Wow. I’ve just experienced a major life-changing revelation.

There’s been something that has troubled me for years, as far back as I can remember, something that has made me wonder whether there’s a secret global co-ordinated effort to made me feel like an idiot.

Just a few moments ago, in the toilet here in this pretend Italian family restaurant in north-east Tokyo, years of confusion were blown away, leaving a perfectly clear blue, or in this case, green, sky.

It’s these soap dispensers.


I’ve never been able to get them to work. Why does the soap never come out? And why is it ALWAYS the case, no matter where I am – Switzerland, Japan, the UK, – they just don’t work! How come the public toilet industry still uses them when for years they have been proved, by my multiple soapless-experiences, to be utterly useless?

I’ve spoken with a few friends about this issue over the years, but none of them have ever reported a similar problem.

I don’t know why things were different today, but whereas previously I’d either give up after a few attempts or unscrew the top and dip my fingers in, today I persevered when nothing came out. It just didn’t make sense.

As usual, I’d tried what I thought you’re supposed to do, that is, press the top. Then I thought, “hmm, I wonder what happens if you hold your hand under the nozzle and press up, instead of pressing down on the top of the container…”

And blow me down, if soap didn’t come out of the bottom! For years I’ve been pressing the top down rather than the nozzle up! No wonder every single one I’ve tried to use has been ‘faulty’! Explains quite a lot, about me if nothing else…

Well, what a worthwhile trip this has proved to be. 100 kanji re-learnt, and a major life-discovery made.

That’s quite enough excitement for one day.

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