Posts Tagged cleaning
In preparation for a move in inspection, my roommate Azeroth and I have been working hard to clean our apartment. One of the items on the inspection list is a check for mold under the bathtub.
The “bathroom” in Japan is different from what I was used to in Canada. Back home, “bathroom” was a room with a toilet, sink, and a bathtub or shower. In my apartment in Japan the toilet is in a room all on it’s own, which is very convenient for use when someone is having a shower. The bathroom itself is an enclosed room with a shower nozzle, a deep bathtub, and a drain on the floor.
To be truly Japanese, you need to wash yourself with the shower until you are completely clean, and then sit neck deep in extremely hot water. The bath water stays clean this way, and can be used by different people. My roommates and I have probably never used the bathtub for its intended purpose, opting instead for the convenience of the shower.
Since the bathroom is always hot and damp, it’s a great breeding ground for mold. Until we started our cleaning exercise, I had no idea that I could remove plastic panels from the side of the bathtub and get access underneath. When I did this, I discovered a black forest of thick mold everywhere. It looked like the entire underside of our tub had been taken over by the dark hair of Sadako from The Ring (Samara for those who have only seen the American remake).
After trying to remember if I had recently watched a haunted VHS tape, I headed across the street to the small supermarket in search of one of the most popular mold killers on the market: Kabi Killer (literally mold killer). I returned home, and sprayed about half of the bottle under the tub, periodically stopping to rinse with the shower nozzle. I’m not sure when the last time this was done, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it had been years ago. The whole experience was nasty.
English Teachers: when you get an instruction book on how to maintain your apartment in Japan, actually read it. Nobody wants to discover a dark mold cavern under the tub.
2016 Bonus Material: For an excellent read on maintaining your bathroom, check out this article on the excelled website “Surviving in Japan” http://www.survivingnjapan.com/2012/07/prevent-and-clean-mold-in-the-bathroom-japan.html
With a new roommate coming and only a week to get the apartment in order, Azeroth and I have a lot of work to do. NOVA is supposed to send an inspector for company apartments to make sure everything is clean and in order before someone new moves in. This apparently hadn’t been done for the last few people moving into our three bedroom apartment in Ooka City Plaza. We considered the chance that nobody would come again, but decided that we didn’t want to take the risk. It was also a good excuse for us to finally clean our filthy apartment. After work we cracked a beer and looked around to assess the situation:
- Azeroth wanted to move from his current room across the hall from me to Palmer’s old room off the living room. His room was literally knee deep in beer cans and food wrappers
- The main storage closet was filled with expired vitamin supplements and liqueur
- The living room was decorated with small toys from fast food meals and those plastic bubble machines in stores
- The fridge had condiments, booze, and expired food
- There was mold under the bathtub (apparently a common problem in Japan)
- The shoe storage in the front hall was filled with shoes that did not belong to Azeroth or I
- The kitchen cupboards were filled with pint beer glasses from local izakayas
- Everything was dirty
The closet was the first item on our list. Japan’s garbage disposal rules are confusing, so we decided that the best way to get rid of the supplements and liqueur was to dump it all in the toilet. Our toilet had seen some terrible things over the years, but I don’t think it was ready to handle load after load of vitamin pills. We topped off the vitamins with a bottle of egg based liqueur (eww) that had been in the apartment for at least 3 years. I recorded the occasion for posterity with my phone as the rancid liquid glooped into the toilet.
While we worked on the living room we returned to the poor toilet periodically to give it a flush. By the end of the evening the living room and closet looked much better, but there was still a lot of work left. We both made vague promises about buying cleaning supplies and curtailing our recreational activities until things were in order. It’s going to be a busy week!
** 2016 update – I watched the video of our cleanup again while I was rewriting this post. Seeing the state of our poor toilet made me giggle uncontrollably.