After devouring the sashimi course at Zucchero, during my first meal in Tokyo (which melted in my mouth and left me begging for more), I excused myself to the restroom where I was startled by a toilet seat that lifted itself as I entered. The “Washlet” as its called, is equipped with a motion sensor that raises the lid when a patron enters the stall. 90% of the toilets in Japan are equipped with a Washlet, or similar brand. This small miracle of modern technology is not only capable of raising and lowering itself automatically, which thrills germaphobes like myself, it also provides a perfectly heated, timed, sanitary, and adjustable wash for your bum after business is complete. The heated seat is another standard feature, which is just so luxurious on cold spring mornings. At this moment, the stories about Japan that I'd been hearing for years really hit me, this place is the future. And after ten days of amoebic dysentery in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand, the uber immaculate and super organized environment in Japan was a desperately welcome change.
The extreme degree of Japan's cleanliness can only be matched my its miniaturization of all things designed. Garbage trucks are about half the size of those in the US, cars are smaller, streets are impossibly narrow, and living spaces are equally tiny. Given the landmass is about the size of Florida, while the economy is the second largest in the world, this is not surprising.
After dining with Maggie, Shoko, and Takeru Kobayashi on the second night, we went for drinks at the smallest bar I've ever seen, Peaches. Hichi, the owner and Shoko's boyfriend, sports a comically large afro (I'm told the hair is naturally curly) that fills 5% of the airspace in this bar thats about the size of an American walk in closet. The cover art from the bar's namesake album, Eat a Peach, is wallpapered throughout, echoing a continuous classic rock soundtrack, with the occasional 80s pop remix. Hichi's only exit from behind the microscopic bar, is though a small window, which he leaps through onto the street. He has no room for actual beverage service equipment in Peaches, so each drink is phoned in to order from the bar upstairs and picked up by Hichi, after he leaps through the window. Three rounds of drinks later, and we were lucky enough to experience his flawless Michael Jackson impersonation circa 1984, complete with perfect wrist flicks and leg kicks, though the hair was more mid 70s Jackson.
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