Tuesday, July 7, 2009

In Memory of Akiko-San

When I lived in Japan, a little, old, Japanese lady would come help my Mom clean house every two weeks. I've never met a woman more thorough and efficient when it comes to cleaning. She was well known all over post as THE Cleaning Lady. She had mad skills. She was at least 70, about my size when I was 13, but she had been cleaning houses on post for a long time and she was really good at it. That's how she'd made her living.

My Mom and Akiko-San would work side-by-side and get the house in ship-shape in no time. Mom would make Akiko-San lunch and then they'd get back to cleaning the house. Then Mom would drive Akiko-San back to the main gate, give her 8000 Yen, and she'd be on her way home for the day.

I always liked coming home from school and saying hi to Akiko-San. She was a nice lady. Mom used to send her family Christmas Cards after we moved back to the states. Akiko-San has since passed away.

Anyways, back to her mad skills.

I picked up a cleaning method from Akiko-San via my Mother. You know those Swiffers? They work just fine, but they come with a limited number of disposable Swiffer wipes. I personally would rather use rags, wash them, and reuse them than keep buying disposable Swiffer wipes.

Step #1: Get all of your rags wet in the ugly puke yellow sink, then dunk them in the bucket of soapy water. You will return to this area with your dirty rags to rinse them in the sink and then re-soapify them by dunking them in the still clean bucket of water. Note: Soapy water can be replaced by any form of cleaning supply you choose.
Step #2: Take you clean wet rags and tie them around the end of the Swiffer. You can fit 3 or 4 clean, wet rags on the end. You don't have to tie them in a knot or anything, they'll stay. Think step #1 of tying your shoe. That's all it takes.
Step #3: Mop. When your fist layer is too dirty to go on, just remove it and continue. You've got 3 more layers left to go! You can finish a whole room this way without having to really stop and rinse anything out.
It may seem a bit involved for some people, but it works and you can use rags lying around your house.

Thank you, Akiko-San.

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