Laundry Day: Mastering Your Washing Machine

Source: Gaijin Pot
Laundry Day: Mastering Your Washing Machine

One of the hardest things for foreign people living in Japan can be doing simple things. When I first arrived in the tiny backwater town of Asanogawa — a place so insignificant, the Ishikawa Prefecture tourist information office thought I’d made a mistake when I asked how to get there — I suddenly discovered that outside the big cities, even supposedly easy things like posting a letter had become a tricky, frustrating task.

One of the things that really stuck in my mind as maddening during my time in the middle of nowhere was trying to wash my clothes. After all, I was pretty terrible at doing the laundry in England, let alone navigating the tricky kanji on my Japanese washing machine!

One advantage of a baptism of fire is that you soon learn — even if you get singed in the process. Before I’d even mastered the 挨拶(あいさつ) (self-introduction) that I was supposed to use at each school I visited, I had learned the words for the chemicals used for washing things. I doubt I’ll ever forget the words for 洗剤(せんざい) (detergent) and (柔軟剤(じゅうなんざい) (fabric softener).

To actually begin using your washing machine, you will first have to learn how to it on.

Turn it on

Luckily the “on” button is usually pretty clearly marked or raised from the other buttons. On most machines, the button is written with the 入(いり) kanji. On my washing machine, it was written as 電源入(でんげんいれ). However, even if it’s written slightly differently, it should be easy to find.

Get washing

After this, you will want to start your wash.

Usually, this button will be written in katakana as スタート. On my machine, this button also has 一時停止(いちじていし) written in small print underneath it and the kanji means that I can suddenly stop the washing machine with the same …continue reading