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Posts tagged toilets

Modern or classic?

modern classic japanese toilets

Japanese toilets

Toilet slippers

toilet slippers

“In the night I made the beginner’s lavatory mistake. Whatever the style of Japanese lavatory–whether Western or the traditional hole in the floor–you never go into it wearing the same pair of slippers that you wear along the corridors. Another pair of slippers–often helpfully marked ‘lavatory’–is laid out for you there, and you change into them as you enter. The beginner’s lavatory mistake is this: stumbling half-pissed into a hole-in-the-floor-type lavatory at night, he kicks one of the lavatory slippers down the hole. This, I suppose, happens fairly regularly, but for a veteran of seven years to commit this blunder was an immediately sobering embarrassment. In fact, it was so embarrassing to be left hopping about in a single lavatory slipper that I kicked that down the hole to follow the first. My plan was to disclaim all knowledge of the slippers so that the maid would be accused of having forgotten to lay them out. This, I congratulated myself, was a cast-iron defense, but in the searing light of morning it struck me that I might well be resorting unawares to an instantly recognizable ‘beginner’s lavatory feeble ploy,’ so I avoided not only the downstairs guests but the entire domestic staff as well.”

(Alan Booth in The Roads to Sata p. 88)

The Japanese squat toilet

“For most of the night the rain splashed out of holes in the drainpipe and clattered on the window panes. And when I went downstairs to the lavatory, I found it crawling with inquisitive, bright orange maggots.

The rain stopped at five o’clock but the maggots were still there when I finally got up. So twice in the space of a couple of hours I was glad that rural Japanese-style lavatories… did not require my bum to come in contact with the porcelain. Hygienic-minded people have praised the arrangement on this account, though I can think of several drawbacks; …the pains and cramps that an unsupported squat must inflict on the elderly, the ill, the crippled, or the heavily pregnant. And here were a few dozen more little drawbacks, doing orange congas round the inside of the bowl.”

(Alan Booth in Looking for the Lost p. 173)

Japanese toilets

Continuing on the subject begun a week ago about Japanese toilets, today’s entry changes the theme from the Japanese squatter to the modern, high-tech Japanese toilet.

The photo above is of the toilet in our hotel in Hakone. In the U.S., on rare occasions, you may run into a very fancy toilet that includes a seat warmer. That is nothing compared to what you will find in Japan.

On the above toilet, not only can you warm the seat, you can wash your butt (おしり) or use a bidet (ビデ). I’m not sure why the bidet doesn’t wash your butt, but they have a different button for each. You can adjust the temperature of the seat and the temperature of the water hitting your backside as well. In addition you can adjust the angle and pressure of the water.

That may sound like a crazy number of features on a toilet, but there are others in Japan with many other capabilities as well. You can have your blood sugar tested as you pee, get a full blown enema, have a talking toilet, or get one that makes fake flushing noises with the push of a button so that those nearby can’t hear your bodily noises.

The Japanese take clean to a whole other level. More on that in a future blog entry…

One other nice thing about many toilets in Japan is the wash basin built into the back of the toilet (a feature we also experienced in Scandinavia this past summer). This allows you to wash your hands when you flush with the water that is going in to fill the tank. Not only does this design save on space but it also saves water (compared to how people wash their hands in the states by going to a separate wash basin/sink).

Pooping instructions

I took the above picture at a bathroom on the Hakone Round Course. Apparently some gaijin had misused the toilet in the past and made a mess.

When I lived in Japan in the 1980s I saw and used what we called “squatters” all the time. In fact, it was the most common public toilet at that point in time in Japan and was the only toilet I had in one of my apartments.

Fast forward to our visit in 2007. The above squatter was the only one we encountered in our entire two weeks in Japan. Squatters seem to be much rarer now. Japanese toilets are actually some of the best in the world with more gizmos and gadgets and features most people have never even dreamed of on a toilet.

When we arrived in Narita airport my family used the bathroom immediately after we got off the plane and said it was the best bathroom they’d ever seen. We experienced a few restrooms later on the trip that were even better.

Back to the above photo… The picture is quite humorous if you blow it up and look at it closely.