I'm at war with the washing machine. No matter which countermeasures I take, this "home appliance" manages to stretch my clothes to extreme and unfair proportions. It is particularly brutal to t-shirts.

I'm not the only one. Each apartment in my building has the same model. Every so often I spot a student, a fellow soldier from the front, with a t-shirt draped loosely around their neck like a toga; a t-shirt sent forth into the watery void only to return a changed garment, a v-neck vest or a one-piece skirt.

The machine, a Sharp ES-25E, consists of a main washing tank with an impeller at the bottom. The impeller, which periodically changes direction, creates a watery vortex of death in which my hapless clothes become "clean". They also become stretched in a way similar to when approaching the event horizon of a black hole. The impeller can be set between two levels, strong and weak, both of which elicit evil cackles from the machine. Down at the 100 yen shop, you can buy nylon-mesh bags for protecting clothes. In theory this reduces the stresses experienced when spinning through the vortex but, alas, it merely delays the inevitable.

If I had a dryer, I could purposefully shrink the clothing back into a reasonable shape. Hmm... Perhaps the war is not lost.