08 January 2014

Random Amusements in Japan

Oops, no Taiwan yet. I first want to share some things that amused me in Japan.

I have to mention that we saw a policeman in full uniform, wearing a surgical mask. Somehow I couldn't imagine taking him seriously with that mask on. I guess I'm still not quite used to masks.

Cool stairs in Tokyo photo 2013-12-20111020_zps0c7c307d.jpg
Cool stairs in Tokyo (near Shinjuku Gyoen Garden).

Claire Wearing My Reindeer Headband photo 2013-12-20IMG_4400_zpsea3bf5e3.jpg
Claire had no qualms about wearing the reindeer headband Michael bought for me at HULT.

Claire loving on an old shiba inu photo 2013-12-20151544_zps5a25b950.jpg
It was also cute how Claire fell in love with every shiba inu we ran into. I guess that's how I am with Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Soldier Running Way at Matsumoto Castle photo 2013-12-20DSC00281_zps986cc4d1.jpg
These dropped, extra-wide hallways were made for soldiers in full armor to run along at Matsumoto Castle.

Mastumoto Castle Steep Stairs photo 2013-12-20DSC00297_zps967b6747.jpg

Matsumoto Castle photo 2013-12-2015IMG_4582_zps912be5e0.jpg
And somehow the soldiers also quickly made it up and down these steep stairs that made us sore the next day.

Matsumoto Sign photo 2013-12-20DSC00300_zps3134ccc6.jpg
Warning sign at Matsumoto Castle.

Warm Corn Soup Straight from the Machine photo 2013-12-20IMG_4409_zps165062e5.jpg
Michael and Claire happily introduced me to warm soup and hot chocolate from vending machines.

Warm Things from Vending Machines photo 2013-12-22IMG_4777_zps1bd78fac.jpg
That introduction, and the extreme cold, led me to this. Heated earmuffs from a vending machine.

Leaves on a Sign About Leaves photo 2013-12-20IMG_4433_zps091203af.jpg
Leaves on a sign about leaves in Shinjuku Gyoen Park in Tokyo.

Big Doors at Matsumoto Castle photo 2013-12-20IMG_4500_zps2cc1b8dc.jpg

Big Doors at Matsumoto Castle photo 2013-12-20IMG_4501_zps86488fb3.jpg
I think I want big doors like this on my house--it'll keep things quiet.

Super Old Apple Computer photo 2013-12-20IMG_4603_zps02f6bab8.jpg
I can't believe this thing is still running at a Matsumoto Tourist Office. iBook G4.

I couldn't well leave toilets out of my accounts of Japan, could I? Like a friend said on Facebook, you never know what you're going to find behind a bathroom door in Japan.

Toilet Fun! photo 2013-12-20IMG_4617_zpsa45021c3.jpg
There are usually big flushes and little flushes (indicated by the same Chinese characters used for "big" and "small") and a whole bunch of bidet options I don't understand. My favorite, though, is the really loud flushing sound to drown out your own sounds--it reminded me of my friend Tanya, who likes to let water run while she's in public bathrooms so people don't hear her (sorry if that's embarrassing Tanya, I think it's awesome).

Kid Holder photo 2013-12-20IMG_4618_zps45dc3e70.jpg
Each stall at this place had a kid holder so you can do your business in peace. I like that.

Safety Bar and Sanitizer photo 2013-12-20IMG_4619_zps10c33202.jpg
Safety bar and sanitizer.

Changing Table photo 2013-12-20IMG_4620_zpse81aaeb8.jpg
Changing table for kids, yay!

Short Urinal for Male Kids Who Join Women in the Bathroom photo 2013-12-20IMG_4621_zps95f691ba.jpg
A short urinal for male kids who join women in the restroom.

The Men's Room is Kid-Friendly, Too! photo 2013-12-20IMG_4622_zps4a3aed64.jpg
The men's restroom was kid-friendly, too! That. is. so. awesome. I've always felt bad that a lot of times, dads aren't expected to help care for their children, so they don't receive the same kind of consideration when designing buildings. (Now for baby-feeding rooms or even just seats instead of just breastfeeding rooms--I think those rooms should be more for the quiet and because it's hard to hold up a baby for a long time without sitting than because people are afraid of seeing or showing breasts--not to mention that not every woman can or chooses to breastfeed.)

