Wednesday, November 5, 2008

More on Eastern Bathrooms!

This might be my favorite topic so far. Something about bathroom habits really gets me pumped up! Its probably the kid in me looking for a public venue for a little potty humor, but I'm going to pretend that its the fact that its a topic that many people worry about when they're on the road and I'm doing a public service by documenting my experience.

I came across one of the fabled toilets with a heated seat and built-in bidet--truly a throne if ever there were! Stephen had mentioned them to me before I left DC, but having been in Japan for over a week, I was sure I wasn't going to find one. Then 'lo and behold! This magical creation was in my hostel in Osaka, and at first I was stumped.

The whole heated seat thing threw me off because I wasn't expecting it when I sat down. I did my business and then (like a kid) started playing with all the buttons this thing comes with. You can adjust the seat temperature, the water pressure and, on some models, you can add a flushing sound to the mix if you need some inspiration to move things along. Its very odd. Especially when someone uses one in say, a department store where there are lots of stalls. Um, I know what you're doing in there. No amount of noise the toilet makes is going to distract me from that fact. You're not hiding anything, lady!

What I also found is that some models have a timed bidet feature (uncomfortably long for the normal person--like 15 to 30 seconds, but in the name of research I had to try it out), where some have a freaking free flow with no end in sight! There's a stop button on that bad boy for a reason! Nobody trying to freshen up needs a jet like that! No, that takes a far more twisted mind to enjoy the endless spray. Its not my thing, for sure!

Since my first experience in Osaka, I've seen these awesome toilets a few more times in Tokyo. But then I was reminded of the other awful piss-holes that are out there when I stumbled across this sign in a (disgusting!) public bathroom outside the Osaka Castle.

This may have come in handy, um, about A WEEK AGO! I figured it out for myself without this instructional guide, but still had a good laugh when I saw it and thought I'd share. Especially since the person giving the demonstration is clothed. These toilets are not fun. The picture says it all. This is a situation where constipation could be your worst enemy! There's no leisurely waiting for nature to run its course without fearing that you may be unable to walk for the rest of the day. You can't possibly hold this position for more than a quick pee without your legs going numb!

I've learned how to find the Western-style toilets wherever I go. The trick is to find the handicapped stall. They're not going to make Granny squat over a hole! She might break a hip! And I, for one, fully support that initiative!

The thing about Western-style toilets here is that people actually respect them! I have NEVER walked into one and seen someone else's pee all over the seat! They are usually immaculate and cleaned regularly. It always makes me chuckle when I walk into a stall in a public place like a train station and they've folded over the first sheets of toilet paper on each roll the way they do in hotels. Even the Eastern-style bathrooms are at least clean. Americans, take a lesson and respect what could easily be such a rare gem--a place to SIT and do your business!

1 comment:

  1. aight...i've seen some great pics before and read numerous instructional postings....but NEVER have I seen an actual person modeling!

    CN should offer a few more of these 'helpful' hints