It's funny, now that I am a housewife (sengyo-shufu = full-time housewife...does this mean I qualify for retirement someday?), a sunny day during the week isn't means for outings. Oh, sure, I do go for longer walks on my way to the grocers. But in essence, a sunny day during the week means laundry day. I love to hang our clothes/towels outside (especially when the other neighbors on the other floors aren't smoking on their lanais(we call them lanais in hawaii, in Japan these are called verandas, in other countries they are probably called balconies...) And feel a bit confined when I have to hang them inside because of rain, cloudy weather or the smokers.
I'm not too sure if I told you or not, but the washing machines here in Japan only have cold water washing. This means during the winter you are basically swishing your clothes around in ice water and hoping they come clean...there is also a hose that connects from the washing machine to the furo (bathtub). This is so that you can re-cycle the bath water and use it to wash your clothes. What it does is suck up the bath water, and filter the water as it transfers it to the washing machine. Still, I usually try to wash our towels or sheets with this water. The washing machine also doesn't have the agitator in the middle or the holes in the basket to drain (this is to prevent mold from forming on the outside of the basket (the areas you can't see), as mold is thought to be one of the causes of atopic dermatitis (atopi) here). The load takes about an hour (if you are adding softeners...so be prepared to spend some time doing a load or two...)
Another thing you'll see is that there are a LOT of detergents, softeners and stain remover products on the market. There is even a product that boasts not having to iron if you add it to your wash. I think I tried most of them. Although, I know our clothes aren't as clean as they could be if we used American detergents, the water is hard here and the detergents are made to "protect" the environment, and with all the mixtures of chemicals, I'm sure they aren't doing much for our skin.
Oh, and when hanging your clothes outside, don't drop them, the lanais are so dirty with this greyish dust probably from pollution, that you have to re-rinse or re-wash whatever you drop! (trust me, I've done this several times...)We don't have a clothes line instead we have these l-o-n-g metal poles called monohoshizao (poles to dry things on), so I usually put the clothes onto hangers and then use these big clips to keep them from flying off the poles (the crows also like to steal hangers so that's another reason for the clips). If I'm hanging towels, I usually have to wipe down the poles before doing so because of the dust. And I'm sure we must be breathing in that dust too (probably a reason why some people have asthma (zensoku) here too). Still with all these cons on washing clothes, I still enjoy a sunny day to do laundry, and if our washer should ever "die" (knock on wood) I have my eyes on a washer that has a dryer built in...
Changing the subject, we got this dekopon from a member of Satoshi's staff. (I decided to take a photo of it next to a kiwi so you could see how big these dekopon are.) Dekopon is a cross between a kiyomi orange and a ponkan. Ponkan is a citrus fruit originally from an area called Poona in India. The Japanese took the Pon from Poona and kan from the Japanese word for citrus, kankitsu and made up their own word for this citrus fruit, which is similar to an orange, and called it ponkan. So, why is it called dekopon? Deko means bump. I think when they crossbred it the new fruit had a little bump at the top, so they named it dekopon. I combined it with some other fruits for a fruit salad.
I also wanted to share with you what Satoshi gave to me for Girl's Day. A hinamatsuri card and also these sweet treats called "Gaufre" (I think it is short for Gaufrettes) These thin wafer-like cookies have flavored cream in the middle. In a package, there is strawberry, vanilla and chocolate. Made by Kobe Fugetsudo , they are sold in these colorful tins(so the cookies don't break). They often have different themes decorating their tins.