Since I brought up the subject of toilets in the last post I may as well get that topic out of the way. I’ve written in the past about the Dutch toilets with viewing platforms that magnify smell. The cavernous English thrones that amplify sound. The Ethiopian squat toilets and Turkish bidets and broken Cuban toilets that require a human to dump a bucket of water down after you’ve used one. The silent Australian toilet rooms.
But no one beats the Japanese for toilets. Here’s the control panel of a typical one. Yes, I said “control panel.”
I am not one to linger on the toilet. I do my business and get on my way. But I found myself fiddling around with buttons in Japan, just to see what would happen.
I have to say, I enjoyed the toilet seat warming function, although it was a bit alarming the first few times when I wasn’t expecting it. Why don’t we have this in Minnesota, where toilet seats really are cold in the winter?
Note how the bidet and butt spray buttons are color-coded blue and pink. And the figure sitting on a fountain of water inside the pink button has long hair, just in case some man doesn’t understand that a bidet is for females. Hey, isn’t that sexist?
I just noticed there’s a “Stand By” button. What the … shouldn’t it be “Sit By”?
This sleek silver control panel renamed the “bidet” and butt-spray buttons “front” and “rear.” Not exactly accurate or, wait a minute! Have I been doing it all wrong?
There were toilets with so many options you could spend all day trying to decide.
If I could read braille, maybe I would have known what this panel offered.
This toilet, which was on a train, had a dryer option. The thought of hurtling along at 80 mph while having my bum blow dried did not appeal.
This toilet room reminded me of an operating room. Scary.
I only used western-style toilets. The traditional Japanese squats didn’t have any of the features above. I know because I accidentally opened the wrong doors a few times. I caught a vibe that the Japanese feel their toilets are superior to western-style toilets, so all the washing and whooshing isn’t needed. Who knows, they may be right.
For those who had never used a western-style toilet, there were directions. I like how the little figures on the right are clenching their fists, apparently toiling. Ha ha.
There were pleas to please be clean. Thing was, there are no rubbish bins anywhere in public places in Japan, except occasionally in bathrooms. Apparently this is part of everyone being responsible for his or her own trash. You don’t make anyone else clean up after you—including emptying rubbish bins. You carry a plastic bag with you everywhere, and save up your ice cream wrappers and used hand wipes and train tickets to dispose of when you get home. There was no litter, anywhere. Also no graffiti, for that matter.
My favorite head shaker was the model that included a little fountain or faucet on the back of the toilet. Was it a drinking fountain? No. This was for hand-washing.
I suppose the all-in-one toilet/sink was considered a convenience but psychologically I had to work to get over the idea of rinsing my hands on the back of a toilet.
Speaking of sinks, the public restrooms had sinks but no soap or towels or any way to dry one’s hands. So you rinsed your hands with cold water, then shook them all over the place or rubbed them on your clothes. That hardly seems sanitary.
I liked the name of this air freshening device.
There was always toilet paper, and to my relief it was not thin as I’d experienced in Australia.
This alarming configuration was in a restaurant.
This stack of TP was in the botanical garden in Nikko. Really, Japan? You have to feature cute little animals on TP? I guess we do it too, in the US.
I didn’t spend all my time in bathrooms taking photos.
In Nikko, I spent my second day taking in the non-famous sites, including the mysterious Abyss.