Sunday, August 21, 2005

Japanese Toilet

Imagine this: You've just been on a 14 hour flight, bad plane food, too much soda, and with a jolting landing all that badly cooked plane meal slams to the bottom of your lower intestine. You squirm, and pinch it in as you have to slowly wait in a line of bad smelling sweaty people who are all eagerly waiting to get off the plane too.

You enter the airport terminal with a vigor and you speedwalk to the nearest bathroom desperately grasping your stomach as your intestines gurgle. Holding back the force of diaratic turmoil you find the toiletries and you go to the first available stall. Slamming open the door with a sweaty vigor, you find this?!

The Infamous Japanese toilet. How does it work?

What the hell is it you wonder? Where did the toilet go? You rush to the next stall, bam! Door open, same thing. Next stall. Where did the toilets go? What's this hole in the floor? And then in the disturbing immediacy of the pressure building moment you momentarily have the fear that your only option is to shit your own pants. What kind of country is this that doesn't have a freakin' normal toilet you ask yourself? And then in the humility of it all, you fumble around and poop in the little hole in the ground, to what some may call, a toilet.


Only they don't prepare you for this type of culture shock. Luckily, most modern airporst are equiped with western style toilets, but if you are like me and fly to smaller Japan towns, or visit older houses, restaurants, and so on, you will always be a little put off when you see the challenge ahead of you.

How the heck does one use this thing? Well, inevitably that is the first question that goes through your head. And unless you spent the entire flight studying various culture's toileting habbits, odds are you're not going to be prepared. However, because adventuress types like myself go ahead into the fray of multi-cultural toileting, I am here to share with you all my humiliating yet very fascinating experience, on how to use the Japanese toilet!

Sometimes they come with a step! Just to complicate things and confuse you even more. You step up then squat down? What?

Often times you later find that you miss-used the toilet, or rather, incorectly utilized its bizzar feature. I mean, all you do is squat right? Yes, and then a week later you may find you squated the wrong way. How embarassing is that? To find out that you sat on the toilet backwards, well, I'm here to tell you that is a humbling experience and one of the culture shocks you might someday face yourself if you ever decide to go to Japan. But don't let the fear of using a Japanese toilet stop you from going to Japan! It's a wonderful country, and you will find that most places do have western style toilets, and even the older places have at least one. It just becomes a matter of availability at that given moment, so it's a good rule of thumb to get comfortable using the Japanese style toilet when in Japan, just in case your other options run out.

Toilets for dummies.

So do you take your pants all the way off? One leg maybe? Well, as they seem to do it, your just pull your pants down to your knees and squat, but I'm always afraid I may fill up my pants with something not so pleasant, so I pull out one leg. Personally this is more time consuming, but a heck of a lot more comfortable. After that the trick is balancing just right so you don't fall backwards. I have found that if it is convenient to do so, leaning forward and puting one hand against the wall to steady myself works nicely. Yet it all comes down to a matter of what you find most comforable, because the truth is, squating like the diagram shows is hardly a walk in the park. And afterwards you have soar calves and wobbly legs too! All the older generation of Japanese will assure you that squating is easy with some practice, and that it eventually becomes easy as sitting on a western toilet. Well they're all liers! Because it never gets easy, but when you gotta go, you gotta go.


Martin W. said...

So you have a visitor coming your way. I read these things. :)


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Mr. DUDE MAN said...

lol, thanks for the warning!

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Tristan Vick said...

This blog has had several years to evolve, and I hope it continues strong. If you want more wacky Japan adventures, check out the archives for the months of June through August (2005). Losts of fun from my time in Japan!

Ako said...

Greetings Tristan Vick-san,

What a wonderful blog you have! I'm impressed!
It's interesting to read about Japan through your eyes.
I like the diagram, squatting over a toilet.