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Full Circle

Day 27: Sado Island

Michael Palin - Full CircleBathing is done in communal premises downstairs and if I want to use them I must first don a yukata - a cotton robe. Feeling like some foul-smelling giant who's just come down a beanstalk, I gratefully slip off the hot sticky remnants of a long day, don the yukata and make my way downstairs. I forget my slippers and as I go back for them encounter Mama-san on the stairs. She shakes her head in despair and starts tugging at the belt around my robe. The obi, as it's called, must be tied, samurai-style, across the hip. To tie it on the hip, as I have, is considered deeply effeminate. Having tidied me up, Mama-san leads me downstairs and for one awkward moment I think she's going to accompany me to the bathroom. But she confines herself to a little cluck of disapproval as I go in without exchanging my downstairs slippers for my bathroom slippers, and pulls the rice-paper partition closed behind me. To my surprise I'm confronted on one side with a mediaeval Japanese bath and on the other by a positively twenty-first century toilet.

Mission control at Houston seems anti-diluvian when compared with Mama-san's state of the art appliance. The seat warms automatically on contact. The pressure-pad control panel offers a variety of delights. Eight separate 'Shower Positions' direct varying strengths of spray over the general posterior area, eight separate 'Bidet Settings' propel water jets at more specific targets, and finally four 'Dry' settings round off the whole experience with anything from a light, warm breeze to a mistral. Over the next few hours there is a constant background noise of soft, unmistakable cries of surprise and pleasure as various members of the crew discover its delights for themselves.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 27
  • Country/sea: Japan
  • Place: Ogi
  • Book page no: 52

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  • Japan
  • Day 51 
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day 52 
  • Around the World in 80 Days
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