Out with the old, in with the new.
After about two years of trying to get our dishwasher replaced (it was so old, it was becoming a serious health threat), the landlord finally gave in. I am only adding the dishwasher to the memory archive as I’d like to keep hold of one particular memory regarding it.
The memory is the outcome of my second attempt to have the machine replaced. As most of the inner fittings couldn’t be disassembled for a, desperately needed, thorough cleaning, Professional Cleaning was arranged by the landlord — instead of the hoped-for replacement. A middle-aged man wearing a suit arrived at our house, spending the next 2.5 hours on his knees, cleaning the hard to reach nooks and crannies of the dishwasher with what looked like small cotton swabs. Just writing this down brings back the mix of extreme awkwardness, pity, amusement and despair (of not being able to tell him to just leave it be) that I felt while he was at ours.
This memory is typical of the helplessness you can feel when things that you haven’t asked for are arranged on your behalf. There is never really a (polite) way out of it; especially when you don’t speak much Japanese.