One of my NY resolutions was to learn more about Japanese culture, since we discovered that we are sorta "Otaku"s (Japanese for any sort of geek- but a true Otaku carries it to such an extreme they lack social skills) Todays lessons are about the inner and outer self. The outer self is polite and self effacing. There is a distinction between outer and inner selves such that many Japanese wear surgical masks when out side (We found a silk Hello Kitty mask for about $30) The mask is removed when entering a house or school. Shoes are removed and slippers put on. Many people gargle when entering the house. Yesterdays lessons was about the bathroom. A traditional Japanese bath is a small deep tub. One soaps and rinses outside the tub and then soaks in very hot water. To get soap in the bath tub is considered very bad manners. There are public bathhouses since some rooms or apartments don't have bathrooms. You can purchase toiletries and rent towels from the attendants. VERY IMPORTANT- there are seperate BATHROOM slippers to wear to the bathroom. In a private house they kept right outside the bathroom. If the bathroom slippers are missing it means the bathroom is occupied. Traditional Japanese toilets are a slit that one squats over. One faces the toilet in Japan, one doesn't turn one's back on it as one does in the West. The Japanese view someone who forgets to take off their bathroom slippers and wears them out into the rest of the house with horrified amusement. Somewhat worse then us regarding walking out of a restroom with our skirt tucked up in our waistband and our bloomers showing. Saturday I was camping. Thursday lesson involved Japanese appliances. Two washing machine manufacturers are Sanyo and Haier. I get their products mixed up. One has produced a washer that has a no-water cycle. Lightly soiled or non wettable items are cleansed by being tumbled and ozonated (no reports on deletorius respiratory effects from the ozone) The other has produced a combo washer/dryer/air conditioner. Where Western dryers heat their dry air, this combo supercools and dehumidifies the air. Supposedly in one hour it can lower ambient room temps from 30C to 25 C. If I remeber my conversions, that would be about 88F to 77F? I just figured inquiring minds would want to know!!