The Mystery of the Missing Soap In Japanese Public Restrooms has been officially solved! Well, not solved as in, "Why the heck isn't there any soap in public restrooms," but solved as in, "this is what fixes the problem!"
No one can be in a new country for long without using a public bathroom. This particular, cultural quirk is therefore one of the first experienced by jet-lagged Americans. While our shocked brains are still trying to process our first encounter with a Japanese toilet- whether a squatty or a heated, singing version- we head to the sinks to wash our hands, only to make a puzzling discovery. There is no soap. It's not that the soap dispensers haven't been refilled. It's that they never were installed to begin with. I still scratch my head about this one. Japan is an incredibly clean country. In public restrooms, you are almost as likely to find a small flower arrangement as you are to find toilets. Often, there will even be a cloth towel with which you can wipe down the counter after a vigorous hand-washing. Why no SOAP?
Many of us Americans have solved this problem by carrying a small bottle of hand sanitizer in our hand bags. I don't like hand sani, mainly because it leaves my hands feeling more medicated than clean. Plus, I have always had this lurking feeling that every Japanese woman has not resigned herself to a mere water hand rinse. It's Japan. There is a brilliant solution to every problem.
So I couldn't help squealing out loud when Little TF and I were browsing a ridiculously cute home-goods store at the mall and my eye caught sight of this.
Water dissolves these perfectly purse-sized sheets on contact. Good-bye, gross hand sanitizer! Hello, clean, apple-smelling hands!
I love how my friend and fellow military wife, Peyton, puts it as she explores Guam. "Finding out what the locals already know." I think that sums up living in Japan, as well!
Disclaimer: I do my best to make sure all my information is accurate. However, details may change or I may just be flat-out wrong. Please let me know if something needs a correction. Thank-you!