Bathrooms in Japan

Just got back from the company bathroom, and thought it was about time I wrote about a typical bathroom experience.

The bathrooms in Japan – definitely a mixed bag. On one end, you have the company bathrooms, very nice. If the lights are off (to conserve energy – this is Sanyo, after all!) they turn on when you enter the bathroom. The taps do not seem to have a “hot” option, as they just dump out moderately cold water. I don’t mind. A couple of the bathrooms have a motion sensor “jet towel,” that blasts many small streams of air at your hands blowing all water droplets off – very effective. The urinals, for us guys, also require no physical touch: stand in front, customary pre-flush (“I like a fresh bowl”), do your thing, walk away, manditory after flush. So far, no contact required….

If you have more serious business to attend to… OR, you’re a girl… you MAY require contact… Read on….

The toilet comes in 2 basic varieties. First, the Asian squat toilet. Sounds appealing doesn’t it? These seem to be the most abundant in Japan, for reasons I’m unsure. I think the disadvantages of this toilet design far outweigh any savings made. But, there is ONE (that is a single) advantage to the squat: no contact. You don’t sit on anything. You don’t have to touch what other people have touched with one of the most dirty parts of the human body. Okay. Fine. Disadvantages? Well, where do I start? It’s not as relaxing, because you’re not sitting, you’re squatting! Once you’ve assumed the position, you can’t help but worry: “geee, I can’t really see my pants… I’d better try and change position just to be sure I don’t….” Needless to say, it is not an enjoyable experience, and I still do not trust it. I can’t even imagine doing the squat if I was… oh… not feeling so good, maybe? Only disaster could follow!

It is not uncommon for older woman to be in the men’s washroom. 100% of the cleaning staff are older woman, easily identified by their pink and green uniforms. They sweep the floors around the office while pepople are working, and clean the bathrooms while people are… busy. At first, it was weird taking a piss with a woman sweeping the floor behind me. Now, I’ve gotten used to it. On a related note, train stations are infamous for having very open washrooms, where you may as well just walk up to a wall and do your thing there. Japan is strange. Very conservative in some ways, and not in others.

Yes, it’s true, “western style” toilets exist in Japan. But like the Japanese have done with many things, they’ve copied and improved. At the company washrooms (the ones I frequent, anyways), there is one western style toilet and 2 squats. How is it improved upon, you ask? Well, the seat is always warm (this could also be because it’s much more popular and frequented than the squats). When you sit your arse down, a fan turns on… I’m not too sure where, but I’m sure it turns on. There are soluble paper sheets you can place on the toilet seat to avoid the “contact” issue, as much as possible. Once done here, you can even play with the bidet function and a couple variations of it (there’s a remote control). Just try not to enjoy it too much. šŸ˜‰

No, I did not write this whole thing on company time. As usual, I cannot bring myself to spend too much time doing non-work stuff; I have a big project constantly beating the crap outta me.

Only the luxurious bathrooms have jet towels, or any sort of drying mechanism. Usually, you will have to pull out your trusty handkerchief to dry your hands. In Japan, you must have a handkerchief. There is no other option….

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