Hello, all! I hope you've been doing lots of things that make you happy. What's one thing that makes me happy? (Don't laugh.) Doing laundry.

As you've probably already guessed, doing laundry in Japan is very different from laundry in America, but not by much. My apartment doesn't have its own drier, meaning I gotta go oldschool and hang my stuff outside on the balcony to dry. Which is fun and meditative, actually. Especially looking out over the nice, city view I have here on the 8th floor. Or especially while listening to music, or the TV on in Japanese for extra listening practice.

I want to introduce you to my meditative process that is laundry out here in Osaka.

The washing machine I have in my apartment is a Hitachi NW-6MY, so this tutorial will be showcasing this guy.

The Process

After tossing all (or most, whatever fits) of your laundry in the machine, it's detergent time. I love the Ariel detergent; it has a distinct, fresh scent about it, and it's mega affordable, too. Another cool thing with Ariel is that after buying a bottle, you can then follow up with buying bagged refills, which are nice and cheap.

For the Hitachi NW-6MY, you're gonna put the detergent in this little slot here.

Then it's time to start the machine! You're gonna want to press Power Supply On (電源:切/入), and there should be a ding and the lights should come on the left side. Then hit the Start button (これっきりボタン:スタート/一時停止), and you're good to go.

A quick explanation from the left:

Water Amount (水量), Wash (洗い), Rinse (すすぎ), Dehydration (脱水), Water Drain (お湯取). For 9 minutes, it will Wash. For 2 cycles, it will Rinse. Then for 6 minutes, it'll do a Dehydration cycle, not unlike the American machines I used back in Illinois.

Sometime during the 2 Rinse cycles, however, here's where I pause the machine to get my Laundry Softner in. The Pause button (これっきりボタン:スタート/一時停止) is the same as the Start button. Quick note: the Hitachi NW-6MY has an automatic lock everytime you close the door of the machine. So depending on the timing of the cycle, it might be locked, but just be patient, and it'll unlock.

For softener, I use Laundrin' Tokyo Laundry Softener. As much as I hate to admit it (my boyfriend kind of hooked me to this), it really does help get the extra smell out. Especially after the wonderful boyfriend had done some running or had futsal practice sometime during his day.

Again, the same place you put your detergent, just pour this stuff in there too. The amount doesn't have to be precise.

Once the laundry's done, the washing machine beeps a few times, letting me know I gotta take that stuff out to dry. This is the most time-consuming part, but depending on the weather, this is also my favorite and most meditative.

Also, see this cute, pink cat towel I got there? "It's TAACHAN!" I bought this at my local Loft at Umeda, Osaka. It was on sale. I couldn't resist Taachan. I found the link, in case you want to check out some more Taachan specials. ロフト・ターチャン検索

Enter the one-question Q & A session

Q: Does laundry need to be done every day?
A: Almost every other day for me, but definitely depends on the family, the size of their house, and size of their washing machine. I have a few working theories on this one, but here are my two-cents. First, the Japanese washing machines are a lot smaller than the American-made ones. Meaning that there's only so much laundry that can fit. Meaning that it needs to be done a lot more often.

Second, because the laundry needs to be hung up outside, it usually takes up to a full day to get dry, wearable clothes, amiright? But depending on the weather, the wind, or overall humidity, it can take longer, amiright? Meaning that they'll be taking up limited space on the highly-limited balcony (or in and hung up around the limited space in my house), on limited drying racks, with limited clips and limited hangers. Meaning that doing laundry in advance is always a good move, anyway, so the new dirty stuff isn't waiting around for space to open up.

Third, not all Japanese households do this (some of my host families did, but others didn't), but after showering, my fiance uses his towel once and then immediately throws it in the wash. I prefer to hang mine up to dry and then use it the next day (I mean, how dirty can it get?), but regardless, and needless to say, with a towel-usage style such as this one, laundry tends to pile up really quick. Even with just two people in a tiny apartment.

Anyway, those are my two cents worth. I hope I was able to give you a peek into the laundry world of Japan with the Hitachi NW-6MY. Thanks for reading, I know this one was a long one.