The year when I was seven years old, one of my elder cousins got married and her wedding took place near my aunt’s house. My family was also invited to the party, and since we lived a little far away from the place, my caring aunt booked a room in a business hotel near the wedding venue for us so that we could travel the day before and rest well over the night.
My father had a work to finish, so an arrangement was made so that my mother and I would travel first and later my father would join us at the hotel.
The train trip was smooth, and by early evening, my mother and I had arrived at the hotel. It was an ordinary business hotel. There was nothing fancy about it. But since it was the first time I had ever stayed at a western style business hotel, I was all excited as I entered our room.
I carefully observed every detail of the room – the big beds, the shiny lamps, the table with a mirror – and my eyes became widened when I came to the bathroom.
“Mommy!” I cried. “The bathtub and the toilet are in the same room!”
In a Japanese household, toilets are usually placed in separate rooms from the bathing space. I didn’t know that in western countries, toilets and bathtubs came in pairs.
Later that evening, when I took a bath with my mother, I first used the toilet before moving to the bathtub to wash my body.
“How convenient!” I said to my mother. “I can use the toilet whenever I want to! No need to put on my clothes!”
When my mother and I both settled in the bathtub to warm up ourselves, the room phone rang. My mother picked up the receiver located right above the bathtub and started talking. Then she handed it over to me.
“It’s your aunt. She wants to know how our hotel stay is going. Do you want to talk to her?”
As I took the phone from my mother’s hand, I felt as if I were in a dream world. Talking on a phone in a bathtub! I had never even imagined such a thing before. What an absolute luxury!
“Aunty!” I exclaimed as I held the phone tight in my hand. “This hotel is so luxurious! You won’t believe it!”
Then I explained to her how the toilet and the bathtub were located in the same room side by side and how I could easily switch between them without bothering my clothes.
“And there is even a phone in this bathroom!” I continued eagerly. “I’m now sitting in the bathtub and talking to you. It’s amazing!”
Both my mother and aunt laughed at my excitement. My aunt was happy that I was thoroughly enjoying the hotel stay and my mother thought it was funny that even this most ordinary business hotel was perceived as a luxury hotel in the eye of a seven-year-old girl.