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Having completed the toilet
for the squire’s house on the third of June, the plan was made to spread the
toilet to the village.
First of all, as far as
materials were concerned, the inventory of the woodworker Craig’s workshop
seemed to be enough for about ten outhouses.
Next, how many toilets should
be built and at what rate?
I was once involved in the
rebuilding of a machine shop. According to what I heard at that time, one toilet
for every 30 people should be enough. Since that was a factory project, let’s
consider how many toilets would be needed with average homes in mind.
(If this were true, one per
household would be necessary, but since it would be a shared toilet, a little
less would be fine. If so, one per ten people should be enough…) (Zack)
Since it was not possible to
spread the system throughout the village all at once, a model district was
determined and all ten buildings were to be distributed there.
As for the model district, we
were going to propose that it be in the center of the village, in the middle of
the four hills, where Gordon’s house, the figurehead of the village, is
(It would be easier to spread
the idea if we could draw in the central figure, and since it is a meeting
place, it would be easy for the villagers to see the model district. There’s
also a tavern, which is just right to get the villagers’ attention. Plus, if we
put it somewhere else, Gordon may take offense. If we build one here first, he
can make it more visible. It’s best to start here and let Gordon pull others in.)
I went to my father with a
proposal to that effect.
My father called Gordon to
explain the purpose of the project and ordered Nicholas to survey the site and
build the toilet.
The next day, Gordon came to
the mansion in response to my father’s call.
Unfortunately, or perhaps it
was only natural, I, as a child, was not able to participate in the discussion.
My father told me that Gordon
did not understand the purpose of the toilet and was a bit puzzled. However, he
said that he was grateful for the facility, which was built by the Lord
himself, and that he would be able to use it. He also promised to cooperate
fully in making the residents aware of sanitary management.
I decided to leave the matter
to Nicholas and consider other matters.
(The outhouses seem to be
going well. We can start developing a hand pump for the well and some soap, and
if we can afford it, we can add a sewage system, and the village environment
will be somewhat improved. After that, it’s time to make specialty products. Or
rather, I’ll let my hobby, nay, my dream, come true. Fufufu…) (Zack)
At the time, I thought that
was a simple and easy thing to do. I thought I had already succeeded.
When we began construction of
the toilet in early June, there were no problems, and Nicholas only reported
that construction was progressing smoothly.
On the contrary, the villagers
also found time to help, and the ten latrines were completed more than ten days
earlier than the originally planned one-month construction period.
I don’t deny that I was caught
off guard by the fact that things were going so well.
As the saying goes, “All
is well that ends well,” and although the construction went well, the
“use” of the toilets afterward did not go so well.
I was responsible for not following
up on the project, but I assumed it was a complete success until I received a
report from Nicholas in early July, about a month later.
“It’s been about ten days
now, and I don’t see it being used very often.” (Nicholas)
informed me that he was sorry.
I couldn’t believe why they
weren’t using it, so I asked, “Why?”
“I checked with Gordon,
but he didn’t seem to get the point. All he said was that he was telling people
to use it, but they weren’t using it.” (Nicholas)
(Why? Do you mean they’d
rather be around their old smelly and dirty outhouse?) (Zack)
I struggle to get my head
around the idea.
(Why don’t they use it?
Wouldn’t they normally use it? …normally? Is my “normal” different
from the villagers’ common sense?) (Zack)
“I’d like to hear what
Nicholas has to say about it. Anything.” (Nicholas)
Nicholas looked a little
“Perhaps it is
“troublesome”. We thought it was troublesome at first, too… but it
was the lord’s order…” (Nicholas)
Then, perhaps noticing my
stare, he hastily adds.
“Yes, well, it is much
more comfortable now. There’s no smell, and it’s even fine if it rains… Promises
it is true.” (Nicholas)
I hear those words and realize
that I had forgotten the most basic of basics.
(I didn’t listen to the
client’s opinion at all… This time, isn’t everyone who uses a product a
client? I was working only with my own feelings in mind…I was the one who had
taught my juniors that a designer who doesn’t listen to the client’s opinion is
the worst…) (Zack)
I realized I was committing a
My senses are those of a
modern Japanese, not one of this world.
When people change an existing
system, no matter how beneficial it is, you can’t get it changed easily. People
are inevitably conservative and habitual creatures. So, I had to think about
how to get people to use the system, but I went ahead with my own preconceptions.
(Well, what shall we do? I need
to identify areas for improvement. Or we could take a survey.) (Zack)
I ordered Nicholas to
interview the villagers.
“I want you to ask why
the villagers don’t use it. Any opinion is fine, and nobody will be punished
for saying their opinion…” (Zack)
Then I reconsider that my idea
is not ideal.
“No. Reward those who
give their opinions, even if it’s only a small amount. This is my request to
I went to my father with
Nicholas and reported that the toilet system was not doing well in promoting
toilets. I then broach the subject that I would like to get the opinions of the
users in order to come up with a plan for improvement.
“I want to hear their
honest opinions. To that end, I would like to offer a reward of 10 (e) Eere (=100
yen) to anyone who expresses any opinion. I’m requesting your permission and support.”
“I don’t need to offer a
reward, but Nicholas will answer your question if you ask him.” (Matt)
My father can’t seem to
understand why I would waste my money on unnecessary expenses.
