Ok, if you are offended easily or get squeamish then you need to hit your back button now. Go on, get on with it. Ok? Ok, if you’ve decided to stay then get ready for some fun.
I’m not even going to begin to describe what you are about to see. Just imagine you’re in a foreign country, Japan, for the first time. The food and beverages aren’t exactly agreeing with you, you’re on a trip to a tourist trap on top of a mountain, your stomach starts rumbling, and you’re almost touching cloth, so you dash to the nearest facilities, throw open the door and see this….
Yeah, now you know how I felt. That situation outlined above is exactly what happened to me waaay back in 1990 when I first came here for a visit. I tossed that door open and looked down and thought I was going to die. How in the hell are you supposed to use that thing? Am I supposed to sit right down on it? Because I can tell you right now there is no way on God’s green earth I’m putting my butt down on that. Ewwww….
Well, sitting down on the floor wasn’t the answer. I didn’t learn that the hard way though. No, there was a hotel not too far away from where we were so I dashed back out and made a bee line to the hotel. Just made it too. Anyway, I found instructions later on how the Japanese style toilet is supposed to be used. Before I continue with the explanation let me inform you that the following instructions were actually found on a government office building’s bathroom wall. No shit! ……no pun intended. Oh, one more thing, if you’re sitting at your desk drinking something I would advise not having any liquids in your mouth past this point as you will either spit them all over your computer or run them out of your nose. Either way, trust me, put the drinks down. Ok, here we go…
How to use a Japanese style toilet
First, make sure you’re facing the correct direction. Step over the commode and drop your drawers.
Next, squat down. Now, for men, it may seem that you are aiming directly into your pants. Guess what? You are. You need to really get down into a deep squat and lean back a little. Yes, lean back. And push everything down. Now, if you can hold that position for more than a few seconds then you deserve a medal. I would suggest holding onto an exposed pipe or putting both arms straight out and bracing yourself between the walls of the stall.
Next. Do your business. Good thing they showed him actually “offloading some freight” or you’d never know where you’re at in the process. After that, stay in your squatting position and wipe. Do not attempt to stand up.
Last but not least, stand up, pull up your pants and leave. Be careful when standing up though. If you’re like any normal westerner your knees are going to be at their limit so be careful, as the instructions say, “if you lost balance you gonna fall down on shit”
Now, I hope none of the faithful followers of this blog think I’m making this up. Trust me, you can ask any westerner that has visited Japan if they have seen anything similar to this and I bet 100% of the time you’re gonna get a “yes” from them.
I’ve got numerous stories of accidents that have happened attempting to use one of these toilets. I was at work one day and had to go really bad. I usually wouldn’t use the toilet in the office if I had the option of heading down the street to the hotel but one day I didn’t have that option. I really had to go so I ran in there, got into position, and while I was “watering the plants” I wasn’t hearing anything splashing the water. You know why? Because I was peeing right into the ass of my pants. Yeah, I actually had to put on pants that were soaked with urine, walk to the train station and ride the train 20 minutes back to my city, and then ride my bike 3km back to my house. Of course all of this was done after having to humiliate myself by telling the boss why I needed to leave work. Yeah, fun. Thank God the Japanese aren’t into the insult jokes/picking on people thing that us Americans are. I’d never be able to live that one down.
Another time I was making a trip to America. Well, that morning I got on the train to make the 4 hour trek to the airport. I get real nervous when I fly so it’s not unusual for me to be percolating butt coffee. So I’m on the train no more than 10 minutes and the stomach tells me I need to get to a bathroom ASAP. Next stop I jumped off the train, ran up the steps, across the bridge, down the other side, dashed into the toilet, looked in all stalls for a western style….with no luck, dropped ’em, squatted and blew an upside down chocolate sundae all over the floor. Yeah, I had to clean it up. Nice.
Now, you may be sitting there thinking “Damn, Jim, aren’t you embarrassed to tell those stories? Well, the quick answer is “Of course I am”. But, hopefully telling my stories can help out someone else in the future.
I’ve learned 2 things about Japanese style toilets. First, there is an actual way to use one. Second, don’t ever use one unless you absolutely have no other choice. And when I say no other choice that is exactly what I mean. Hanging your naked butt over a guardrail on the side of the road is even a better option than having to use one of these things.
Advice? Yes. If you come to Japan map out the locations of any hotels, McDonald’s, KFC etc… The Japanese are extremely clean people and most public bathrooms are not filthy and disgusting………except for train stations. I saw a turd in a urinal at Tokyo station one day. Stay away from train station bathrooms. Hotels are the Gold Choice.
Y’all come back, I’ll leave a light on for ya,