Kaya pala ang baho! Si Totoy talaga, pagkatapos umebak, huhugasan na lang ang kanyang puwit with the magic tabo at biglang may-I-leave the room na lang. Kawawa naman ang susunod na gagamit sa toilet. Hindi lang mabaho, meron pang hindi kanais-nais na itsura na natitira. Kadiri naman.
“Eh, kasi po, walang tubig,” depensa ni Totoy. Paano ka nga mag-pa-flush kung kulang o walang tubig. Ito ay isang malaking suliranin sa mga kasilyas natin sa Pinas. Wala ng tubig, wala pang toilet paper. Mabaho pa at napakarumi. Karamihan, wala pang pinto ang mga cubicle sa mga public places. Paano ka naman e-ebak kung kitang-kita ka ng madlang pipol?
3 years ago when I went home, I was in Greenbelt area to meet some friends. Kumain kami sa isang food area ng isang department store. After eating, bigla akong tinawag ng kalikasan, as in call of nature. So dumeretso ako sa CR. Pagkarating ko sa loob, ang unang-una kong hinanap ay ang mahiwagang papel ng buhay. Nawawala. Importante pa naman iyon. Di mo pwedeng gawin ang dapat mong gawin kung wala iyon. So, balik ako sa restaurant at humingi ako ng napkin sa waiter. Napakatipid niya! Binigyan ako ng tatlong piraso. Baka akala niya ay gagamitin kong pang-retouch ng make-up eh hindi naman ako nag-me-make-up. Binigyan pa ako ng konti kaya austerity is the name of the game. Magtitipid na lang ako. I will make do of whatever is available. Buti na lang at hindi “wet explosion” ang nangyari sa loob. Kung hindi, kulang pa ang isang box ng tissue paper. If ever, one has to take a shower after that kind of explosion. Para malinis, siempre!
Ewan ko ba kung bakit tinawag na CR or comfort room ang mga toilet sa Pinas. Actually, I don’t see anything comfortable. Do you? Meron ba? Minsan, sa dumi, ayokong umupo. Kung kailangan pang mag-tiis, I would have to carry the cross. Pero kung talagang oras na at napakarumi ng silya ng buhay, uupo ka ba? Isang maselan na problema. Ang dapat ilabas, dapat lang lumabas na. Kung hindi, magkakasakit ka pa. I will be honest with you. If this is the case, I don’t sit. I squat. This is what I have learned from the seatless Japanese toilets called WASHIKI.
Siguro, naranasan niyo na ang mga seatless Japanese toilets. Sa mga probinsiya, marami pa ang mga ito. Sa Tokyo, bihira na lang makikita sa mga bagong ginagawang condo. Usually, kung nakatira ka sa lumang apartment, ang toilet ninyo ay WASHIKI. Sa mga department stores and train stations din, they provide options of having both the western style toilets and Japanese squat toilets.
My American friend hates these Japanese style toilets. “How do Japanese do their thing there?” he wonders. Namumulikat daw ang mga paa niya. At nalulukot daw ang bagong dry-cleaned na pantalon niya. So sabi ni Joe, hinuhubaran niya ang kanyang pantalon at sinasabit ito sa pinto. Hayan ang kanyang sikreto. Isang half-naked gaijin inside!
Wika ng mga kaibigan kong Hapon, very hygienic daw ang WASHIKI due to the lack of contact with the seat. In addition, a number of medical benefits are attributed to the squat toilets. Squatting strengthens the pelvic muscles sa mga babae which helps with incontinence or problema sa pag-ihi. Furthermore, this kind of toilet builds up strength in the hips and improves breathing and concentration. This kind of squatting position also allows wastes to be eliminated quickly and completely. Kaya this is very good for people who suffers from hemorrhoids. Assuming and maintaining a squatting position on a regular basis may also help maintain the flexibility of the knees. Doc, OK ito ahh?!
Pero given a choice, I would still choose the western style toilet. Lalung-lalo na ngayon, we have the super toilets equipped with the latest high-tech computerized toilet seats. In Japan, they are commonly known as WASHLET. The seats get warm during the winter season. A nozzle comes out and squirts and sprays water to wash the anus or bidet. The water is also adjustable according to strength and it also has options that can give you massage. There is a nice water flowing sound or music that plays to cover up whatever noise you are creating. There is a built-in deodorizer to remove whatever odor you are producing. And after you are done with your job, you don’t even need to flush it. Everything is automatic. Just put on your pants, zip it up and leave. Now that’s what I call COMFORT, with all capital letters!
I was watching a Japanese program on TV. Do you know kung ano ang pinakamabentang Japanese product sa mga tourists especially the rich Chinese? Computer! Nope. TV? Chigau. Cell phone? Uh-uh. Camera? Nah. Game machines? Ie. Hindi po. It’s the Japanese WASHLET! It’s so popular among the Chinese that droves of them come here just to get the latest one with them to China. A washlet in Akihabara costs about 30,000 yen to 50,000 yen depending on the brand and features.
Mag-ingat lang po sa pag-push ng mga buttons. Ibang button ang sa harap at sa likod. Kung lalake kayo, don’t try pushing the button for the front part. You will get surprised! One time, my friend pushed one button. He said he thought it was the flush button. Ngayon, it turned out he pushed the emergency button. Kinatok bigla siya ng tatlong security guards. Mag-ingat lang po at baka ibang klase naman ang kakatok sa inyo.
SHOGANAI: GAIJIN LIFE
By Abie Principe
Speaking of Senbei
Senbei (煎餅)- a type of Japanese rice crackers. They come in various shapes, sizes, and flavors, usually savory but sometimes sweet. Senbeis are often eaten with green tea as a casual snack and offered to visiting house guests as a courtesy refreshment. Senbeis are usually cooked by being baked or grilled, traditionally over charcoal. While being prepared they may be brushed with a flavoring sauce, often one made of soy sauce and mirin. They may then be wrapped with a layer of nori. Alternatively they may be flavored with salt or so-called "salad" flavoring. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senbei )
My first encounter with senbei was when I was still a graduate student in Nagoya. From the university, I went back to the dormitory, and in the lobby, on the table in front of the TV, was a box of, what I was later to learn, senbei. Some nice ladies who were helping students learn Japanese left it there for everyone. There was even a note beside the box “Take Free,” at that time the note made me smile, but that was before I realized it wasn't a joke.
But back to the little crunchy snacks.
The ones I saw were individually wrapped, and looked like brown bread, except when I got one, it was not soft. But the thing is, for some reasons, they reminded me of some cookie-like snacks we have in the Philippines (think ampaw). So I opened one, fully expecting to taste something sweet. Imagine my surprise, or more like chagrin, when I bit into something that tasted like burned rice with soy sauce. Well, that was truly an eye-opener as to what most Japanese people refer to as “snacks.”
The thing about senbeis is that they are unavoidable. Most Japanese people will give you some kind of senbei at some point of your life here, and often they wait eagerly as you open the package and take a bite. We cannot but help to incorporate the ubiquitous senbei in our daily life in Japan. Strangely enough, once you start eating, senbeis actually kind of grow on you, in a purely figurative sense of course. The longer you stay in Japan, the more you notice that you are actually liking those crunchy, soy sauce flavored crackers. And once you find yourself actually looking at the various senbeis in the supermarket, trying to find that one brand you like, then that is a sure sign that you have been in Japan longer than most. My personal favorite, senbeis wrapped in nori. Happy snacking!