This was another first for the cruise line, along with Dutch Harbor. I liked checking out this little port town. We basically walked around, looking at regular people living their lives. It was refreshing and more real than life on the ship or the bigger cities with the high fashion and ridiculous dogs. There was a run-down little mall, a sort of rusted, worn version of the mall at Kobe. The narrow streets were beautiful, full of children and laundry and elderly neighbors passing the time. There were shrines tucked into little spaces here and there.
This was my favorite shrine. It was in the middle of an alley neighborhood, tucked under a large rock in a hill.
The alleys got very narrow and we could peek into the houses. Shoes were neatly set out in small entryways, people were cooking, a couple of kids played in the alleys. We got some smiles and “hello”s in English and Japanese “kanichiwa”. People bowed a lot and we bowed back, which was so endearing. Maybe I’m stereotyping or I’ve been on the East Coast US too long, but the place seemed so safe and quiet, and everyone seemed so genuinely nice! After walking around for a few hours, we walked back to the ship for our last night onboard.
It would be remiss not to say something on this subject. Two words: control panels. Yes, these toilets have so many options you’d never imagine you’d need in a toileting situation. The very few we figured out are: heated seat controls, recorded flush noises (to mask the embarrassing noises of actually using the toilet, we think), and bidet services. What else could you possibly use while you’re on the john?? Like learning other things about life in Japan, alas, we had so little time and could only ponder the possibilities. Apologies, some pics are fuzzy, I blame being rushed, uneven lighting, and generally feeling weird about taking pics in a public bathroom!
Below: squattie or potty? The choice is yours! I felt as proud as a potty-trained toddler after my first successful use of the squattie!
For the uninitiated, there is a lot of info out there on squat toilets. The most interesting thing to me is that they are supposed to be better for the mechanics of the human GI tract than western-style seat toilets.
That’s all for Japan. Next stop, China! And- terrifying but true-the Fantastics have to fend for themselves without the cruise ship staff!! What will happen?? Stay tuned!