Duplicate Bills and Bathing Like a Contortionist: Sunday 6th November

I have gotten into an awful habit, since arriving in Japan, of simply paying all of my bills without question or hesitation. So far it is a system that seems to have served me well, but I am certain that there have been times when I have paid a bill and it’s duplicate (which seem to be sent on a completely sporadic basis), assuming that the electricity/gas/water companies will simply credit my account by the time the next payment is required. However, I have no guaranties that this is actually the case, and whilst most of my utility bills are generally less than around ¥3000 (~£24), I am loathe to have to pay twice for my national health insurance, as that comes in at a slightly more hefty ¥10000. I am absolutely convinced that I paid this bill two weeks ago, but as I have also developed the delightful habit of throwing away all of my receipts and proofs of purchase, I cannot be sure. As such I have decided to leave it for the time being, assuming that if I really do still need to pay it that I will be sent a timely reminder, and as such assumptions have clearly served me so well up until now I feel vindicated in my decision.

I am 90% certain that I have already paid this, but we shall see…

This evening I paid a visit to my local Sento for the first time in a good 3 or 4 months. Unfortunately though I seemed to have chosen a time when every single middle-aged man in Tokyo also felt like a quick soak, as the place was rammed. This meant that I had to abandon bathing house etiquette and wedge myself in between two other men whilst I gave myself a wash before entering the actual bath. This was a nerve shredding experience, as after previous visits I am only too aware of the dangers of over-vigorous cleansing, and so it was that I found myself huddled over the taps like a contortionist, trying desperately not to let a single drop of water stray outside of my immediate vicinity. I think I succeeded, and thankfully within 5 minutes of arriving the place had magically emptied, but surely this was only a happy coincidence.


About truehamlet

Sam is a senior lecturer in Science Communication, who researches the different ways in which media such as poetry and film can be used to communicate science to new audiences.
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