Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Anatomy of a Japanese hotel room

You've probably heard before just how teeny Japanese hotel rooms are (read: even smaller than Paris hotel rooms), but I thought it'd be interesting to post about some of the differences I've noticed. This hotel was nice because there was actually a bit of room at the end of the bed where I could full open my suitcase.  Many places don't even have that and it ends up being a little like Jenga to move around the room.
Earthquakes are a fairly regular occurrence here, so there's always a flashlight and very detailed instructions on what to do in case of an emergency.
You'll also almost always find a pair of pyjamas - I tried them on once and looked quite ridiculous, so you won't find me wearing them nightly lol.
And of course, the famous Japanese toilets.  I always get worried I'll accidentally press the wrong button and get a 'surprise', but eventually you learn what the different symbols mean and some luckily have English translations. I am definitely getting onboard with the heated toilet seats though.  (Also, it's pretty ironic given the advanced technology of these toilets, but there are a surprising number of Turkish toilets still in use in businesses/restaurants/bars/etc around the country).

One fairly new trend I think is having a particular floor or wing dedicated to female travelers only.  I don't remember seeing anything like this during my last visit (or maybe my male colleague didn't know they existed).   I'm not really sure why they exist, because I tend to think of Japan as a pretty safe country for a solo female traveler, but I also know there are a rising number of women-only train cars, taxis, etc here, so there must be some sort of concern somewhere.

But a nice benefit of these women-only rooms are the added amenities.  Almost all hotels will have tea/coffee, sandals, a hair dryer etc, but the female-only rooms also have very nice bathroom products - usually Shiseido face creams/shampoo/conditioner.
They also usually have a selection of skin care products - here we have face oil, cleansing milk and a face lotion, along with a hair clip, a head band, relaxing bath salts and some strange relaxing foot pads.
Most have also had a humidifier in room, and my last hotel even had a facial steamer! I couldn't figure out how to use it, but here is what it looked like:
So even though the rooms are small, there are a few nice touches that make them more comfortable.  Voila - now you know what to expect if you ever visit Japan. :)

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Thursday, March 9, 2017

If you don't like poo talk, you better move on...

So a lot of the customer sites I visit require very high biosecurity (=cleanliness), and many go as far as to require visitors to take a salmonella test before arrival.  The salmonella test usually involves pooing in a cup, and then bringing that cup to a lab for testing.  You wait a few days, and if you get the all clear, you're good to go for the visit.

For whatever reason, my colleagues are required to do them all the time, but I have yet to be asked to do a salmonella test for any of the customers I've visited worldwide.  (I realize though that by writing this, I am probably jinxing myself).

I went to Germany last week for a few days, and the last guy who visited told me they not only required a pre-test, but also an on-site test.  The feasibility of this really piqued my curiosity. I asked the poor guy all kinds of awkward questions like "What do you mean an on-site test?  How does that work?  But what if you don't have to poo?  What do you do then?"

He explained that the on-site tests involve a very long Q-tip and some flexibility.  So that brought on more awkward questions.  How do they give this Q-tip to you?  How do you give it back to them?  Does it come with a vial?  (yes)  Is it see-through?  (yes - cringe)  Do you need to get an actual 'sample', or is it enough to just swish it around up in there? (Answer - he had no clue, he had never dared to ask).  How uncomfortable is it to hand it back to the site manager?  (Very).  I was also dying laughing inside picturing some of our older, very straight-laced Republican male employees having to do this.

For my visit, I had not been asked to do the lab test before my arrival, so I was dreading them having me do it onsite.  Luckily though it never came up - and I sure as heck was not going to bring it up - so I was saved from the poop test for yet another day. 

I swear, my job is so random and strange sometimes...