As all of you are aware, there are four women, a dog and only one bathroom on the top floor of the Fukushi house. The bathroom is divided into three sections: the shower/ofuro room, the toilet room, and the in-between space, which houses the sink, mirror and washing machine. Usually, when someone is using the toilet, they just shut the toilet room door and people are free to use the rest of the bathroom. Things get a little trickier when someone is taking a shower, since they usually shut the door to the entire bathroom (this is because the shower/ofuro room is Japanese style (duh) – you strip down before you go in, then take a shower and then come back out and grab your towel). So there are always those tricky moments when you have to pee, but you’re wondering what stage of shower/nakedness the person using the bathroom is in. Naomi and Akemi have told me repeatedly that “Kaori does not care” and that I’m free to go in and out of the bathroom as I need to when Kaori is in the shower. It’s a pretty good system that has only backfired once, when, as I was coming out of the toilet room, Kaori was coming out of the shower. A little awkward, a couple “gomennasai’s” on my part, but overall, not a horrifically embarrassing situation. This morning, however, was really embarrassing, but not on a horrific scale due to the fact that I was not wearing my contacts. Note several sentences back that I said “usually, when someone is using the toilet, they just shut the toilet door…” This morning’s events fell under the category of “not usually,” in that I woke up after a hard night of drinking and dancing, stumbled toward the bathroom, was relieved to find that the door was open a crack and pulled it open completely only to discover Naomi sitting there. After a “bikkurishita!” on her part, the slamming of the door shut and yelling several “gomennasai’s” through the door on my part, I ran back to bed, where I woke Katherine up with my giggling and told the story to her. Luckily, it was funny enough that instead of being mad at me for waking her up, she laughed.
I was washing the dishes for Kaori once and Akemi told me just to leave them. Kaori told her that if I wanted to, I should be allowed to do the dishes because if they tried to be polite and treat me like a guest all the time, then I would act like a guest and I would never think of myself as part of their family (this conversation was, of course, in Japanese at the time and Kaori told me about it later). I really like my host family and so I was very happy to hear that they want me to feel like I am a part of their family. These little bathroom incidences that have the potential of being “big deals” and aren’t, really reinforce that feeling. I mean, it’s one thing if your sister sees you naked or peeing, it’s another if a complete stranger does. And the fact that these things weren’t a big deal means that either Kaori and Naomi are a couple of free-spirited hippies or that they have come to think of me as their sister. Either way, all good things.
In other news, Naomi, Kaori and I are having a root beer float party tonight and I’ve started uploading the next installment of pictures onto Shutterfly. They’ll be ready in about 3 weeks with the way things are going.