And then after all of this advanced toilet awesomeness, there were places with squat toilets. And here's where my graphic rant begins.

Squat toilets: they make no sense to me. Just because they're "traditional" doesn't mean they're something that should be continued after something better has been invented. The floor around squat toilets is always covered with liquid that I don't want to think about but that I have to stand on, I have to hold up my pants or skirts so they don't get wet from the floor, I have to hold myself up so I don't slip if I want to squat enough to not dirty my own pants and shoes, and that leaves no hands to grab toilet paper, so something always has to give. And for some reason, the restrooms with squat toilets are less likely to have toilet paper or soap. What the heck? It's at least got to be one or the other, right? Claire told me that she heard a doctor say that the squatting position is supposed to be more natural and easy for bowel movements, but even if that's true, that's not a reason not to have at least some kind of thing coming a bit off the floor to catch the stray streams and solve a couple of the problems. Women's bodies aren't exactly the best at aiming, you know. Combine stray streams with all those ridges for grip on the floor, and it can't possibly be easier to clean them.

Continuing right along . . .

Prettified Car Seat photo 2013-12-21IMG_4624_zps871bfc02.jpg
Car seats apparently need prettifying. Also, notice that he's not driving. I didn't realize that cars drive on the left in Japan.

Nakatsugawa "Mary Christmas" Market 
photo 2013-12-21090949_zps8ae3268a.jpg
Mary Christmas.

Even the Poop is Cute in Japan photo 2013-12-21102818_zps5d260e45.jpg
Even the poop is cute in Japan.

 KitKat Sandwich photo 2013-12-21104743_zpsefbbf2e8.jpg
KitKat sandwich.

Santa! photo 2013-12-22104303_zps1c823e39.jpg
Dancing Santa!

Japanese Raccoon Dogs (Tanuki) photo 2013-12-22112026_zpsac08f91d.jpg 

Japanese Raccoon Dogs (Tanuki) photo 2013-12-22113500_zps1dd45a20.jpg
Japanese Raccoon Dog (Tanuki) statues.

Crocs for Hikers in Heels photo 2013-12-22123234_zps36ff1b3a.jpg
In case some high heel-wearing visitors want to hike to the monkeys, Crocs are provided.

This is Not Only a Monkey photo 2013-12-22124122_zpsa74f9d09.jpg
"The monkey park is not only a monkey."

Errrrr Monkey at Iwatayama photo 2013-12-21220433_zpsd2d7f05a.jpg
We think this monkey . . .

Ahhhh Monkey at Iwatayama photo 2013-12-21220749_zps0732bbd5.jpg
was reacting to this looking monkey. Maybe some memes are in order? Ideas for captions?

"Get it Off Today" photo 2013-12-21IMG_4776_zps4a8de9e4.jpg
"Get it off today!"

Silly Putty People photo 2013-12-22DSC00437_zps264846a5.jpg
Watch out for silly putty people.

Mushu! photo 2013-12-22IMG_4779_zpsa03ff51a.jpg
How did Mushu end up in Japan?!?

Leftover of Drinks Disposal! photo 2013-12-22IMG_4782_zpsedf6daf7.jpg
Clever leftover drink disposal.

Baby, Bear(?), Handicapped photo 2013-12-22IMG_4783_zps72994af5.jpg
Babies, handicapped people, and . . . bears?

One of the Least Naughty Pictures at the Gion Okonomiyaki Place photo 2013-12-22IMG_4788_zpsbe9ec1ce.jpg
This is one of the least naughty pictures at the Gion Okonomiyaki Place where we met Nancy.

Felt Play Sushi photo 2013-12-22IMG_4805_zps8687f23a.jpg
Felt play sushi exists!

