I am a worrier…

…and so when I recently found an article posted by the AP announcing that there could be a toilet shortage during a big quake in Tokyo, I worried some more.

The report says that some 810,000 people could be looking for a toilet within the first few hours of such a quake.

I suppose I should also mention that about a 7.3 quake could send 12 million workers scrambling from their office cubicles and could prevent about 7 million of those from returning home.  Upwards of 4.6 million could end up seeking public shelter.

But back to toilets…

I had a bad experience when I was a kid that involved a toilet and two older students peering over the top of my stall, laughing as I anguished in pain from stomach pains.  It wasn’t a very pleasant experience.  In fact, it has essentially scarred me for life — I absolutely fear public restrooms, especially those in the States where stalls and doors don’t go from floor to ceiling.

Did I mention that I’m also a bit of a clean freak (perhaps a borderline OCD-case)?  Yeah, that doesn’t make things any easier for me either.

Fortunately, the public restrooms in Japan tend to be quite clean.  Some places even have pay-toilets that offer facilities that are cleaned on a more frequent basis.  I’ve only been to the pay-toilets at Tokyo Station so I can’t really comment on all of them, but they were nice — less traffic and cleaner than most regular restrooms.  I’ve also heard a lot of good things about Akihabara’s Oasis, but have yet to make use of them.

But I digress…

I love living in Japan.  It was probably the best thing to happen to me.  I do miss the States, but not really enough for me to want to return and live there…  Except perhaps when I hear news about major earthquakes that are supposed to be hitting Tokyo in the near future.

Source: Toilet shortage feared in case of big Tokyo quake

Children’s Day in Japan

Children’s Day is a Japanese National Holiday which takes place on the 5th of May. While it is a holiday for children in general, it is primarily for boys (girls have a day of their own on the 3rd of March called Hina Matsuri).

It is customary to display carp flags, Kintaro dolls, and kabuto (Japanese military helmet), symbols of a strong and healthy boy.

Obama, Japan

Obama LogoThere is a town in Japan named Obama. And the citizens of that town have decided to throw their support behind Barack Obama. The other day the mayor of Obama announced to the media that he received a reply from Mr. Obama thanking the town and mayor for their support and gift.

MSNBC: Obama thanks namesake Japanese town
OBAMA, Japan – Obama has finally thanked Obama.

The fishing town of Obama in central Japan recently won worldwide fame for its fervent support for U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama. The town’s citizens have made headbands, T-shirts and sweet bean cakes decorated with his portrait. The town’s mayor even sent gifts.

Now, on the eve of crucial primaries in Texas and Ohio, the mayor of Obama the town is all smiles after hearing from Obama the man.

To read the rest…

Good Luck Obama!And the town of Obama made more headlines on the news last night as people gathered together to take part in a “Support Obama” function for Mini-Tuesday. Also on the scene were a number of media crews from various countries to see how this little town called Obama is making waves in Japan.

Incidentally, what is the deal on copyright policy for images of people? Has Mr. Obama agreed to allow the town of Obama to use his image and name to sell t-shirts, sweet bean cakes, chopsticks, and hamburgers?

I guess he must be alright with it.

And here is the gift they sent Mr. Obama (the little wooden sculpture, not the woman of course):

Daruma gift to Mr. Obama

On it, are inscribed the Chinese characters 必勝, or “hishyou”, which loosely translates into “certain victory.”

The HillaryOh, and Hillary gets some love from Japan as well.

Canycom (a distributor of carriers, cutters and utility vehicles) decided to re-name their crawler carrier from “hillari” to “Hillary.”  You can see an image of it to the right.

I don’t think Canycom distributes this particular crawler carrier in the US, but I’m sure they’d be more than happy to accommodate.

NOTE: originally posted to my SC blog and then re-published here.