they’re easier to use when scaling scaffolding.  DSC01455While Jen and I were watching them yesterday, we couldn’t actually remember what construction workers in the states wear to work. We finally decided on cargo pants and upon further thought, flannel shirts and boots also come to mind as a stereotypical image. It’s funny the things that you start forgetting after a while.