05 September 2008

Sasuga Japan

"Sasuga" is a Japanese word that's hard to translate--means something like "Wow," or "they've really measured up to our expectations" or "Good job" or "quintessentially..." something like that.

Several things have made me exclaim thus during my time here:

--Fancy toilet seats*, even in public restrooms
--Little sheets of plastic at the bottom of a bowl of store-bought salad so you can slide it onto a serving dish without turning it upside-down
--Conveyor-belt sushi eatery, complete with a "magic wand" that automatically counts all the plates and calculates your bill
--The 100-yen store (it's like the "everything's a dollar" store but the quality is MUCH better)
--Japanese ofuro (style of bath)
--Getting a hot, wet towel at every restaurant to refresh before the meal
--All of our favorite foods and snacks being as delicious as ever
--Trains and buses, including change machines on the bus so you can have exact fare

*If you've never seen/used one, you're missing out. You can play pleasant music or the sound of running water, have a warm seat, multiple types of "wash," and even a dryer for your behind... see photos at Wikipedia's Toilets in Japan, and there's lots to read there if you're curious.


Becky said...

Dear Karis --
What a beautifully posted blog!! You are a master at interweaving beautiful scenary with timeless insights. I had dinner with Jean Garber two nights ago and she mentioned your blog and I asked her to send me the link - that is how I found it. We always talk EXTREMELY highly of you -- you are such a talented & BRILLIANT *YOUNG* woman.
I know everyone has their perceptions and one person's experience of seemingly the same incident can be so different than another's (like the way witnesses can recall an incident... crazy stuff sometimes!!) But I wanted to say that having been a mom and married but now single for almost ten years, the "dixie cups" keep me extremely 'hydrated' and my roots, although enriching in many ways, are most definitely only roots and historical they are not my future. Maybe it is the way we see ourselves as still growing, assimilating life, not festering or trying to go back as if to reforge some fundamental aspect of our identity. When my son left home for college back in 2004 (and he graduated a quarter early!! SCORE!!) I had to face the fact that much of what I thought my purpose in life is, shifted quite a bit. After a few months of adjusting I began to see that rather than feeling unnecessary, I felt more 'free' - I had much less responsibility. I have felt the need to take care of all my 'peeps' (recent slang - my people...) but now I see that letting the world take on new meanings and new priorities is very nourishing. Perception is huge but we are the masters of our minds - we choose to feel and believe - why not embrace life and let it be huge and mysterious and beckoning? The only thing I have done that you haven't, is raised a child -- you haev all the time you need to accomplish everything that is right for you to achieve. ANd last -- I wanted to mention that my son, Robert, has gotten really active in a number of humanitarian projects (working with honeless kids ate a shelter in Seattle "Child Haven" and helping support the McKean Rahabilitation Institute in Chiang Mai!! What do you know about it??
I am so happy to see your bright smile in the pictures -- I hope your life fulfills all your hopes and dreams!
Becky Rooney

Christy said...

hey Karis,

I just saw one of these toilets while staying a hotel in transit in Korea! Ok, I don't know that it had music but....all the rest! Crazy stuff!! ha!