05.30.2006 (Tuesday), 12:15 PM

Sentakuki! (Tokyo 2006 Day 3)

...swisshily-quiet...

A sentakuki (洗濯機) is the Japanese word for washing machine. And I never (like EVER!) thought I'd be so impressed with a mechanical device. (OK, bear with me...this is really silly...)

Since lots of folks here are jammed togther, there is a premium on keeping the relative peace. It's a noisy enough place outside and to bug your neighbours with more noise is simply not a good thing. And the half-capsule-hotel shaped machine in the corner of the room is no slouch when it comes to being quiet.

Long story short...you pile clothes in, add soap and press the button that says "omakase" (お任せ literally meaning "I'll leave it to you, as in a meal selected by the chef") - in this case, it's telling you that I'll wash, then rinse, then spin dry. All that's left to do it punch the "start" button.

Once in motion, it actually weighs the clothes in the wash cylinder to determine how much water is needed and you don't have do do anything else besides monitor the machine for malfunctions (like that could ever happen...).

I swear I only heard the thing gurgle once or twice. There were some swishy sounds that sounded like gently lapping waves but that was it. A plaintive, quiet beep was all the signal it gave up when it was done.

How the HELL did this thing keep it's mouth so shut for the duration? Maybe there is a super-secret subconscious white noise generator that blotted out everything else? The clothes were cleaned, no doubt....or maybe it used ultra-high frequency sound waves to clean them?

I'm still in awe.

Posted by wjc | TrackBack