-The bath. Most modern apartments have the Japanese style “o-furo” instead of a regular shower. It’s actually cooler than a shower, once you figure out how to use it. Basically, there’s a tub and a shower in a little room, and you can spray water all over the little room because there’s a drain on the floor!
You’ll probably have to turn on the HEAT before your shower (this is important!!). The shower is pretty much the same as we have in the west, but the bath is different. Of course, you probably can’t read what the Japanese buttons say, but experiment with different things and see what happens! Among other little miracles, there’s a way to program it to fill itself up, and you can have a heated bath ready for you on those cold winter nights!
-Laundry. This is a conundrum for all of us in Japan. THERE ARE NO DRYERS!! Well, most apartments don’t have them, anyway. Exactly why, nobody knows, but they are energy hogs, expensive to run, and take up space. So, you have to hang your laundry outside. That’s what your little balcony is for.
A few laundry tips: do laundry on sunny days. That way, it’ll dry quickly and you can bring it in in a couple of hours. In the summer, don’t leave laundry out all day, or it will get wet again! Japan is humid!!
Probably the best purchase I ever made was an indoor laundry rack. You can buy one at the department store for about 2,000 yen ($20), and it can be taken apart and stored when not in use. I can do laundry any day of the year. Take that, rain!
-Cooking. You’ll have to get used to a few changes, unless you’re like me and never cook. For one thing, you won’t have an oven. But, Japanese toaster ovens and microwaves are much better than ours. You’ll just have to experiment!
After a few confusing weeks, you’ll be cooking, bathing, doing laundry and everything else like a pro again!