Of Toilet Washing

This story took place in Japan.

Many years ago, a young girl went to Tokyo Imperial Hotel to seek a job. As it was her first job, a new chapter in her life, she was very zealous about it. She resolved to put in her best and do well in it. But to her surprise, her superior in the hotel arranged for her to wash the toilet!

Nobody enjoys working as a toilet cleaner. Let alone a young girl like her whose skin was still soft and smooth and had never done any laborious work before. It was not only the physical strength needed but also the sight, smell and etc. that one has to put up with. Her superior specifically told her that she was expected to clean the toilet until it was sparkling clean and bright like brand new.

The young girl got really distressed and broke into tears. But she knew that she needed to make a decision at this point; whether to carry on with this toilet cleaning job or leave and find another job. “It is difficult to carry on” she thought. “But finding another job is as good as shrinking away from a dirty task given to you”. A strong-willed person like her refused to give up just like that. “There is no backing out in life journey” she thought as she recalled her resolution at the beginning; to put in her best and do well in her first job.

At this critical point of time, a senior in her department appeared. First, he cleaned the toilet bowl over and over again until it really sparkled like brand new. After that, he used a cup and scooped up water from the toilet bowl and drank it without any hesitation! Actions speak louder than words. He showed the young girl a very simple truth – the key to “sparkling clean and bright like brand new” lied in being absolutely new without any dirty things at all. No one would think that a new toilet bowl is dirty and thus the water in it would be absolutely drinkable. So if the water in a washed toilet bowl was drinkable, it had really been washed till “sparkling clean and bright like brand new”. It had just been proven that it can be done. The senior gave her a smile. She was totally disillusioned! “Even if I were to be made to clean the toilet my whole life, I want to be the most outstanding toilet-cleaner” she made up her mind.

From that moment onwards, she was a changed person. She consistently produced work of the same excellent standard as her senior. She drank water from the toilet bowls she had just washed many times to test her self-confidence and to prove the quality of her work. This was how she beautifully stepped onto her first step in the new chapter of her life, on her road to success. Many years passed and she is now a politician in Japan – Ms Seiko Noda. Her continuous belief in doing well in her job gained her success in her life.

This inspiring true story about her continues to motivate many Japanese today. We naturally think lowly of toilet-cleaning job. “What does one gain from being the best in toilet cleaning? It is just a dirty and laborious job”. But who would think that a toilet cleaner could rise up to a country politician? No matter what job it is, there is only one thing important; develop respect and passion for your job!