Monthly Archive December 2012

ByRay Proper
Dec 20, 2012

10 Things to Know about Using Japanese Toilets

  1. Some toilets have heated seats, which make winter usage much more pleasant.
  2. Don’t mess with the buttons unless you are sitting and know what they are for!
  3. “Otohime” or sound princess can be used to cover the sound of bodily functions by broadcasting the sound of a toilet flushing through a small, push button speaker system.
  4. Some public toilets have automated disposable/clean toilet seat paper covers.  Often you will find chemical cleaning sprays as well.
  5. Toilet slippers are meant for just the toilet, as historically in Japan, toilets were located outside of the house.  Do not wear them out of the bathroom!
  6. Many home toilets have a wash basin set on top of the toilet water tank.
  7. Public toilets may not have towels, paper towels or dryers to dry your hands, BYOH (Bring your own hankerchief.)
  8. “Washiki” is the Japanese term used for traditional squat toilets.
  9. Broken public toilets in Japan are not common, but public toilets without paper ARE common!  BYOTP!
  10. By JSA standards, Japanese toilet paper must dissolve within 100 seconds when placed in water. Beware of clogging with foreign bought toilet paper!

More on Japanese Toilets

Japan’s High-tech Toilet Culture
How to Use a Squat Toilet With Pictures!
How to use a Japanese toilet. This one has pictures of the “buttons” you should know.

Modern Toilet

ByRay Proper
Dec 07, 2012

Toyota Home Artificial Ice Skating Rink in Nagoya

Starting today, Friday December 7th, and running until March 3, 2012 at Oasis 21 in Sakae, you will once again find the Toyota Home  Artificial Ice Skating Rink.   The Synthetic Ice they  use is pretty neat; it is not at all cold, but if you fall on it you might get splinters, so if you want to try this out you need to remember to bring gloves.

JPY1000/kids500 weekends 10am-8pm
Happy Skating!


ByJason Gatewood
Dec 04, 2012

How to travel to a relaxing hot springs resort… Without the travel part!

Mayo Club Onsen Tokyo

It’s no secret that Japan is one of the most seismically active places on Earth. But this is also a good thing when you take one of the country’s most valuable assets into consideration: the Onsen, which is Japanese for hot spring. You can find hot springs all over Japan, and indeed whole towns have been known to capitalize off of their proximity to the geothermal boilers. However if you live the Greater Tokyo Area, you know that the chances of finding one of these natural pools is slim to none.

There are 3 choices for springs lovers in urban settings:

  1. Take a mini-vacation to places like Atami, Hakone, and Izu in Kanagawa prefecture, or to Gunma or Tochigi prefecture. These places are known for having good onsen hotels and depending on the season, you can also ski, snowboard, hike, and more. The water coming out of the ground is rich in minerals and other healing agents and its naturally heated to perfection by Mother Earth. Many of these places are resorts so they provide soap, towels, shaving kits and more. Some also have very good restaurants attached to them.
  2. Go visit your local “sento” meaning Japanese bathhouse. You can find these places in most areas around Tokyo, especially older “shitamachi” areas like Asakusa, Senju, and Kanda. I even spotted one in Ginza recently. These places were originally made out of necessity because a lot of homes didn’t have enough space for a tub or even hot water! So every neighborhood had a bathhouse. Because of this, most sento lean heavilly utilitarian in the way of facilities: places to wash up, a big rectangular tub for 8-14 people to sit in, and that’s it. You bring your own toiletries and soap.
  3. The “Super Sento” or “Super Spa”. These are a mixture of #1 & #2 and this author’s personal favorite when wanting to relax. Imagine a ginormous sento or a country onsen that decided to move to the city and snag a penthouse apartment.

The “Super Sento” brings all the amenities of a countryside hot springs resort into the middle of town.

Manyo Club Onsen in Yokohama

Recently I discovered one in Yokohama’s Minato-Mirai district called 万葉倶楽部 or Manyo Club in English. Located just a short 5 minute walk away from the Minato-Mirai line station of the same name, it carries all the amenities of a fine countryside hot springs hotel but with dramatic views of the Yokohama seaside. Actually, if you want to stay overnight or even over several days, there is an attached hotel as well.

The main draw of course is the onsen. This is a true spring; the water is trucked in 6 times a day from springs in Atami and Yugawara, spitting distance from Mt. Fuji. There are a variety of pools to soak your stress away in, from the usual and very large indoor tubs, to various rooftop outdoor pools overlooking the Minato Mirai district. There are even private tubs that are rented by the hour for those who want some “private time” with family or significant other.

In addition to the onsen, there are several other amenities as well:

  • Full service restaurants, both buffet and set menu style
  • Manga reading room and Internet cafe
  • Traditional Thai massage and British style reflexology services
  • Dry, salt, and herbal sauna rooms
  • Gift shop, meeting rooms, banquet hall rentals and more

Manyo Club is located just 30 minutes by express train from central Tokyo and can be reached directly by using either Minato Mirai station on the Minato Mirai line (Tokyu Toyoko line), or Sakuragi-cho station on JR’s Keihin-Tohoku and Negishi lines and the Yokohama City Subway Blue line. There is also free shuttle service that operates between Yokohama station and the resort from 10am until 11pm hourly.

Opening Hours 10:00-9:00 (the following morning)
Open everyday
Address 2-7-1, Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama, 231-0001
Closest Railway Station Sakuragicho Station: JR Keihin Tohoku Negishi Line / Municipal Subway Line
Minatomirai Station: Minatomirai Line
Tel 045-663-4126
Fax 045-671-1188
Ticket Info “Set admission (hours from 10:00 am – 09:00 the following morning) Adults (older than Junior High School): 2,620 yen Children (Elementary School Students): 1,470 yen Children (3 to under school age): 980 yen Children under 3: Free.
Credit Cards all major cards accepted
Languages Spoken Japanese, English



Jason L Gatewood