Comfortable Hina May Green Boots photo 2013-12-22IMG_4811_zpsd43980b5.jpg
I should have bought these Hina May Green boots because they're the only comfortable ones I've found for my problematic feet. As a guilty consumer, one evening to decide is just not enough, especially when there's a weird sole to get over.

Reversible Bow Skirt photo 2013-12-22IMG_4812_zpsfb95800a.jpg
I loved this skirt, and then I found another skirt on the rack that had tulle below the top layer, and then I was super excited because I realized they were the same reversible skirt. Heidi.

This is Gas photo 2013-12-22IMG_4818_zpsdd9029b5.jpg
This is gas.

Ordering Via Machine photo 2013-12-22IMG_4819_zps677ef77d.jpg
Some restaurants let you order using a machine at the door.

Dog Suit photo 2013-12-22IMG_7570_zps994b7504.jpg
Get your matching dog pajamas today.

Deer Drinking from a Deer Bucket photo 2013-12-22183943_zps349246e2.jpg
A deer drinking from a deer bucket.

Deer Warning photo 2013-12-22185127_zps30ba62c1.jpg
Best deer warning ever.

Deer biting a chain in Nara, Japan photo 2013-12-23095131_zpsb7b38c0b.jpg
This deer must have been teething.

Clean Tracks photo 2013-12-23113614_zpsaaeb5788.jpg
As I said, clean. (There's hardly even a cigarette butt or leaf in there!)

Walking a Cat photo 2013-12-23193244_zpsd547525b.jpg
Walking a cat in Hiroshima.

Guilt-Trip Story About Backpacks photo 2013-12-23221221_zps50566bb4.jpg
Guilt-trip story for backpackers.

Guilt-Trip Story About Cigarette Butts photo 2013-12-23221249_zpsc387f783.jpg
Guilt-trip story about cigarette butts (seen on a train).

The Crazy Ones photo 2013-12-23231316_zps9c2b0bc5.jpg
One stone dragon/dog thingy looked serious, one looked crazy, like Ed on Lion King. I couldn't help but thing of that "that one crazy friend" meme.

Not Sure What's Happening. Matsumoto photo 2013-12-20IMG_7342_zps736b7ac5.jpg
What we do while waiting for food.

Done with Being Photographed photo 2013-12-21IMG_4736_zpsd3401c88.jpg
What I do when I get sick of Michael photographing me.

Pagoda Line-up photo 2013-12-23234523_zps8ecb5e09.jpg
In case you were wondering if ancient Pagoda corners line up perfectly.

 photo 2013-12-23234800_zps0ee9c95e.jpg
After the zillionth picture of this pagoda, someone (ahem, me) got bored. Michael loved the peace sign so much that he started requesting it.

Giant Paddle Thing photo 2013-12-24002743_zps700aa226.jpg
Like when we saw this giant paddle thing.

Huge Paddle in Miyajima Village photo 2013-12-24003127_zps1ab2ede5.jpg

Really Giant Paddle Thing photo 2013-12-24002744_zps96d49781.jpg
And when we saw the giant of all giant paddle things.

Michelle photobombing a deer in Miyajima photo 2013-12-24003603_zpse15beffa-1.jpg
I just had to include the deer photobombing again.

Oh Deer (You Can't Hide Your Food) photo 2013-12-24003903_zpsdded8bfd.jpg
You can't hide your food from these deer. I watched this woman have to walk into a hotel to get away from the deer, which patiently waited for her to come out so it could check for remaining crumbs.

Worshipping the Heat photo 2013-12-24021533_zpsd3008931.jpg
It may look like I'm worshiping the boy-band looking boys, but really I'm worshiping the heat coming out of the heater above them. Oh, the joy.

Michael Photographing photo 2013-12-24160043_zps91c72ce1.jpg
Sometimes I like to take photographs of the photographer. It's nice that I can wander around enjoying things while he takes good shots for my blog. This time, I had two really good photographers with me. Fabulous. Thanks to Michael and Claire!

If Japan isn't on your list of places to visit, I'd highly suggest you add it now. 

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