Day 15 – Friday, 12 April 2024

Finally, a day to do nothing. The road down from the campsite too scary, the distances to everything too far, the lure of bed and book too great. Did nothing. I gather that Anna and the boys went for a couple of walks. Good luck to them, I thought, turning the page on my novel – Yuzuki Asako’s Butter, if you’re interested. Took me a little way to get purchase but I’m just over halfway through now and gripped. It’s terrific.

So, with nothing to report, some observations on Japan, fully aware that all such reveal at least as much about the observer than the observed. First and far and away the most significant, your idea of a toilet is almost certainly rubbish. I would go so far, based on my experiences which have at least touched on every continent except the big white one, that, unless you have used a Japanese toilet, you do not know what a toilet is. You probably imagine that a toilet is piece of plumbing used for the removal of bodily waste from the domestic environment. Your image of a toilet probably does not include a heated seat, two separate bidet functions (back, for everyone, and front, for the half of us whose apparatus tucks in more than dangles out) with five different strength settings, with warm water, if you’re lucky, and in extreme cases a drying function as well. Most of this comes as standard in most Japanese loos. All they lack is a gizmo that gives you a little smooch on one cheek as you stand up to thank you for a jobbie well done.

Doing it right

Second, cars. Japanese cars are cool. By which I do not mean that they are fast, throbbing, overpowered cock-substitutes designed to make eternally adolescent boys with compensation issues feel powerful. I mean that that is precisely what they are not, many of them. They are, to an extent that would be unimaginable in any other society I have visited, small, boxy, slow to accelerate and designed for practical purposes. It is absolutely impossible to imagine anyone wanting to jack one and go for a joyride. You might as well hijack a carousel pony. And I deeply love them and what they say about the Japanese.

Daiki, Raf, Oozaki-san, Kazumi and Anna, translating (probably)

It is not quite true that we did nothing today. Every evening, our perma-solicitous hosts have cooked a meal for us. The first night we broke the ice with Daiki and with Tetsuo. Since then, we have made friends with Oozaki-san and Kazumi. Tonight, our last on site, we tried to strengthen those bonds and, I hope, succeeded. We’ve had a great time here at Luonte and they’re great people.


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