Omotesando

. . . down Omotesando Boulevard in cool air, bright sun, most leaves fallen from the zelkova trees … people’s feet soft on the sidewalk, conversation soft in the air . . .

Aoyama, morning

. . . down the designer fashion street in the cool air, bright sun warm on my face . . . window displays passing by . . . autumn sidewalk leaves . . .

… shortchanged …

… get off the bus from Narita at its first hotel drop-off and take a taxi to get the rest of the way home, immediately regretting my decision and chastising myself for not, in my straightened financial circumstances, taking the train from Shinagawa Station, little more than a stone’s throw from the hotel, which regret persists as I tell the driver to take whichever of two routes to opposite sides of my neighborhood is the shorter, then ask him to let me off sooner than I’m sure he’d anticipated when I decide to walk the rest of the way … the meter reads 1,360 yen so I hand the driver two one thousand yen bills and he gives me the receipt and change … only after I’ve exited the cab do I check the change and find myself slightly aghast to discover the change amounts to, not 640 yen but just 550–one 500 yen coin and five 10 yen coins, of which five I had assumed without checking closely (enough) that one of the coins was a 100 yen piece, not a 10 yen piece, which would have amounted, properly, to the expected 640 yen in change … by which time the taxi has made its way too far up the slope, at the bottom of which it had dropped me off, for me to catch it …

… until now, for the most part, or at least with the generally pleasant mood the pleasant day and watching the planes taking off at Narita had put me in, Japanese taxi drivers, and as embodied, in this instance, by this driver in particular, had partaken in my mind of my positive, general stereotype of Japanese as being scrupulously fair dealing—acting properly, carefully, and accurately—when it comes to monetary transactions with “O-Kyaku-Sama”—Most Honorable Customers …

… so I found myself speculating as to this driver’s possible motives as I watched his taxi proceed up the hill …

1) … he’s running short of money to meet his basic needs … in his 60s I would guess … facing the prospect of losing his apartment or home and/or of starving, he’s taken to shortchanging customers … ;

2) … he’s contributing any money he can get from shortchanging foreign customers to some anti-gaijin (literally “outside person”—i.e., foreigner), rightwing organization that would like to kick all, or most anyway, foreigners out of Japan … ;

3) … he’s squirreling away as much money as possible for his next stock buy, foreign exchange foray, or gambling spree … ;

4) … he enjoys the pure, solitary pleasure of ripping off—in whatever amount, however small, he can manage—any customer, foreign or native, who exits his taxi earlier than he had anticipated … ;

5) … he had no motive whatsoever but, simply, mistook a 10 yen for a 100 yen piece … ;

In any case, the day was so pleasant and my overall state of mind so positive, this incident hasn’t managed to put a dent (although some part of me, given the chance, wouldn’t have minded putting a dent in his taxi) in my overall upbeat mood …

… diamonding …

… sunlight diamonding the water as the bus to Tokyo from Narita crosses a series of bridges into Shinagawa …

Restroom (Stall) Review

… Narita, Terminal 1 Shopping Area, 5th floor, as I enter from the end of the outside take-offs viewing deck, proceeding into the hallway area from the restaurant area with the Thai restaurant to your right, then going left a bit, down the hallway, I find a restroom …

… clean, well-lighted, as are all the Narita restrooms … a bit more spacious, between the washbasins and the stalls, than the other Terminal 1 restrooms I’ve used—at least that’s my impression … and virtually empty, this in contrast to the usually pretty busy, centrally-located restrooms of the check-in / ticketing area … at least 3 stalls with Western-style toilets (I can’t verify another, the door of which is closed), which I prefer to the Japanese “squat” variety, of which there aren’t more than two (two assuming the stall with the closed door is of this type; otherwise just the empty one—its door ajar—that I spot) … I choose the end stall …

… the door has a solid, study feel to it and closes, with a sliding lock, firmly and securely (a more solid, sturdy feel; a bit more securely, it seems, than other Terminal 1 stall doors and locks I’ve used, but again, perhaps this perception is due to the positive mood I’ve now entered, which is due, at least, to this restroom’s being almost empty (just me and whoever’s in the other in-use stall), and to my just having come from watching, from the viewing platform, a succession of planes taking off into the brightening day …

… for the flush, a smooth, stainless steel oval of metal, located somewhat above the level of the toilet bowl and mounted on the wall behind it to the left as one faces the bowl upon entering the stall, which oval, sitting on the toilet seat (and after giving the seat a wipe down with a tear-off of three or four sections of toilet paper, then, as I’ve noticed two random-looking holes drilled into the partition near the toilet paper dispenser, their positioning, I presume, a mistake but in any case a commentary on things in life—hopes, intentions, plans, and attempts to execute plans—that don’t come to fruition, meditating on such things for a brief moment), I press to give the toilet a flush, as I always do at dump initiation, the sound of the flushing water providing cover for any BM-related noises—release of gas, sphincteral ejection of BM load, etc.—and, as well, a sort of white noise enabling greater concentration on the BM, including optimal timing of muscle contractions to assist the movement of whatever load matter is (at least somewhat) ready for release in the final segment of its intestinal journey …

… though it takes somewhat longer than usual to find the right timing for the final contractions (I give the toilet another flush when I do so), the BM goes relatively well—a relatively sizeable dump with no stuck feeling of any unable-to-eject load wannabe waste matter remaining after completion …

… thank goodness, and at least relatively healthy (95%+ vegan, the remaining vegetarian) dietary habits: despite all of the (at least potentially) stress-inducing goings on in my life and the world generally, none of which seem to have any easy solution, at least a decent dump …