Legends from our own lunchtimes

Monday, November 12, 2007

Overnight in Japan

Seven or eight hours later we appeared as if by magic, in Narita.

The Nikko Narita Hotel is a nicely sanitised western style or perhaps more correctly international styled hotel which derives almost its entire income from overnight international travellers enroute to somewhere else. It is hardly the place one would go searching for cultural oddities, but when one's culture is as odd as ours, most things Japanese tend to confound us in the nicest possible way.

It seemed strangely far from normal to eat in a Chinese Restaurant in Japan, although Chinese Restaurants are perfectly acceptable in any other country on the globe, one just doesn't think of Japan as an appropriate place for them does one?

The sign in the Hotel Gardens "Be aware of Snake" was barely disconcerting, but would have seemed more appropriate had it been on a used car lot.

The wedding chapel, constructed entirely as a prop, complete with illuminated floor was intriguing.

It was when the time came to unload some of the Shark's Fin, and Cashew Pork with Black Bean sauce that we had the first truly confounding moment.

The WC suite in our room was a flash electric job, with some sort of built in bidet and a set of instructions that would do an airliner proud. It was exactly the model featured as the ultimate contrivance in "Kenny" the movie.

It was fantastic to look at. The very thought that one was staying in a room which featured one of these things in its ensuite made one feel satisfied indeed with one's lot in life.

Very satisfied indeed that is, until one attempted to use the wretched thing.

As soon as it sensed weight on it's seat, it made a whirring sound and threw in a few clicks for good measure, just disconcerting enough to ensure that instead of concentrating on the job in hand, one was compelled to look and see what was going on.

There, in front of one's very eyes, illuminated in bright orange letters were the words: "STAND BY"

So one did.

The process repeated itself each time until eventually there could be no more "Standing By", and a new cloud of desperation descended.

Does anyone out there know where they hide the flush button on those little low electric Japanese WC Cisterns?


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