Day four. Running out of clean clothes, I decided to try it with that launderette. It was round the corner, and all shiny with neon lights. Since I usually have a hard time with a standard washing machine in my country, I thought that this would be a challenge. The first surprise was that the whole place functioned like a Japanese home. You are to leave your shoes at the entrance and take slippers. Then, these big one-eyed machines were looking at me and I had to make a choice. I scratched my head, tried to recompose sentences beyond the characters I could read and changed by 1,000 bill in the machine. This trigged a happy jackpot-type metallic sound. Given what is known the nightingale floors, Some engineers must have planed that on purpose to give the customer the felling that s/he just won at Macau. I got the machine sorted and inserted my coins. A Japanese cash machine will start interacting with you ONLY when you have inserted cash in it. That was the lesson learned yesterday. If the machine plays it dead, it wants to see your cash first. In no time, my dirty laundry was on its way to cleanliness with a programme that included 乾燥 (Drying, note the second character has a fire radical (火), so all this needs to happen through heat). Relaxed after that foreplay of a victory over technology, I sat back and looked at the machine: There were summarized instructions in English kindly printed on an A4 pinned on the wall at the side (Oh well). So fifty minute is a lot of time and not a lot of time at the same time. I robbed the supermarket next door for large quantities of soba noodles to take home, I robbed the convenience store the following door for the weirdest looking snacks I could see and I finally sat in front of my machine reading ‘Le vide et le plein’ from Nicolas Bouvier (Chronicles of his stay in Kyoto in the 60s, nothing has changed, thanks for asking). Soon enough, my laundry was ready. I got it out all dry and warm and packed it up. And then this Asian woman asks me in English how the machine works. Perplexed, I oblige and share with her that like any Japanese machine, it won’t talk to you unless you have shown your hard cash. Problem sorted. But then I asked: how come a Japanese woman asks a foreigner about the functioning of a laundry automat? She smiled in an embarrassed way and said: ‘I am not Japanese, I am Chinese. I can understand most characters, but I was not sure’.