“Perhaps it would only
lead to bland opinions. For example, if we offer them a let’s say… reward,
they will try to give us opinions that sound good to our ears, but if they are
told that we will pay for bad opinions, they will try to give us as many
opinions as possible. That’s where the clues for improvement are.” (Zack)
As I shook my small fist and
argued my case, my father, perhaps overcome by the force of my argument,
approved the budget of 50 (C) Crona approximately 50 yen. [T/N: I think the
author is basing his money on the Swedish öre and krona since they sound
closest to what the author wrote.]
“If it costs too much
money in the future, I will reconsider this matter, you understand? Nicholas,
I’m sorry, but please indulge him a little longer.” (Matt)
My father suddenly has the
look of a lord, and after glaring at me, he hands the bag of money to Nicholas who
is behind me.
After we leave my father’s
office, I explain to Nicholas what to do when he asked questions.
“I want you and
Kate–Nicholas’ wife–to split up and listen to me. Nicholas will ask the men,
and Kate will ask the women. The important thing to remember when listening is
that no matter what your opinion is, no matter how unhelpful it may be, you
must hear it through to the end. Always give them money for their opinions. And
I want you to report your opinions as verbatim as possible. I’m sure you’ll be
fine, but please don’t brandish the idea of it being the lord’s orders.”
He didn’t seem quite convinced,
but he said he would follow my orders and headed for the village.
(Well, I pray I could pick up
a decent “voice” with this…) (Zack)
Two evenings later, Nicholas
and Kate both came to me with a stack of papers.
“We got a lot of feedback. The
results of the hearing those are written here. I’ve grouped those with similar
I flip through the contents on
a piece of paper.
There were three main
The first was that it was
often not available in the morning, so they couldn’t use it.
The second was that it was a
hassle to carry the accumulated waste, so they tried to avoid using it as much
Third, it is a hassle to go to
the bathroom in the first place.
These three factors accounted
for more than half of the total.
Other opinions expressed by
women were that they were often open (or slightly ajar) and that they could not
make it in time if they took their children with them.
The first is the issue of
There are 10 outhouses in every
20 households, so it is around 1 in 12 to 13 people. This may have been too
few. The only way to find the optimum ratio is to increase the number a little
The woman’s comment that the
door was “open” could be dealt with by putting a simple lock on the door, and
the children could be dealt with by increasing the number and usage of
something like a chamber pot.
The problem is the second and
the third. Those problems are quite troublesome.
Unless we come up with some
countermeasures, it will not spread.
How can we most effectively
spread the use of this technology?
If composting is successful,
the incentive to throw away valuable fertilizer will work to solve this
problem, but at this stage, we don’t even know if composting will be
successful, and we have to wait until the harvest season after spreading the
compost on the fields to see the effects of the compost.
(Should I enforce it here? Or
give another incentive? Create another set of outhouses and offer a reward for
the most successful composting… No. That would cost too much in the long
As I continued my thinking, a
little flash of inspiration came to me.
(I guess we’ll have to
strengthen the leadership role in the beginning. Gordon would be dissatisfied
with such a move, so I would give him some kind of position, like an honorary
position. For example, he could be a district head or a community leader. Until
now, a “figurehead” position did not have the endorsement of the
lord. (If he has the endorsement of the lord, it will stimulate his self-worth,
and he will take our request seriously.) (Zack)
I will continue to think about
(Better yet, if we divide the
village into several wards and make them into an administrative unit, we can
make four wards by dividing the village into 20 units, since there are several
to 10 houses clustered together within livable places. If each ward is headed
by a community leader, it would be easier to manage. Let’s talk to Father about
When I go to my father for
advice, he gives me a hard stare.
“Is it necessary to
divide this small village into sections? Wouldn’t a bad division create some sort
of factions between residences?”
I felt like I had hit a blind
“I had to admit that I
had some concerns about that, but I thought that originally we were only
neighbors. If that’s the case, I don’t see it being much of a problem.”
My father put a hold on giving
me the position of Mayor and ordered me to think of something else to name it.
“Not mayor… Do you have
a better name?” (Matt)
“How about a civil
officer? With the role of looking after people’s lives?” (Zack)
“Civil officer, huh?
…how are they compensated?” (Matt)
“How about an honorary
position? Then a banquet once or twice a year with all the civil officials at
the mansion?” (Zack)
“I see. That would not
cost much money, and those who cannot afford it would not want to do it. On the
other hand, those who want the honor may want to do it… I’ll ask Gordon about
it. But make sure he knows what he’s responsible for.” (Matt)
By “civil officer” I
am thinking of a simplified version of the Civilian Welfare Commissioner we
have in Japan.
I don’t know much about civil service
workers, so it would have to be a simplified version, but if the job is to
understand the living conditions of the residents and help improve them, then
naturally, improving the toilets would be part of the job.
I prepared a simple memo and
handed it to my father.
It would be a few more months
before the toilets were ready for widespread use.
I guess I still have to
monitor the situation from time to time, but I also think that if I follow up
properly, I can make it work.
I said a few words of thanks
to Nicholas and Kate and began to think about my next project.
Yes, I forgot to mention that
my grandfather’s training continued while I was improving the toilet.
Every day, I would do 20
minutes of training before breakfast, and in the morning I would join my older
sibling for a training session. Then, in the evening, I would do another 20
minutes of training before going home for dinner.
Even though it had been more
than half a month since I started training, I was only allowed to do a single
Dan, who had started training
with us again, seemed to be frustrated that Mel and I were leaving him behind,
so he began to take the exercises more seriously.
Then, on June 20th, the
twenty-fifth day after we started training.
I became a “Swordsman”.
A/N: I have two chapters dedicated to Toilet Reform. I regret it may
be a little bit.
(I probably haven’t finished it
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