Diaper Adventures in Japan

One of the first things we needed to decide was, how many diapers to bring on our trip to Japan with Z.

(The other “first” thing was, how much milk powder to bring.)

We decided to bring enough diapers to last about a week, though we would be there for 2 weeks. It was a good plan. As plans go.

So for the first few days, we searched for diapers and milk powder. The latter was easier to obtain.

Diapers though, were more challenging.

We found a few in convenience stores. Or PL did. Hidden with the feminine hygiene products.

In packs of 2, 4 or 5.

Which the cashier will discreetly (and shamefully?) pack into brown paper bags.

Apparently it is an autistic conspiracy among the Japanese to pretend that kawaii kodomo do not poop.

This is unbelievable! Where do parents get their diapers in bulk?

I asked friends.

One said (while she was living here) that she ordered from Amazon. Amazing!

Another found economy packs in tax-free drugstores that cater to the Chinese tourists market (I figured that out because the stores had promotional announcements in Mandarin).

Anyway, either because we do not know where to look in those drugstores (unlikely) or there were no Chinese tourists in Osaka (again, unlikely) we could not find any economy size packs of diapers.

Until we got to Kobe.

Then we found the drugstore with a huge section of diapers in economy packs prominently displayed. (This was at Motomachi covered shopping alley. I call all of these “Tenuki Koji” because the first one I knew was the Tenuki Koji in Sapporo. But there are all these covered shopping alleys in almost every city.)

We got a big pack of 40+ diapers which would easily have covered our entire 2 weeks stay. And the problem was solved.

At least on one end.

And it seemed that once we found the “motherlode” of diapers, we kept seeing it.

In Nara, other stores selling diapers had huge mountains of them stacked outside prominently. On behalf of the Japanese, I was flabbergasted.

I watched to see if Japanese walking past these shameless display of evidence of juvenile excremental activities would shield their eyes as they walked past.

No one did.

Either the Japanese are not as squeamish as convenience store clerks think they are, or none of the people passing those sordid displays were Japanese.

Then there was the disposal of the diapers.

For the first week or 10 days, we stayed in hotels. And we disposed of the diapers, well, in the waste bin in the hotel rooms.

Like any uncivilised gaijin with no appreciation of the sensitivities of the Japanese.

Then we tried a private apartment, AirBnB style.

And the owner left detailed instructions on recycling, and trash disposal and collection. Including how “soiling” should be removed from the diapers before disposal (“Filth” in this PDF link). I leave you to work out how filth/soiling from a disposable diaper should be removed before disposal.

Let’s just say, that went well.

Yes, I’m being sarcastic.

Anyway, the upshot of all this overly-anal diaper disposal protocol is that Z probably picked up on our diaper anxiety.

She pooped while over there. She was not constipated or had any problems with regularity.

But when she came back to the safety and security of her own home, she pooped five times within 24 hours of coming home. Those were her comfort poop.

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