Life goes on

I was visiting my friend’s house earlier today and while we were cooking in her kitchen, I began to realize that it’s the little things about this country that I love so very much. I think I understand now what Japanese mean when they say “living in Japan is convenient”.
Above you can see the dishwasher. This very compact, but highly efficient model slides in flush to seamlessly blend in with the rest of the cabinetry. It is very quiet, very fast and cleans the dishes extremely well. While it’s not clear in this picture, there are two small LCD screens on the top edge that allow you set a wide variety of settings, a timer, and the like.
This was one of the neatest things I saw in the entire kitchen. Basically what you see above is one of three spring mounted wire holding racks that roll up and down from the bottom of the cabinets. They can hold a wider variety of items (this one holds the large cooking utensils) and can be rolled down to a convenient, easily accessible position, and then popped back up out of the way when no longer needed. Others held spices, and another held commonly used things like oil and soy sauce.
Nothing particularly special about this, but it was a very convenient pot storage rack that slides effortlessly in and out of the bottom of the cabinetry. One of the common themes is how everything is “integrated” into the decor in such a manner that items virtually disappear to provide a clean, unified view of the kitchen when not in use. The size of the kitchen, and its lack of visible clutter then, deceptively fools one into thinking that there’s not a lot of “stuff” in it, when in fact, there is.
Another item commonly found in Japanese kitchens, but practically unheard of in the west – the integrated fish grill (the glass window betwen the control knobs). Here you can quickly and efficiently grill, bake, fry or otherwise cook a fish (or other things such as meat or hamburger) with a minimum of muss and fuss simply by throwing it in this specially designed apparatus – no oil required! I really wish I had one of these in my kitchen!
It looks like a standard faucet, but this one has adjustable spray patterns, smooth operation and also is capable of extending like the spray hoses some kitchens have back in the state, but again, carefully integrated into one unit so as to provide an asthetically pleasing appearance.
This thing tripped me out! Basically it’s a specialized faucet that produces several different types of water. In addition to regular water, you can also draw distilled water, filtered water, carbonated water (seltzer), and my personal favorite – UV IRRADIATED WATER! There’s this little blue ring that lights up (it’s off in this picture) that will flash when you push the UV button, and then when it glows steadily, you know that it’s ready and the water you draw from that point will be irradiated by UV light as it passes through the faucet, killing any potential bacteria and pathogens that might be in it. AWESOME!!! I really, really want one of these! Now if it could only start putting flouride in the water…
This thing is pretty cool too – basically you touch a button on this control panel/handle and the whole cabinet/rack opens up with a star-trekky “woooosh”! and then slides down to a convenient height. But not merely an elegant cabinet, this one not only holds dishes and cups, but when you push the putton to close it, it forms an airtight seal, then begins to DRY the dishes!!! It has this little built in hot air dehumidifier, and it takes less than 10 minutes to completely dry a completely filled rack of dishes straight from the sink/dishwasher (though the dishwasher will dry dishes too, of course). Amazing functionality!.
Last, but not least, this is the control panel for the refrigerator (sorry for the crap shot!). Basically there’s a ton of functions you can control with it, but some of the coolest (no pun intended) is the “speed freeze” setting, where you can tell the freezer to automatically make some ice cubes for you in less than 15 minutes (I have no idea how it does that!!!), or tell the refrigerator to do all sorts of other things, like automatically chill or defrost things placed in a certain compartment, warn you when the temperature drops below a certain setting, let you know when a certain amount of time has passed for a certain shelf or something (I guess so you can know if your milk goes bad?). Man, I wish my refrigerator had a control panel!!
So there you have it. Etsuko’s kitchen absolutely kicks ass. It’s like seriously, 50 years ahead of anything I have ever seen even in my richest friend’s house back home. These sort of conveniences and technological marvels that are unheard of in the West are commonplace and taken for granted here in Japan.
It’s things like this that make me love this country so much!
Now listening to: “Northstarz – These Dreams”
(If anyone could hear me listening to this unbelievably cheesy vocal “trance” song right now, they’d either kill me or injure me severely)
9:20 am

Comments are closed.