Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Let's Talk Toilets

Every time I go into a bathroom I'm not sure what I'll find. I mean, clearly the obvious, but the variations of toilets here just amazes me; the variations and the amenities. Even the McDonalds on base has a fancy toilet! And in case you don't know which buttons do what, usually instructions are posted inside each stall. Sometimes the bathrooms have squat toilets. My friend Julie loved those when potty training her son, but I have to be honest, I don't like them since I'm not used to them, and Keanna is just plain terrified of them! Usually there's both types of toilets in public bathrooms, so I've gotten in the habit of checking before choosing.

Lately every seat I've sat on has been heated. I lost my appreciation for that after spending a few years living in Hawaii, but let me tell you, have you ever been ice cold and unexpectedly sat on a warm seat? It's wonderful! Bob and I agree that before we leave here we're going to buy a fancy seat. I'm not talking about only a heated seat, but a Japanese seat.

Japanese toilets often have four or five buttons ... One button, labeled with a music note, creates a flushing sound when pushed to cover any embarrassing bathroom noises, which, from what I've heard, is any noise a person would make in the bathroom. (Sometimes the buttons are on the wall, other times it's attached to the toilet). The others mostly relate to the integrated bidet, which both sprays clean water and blow dries, right from the toilet. And the spray button and bidet button hit two different areas...the first few times I tried it I laughed so hard I snorted. Then I hit the music note button to try to cover up the snorting that comes with my laughing. Anyway if you ever come to visit here, don't say I haven't warned you! But beware, the shock of pressing a strange button and suddenly feeling a jet of water "down there" can lead to jumping and soaked pants. Well, maybe not soaked pants, but a few drips or dribbles!

Here is a collection of pictures I've taken during our nine months here, and a video too. I recorded this video on December 20th at a rest area off the expressway (highway) on our way to see the Nagano Snow Monkeys.

This is the bathroom from the Begonia & Owl Park. We went here in September and again in December. Notice the water on top of the toilet is running? It did that when the toilet flushed.















And here are toilet seats for sale. This particular store was in Akihabara. We headed up there on Friday...pictures will be coming soon. Anyway, the toilet seat on the right was plugged in. When I walked by it the lid came up scaring the snot out of me. You can see that this one includes the water squirting.
















And here's a bathroom at a rest stop. When we walked in the lit board on the ceiling told us what types of toilets were in which stalls, and the blue lights tell you which is available...the red light means occupied. Pretty nifty, eh? And every bathroom at these rest stops, and even at stores and restaurants have a little urinal in them and a lower sink for kids.













The picture on the left is an example of the squat toilet I talked about earlier. One foot on either side and you face the side with the tank. There's a pipe you can hang on to if you need. On the right is another example of a lower sink...Sydney is two and it's the perfect height for her. Keanna's using the hand dryer.
















I saw this sign outside a stall at the rest area on the way home from the Nagano snow monkeys. I've never seen the changing table with a person standing on it before. So naturally I went in and snapped a shot. My guess is it's to stand on, without shoes, to change your clothes. That way your socks stay clean/dry? And see the toilet, it's got the control pad for water squirting, noise, heated seat, etc. The thing hanging above the toilet is a kid's seat that can be placed on the seat...just like what some people buy when potty training their kids.












18 comments:

kkrowan said...

When I went to Bahrain to see my husband they has the squat tolilets and I just couldn't do it. I tried to wrok up the courage but it just wasn't in me.

newsjunkie said...

OK if I ever save up enough money to come visit you, we will have to just spend a day touring bathrooms. This is seriously fascinating! :)

rycarjam said...

You are fascinating me :) I can't wait for the next post. I wish we had heated seats over here, I don't know if I could do the squat toilet though.

Kellie in CT :)

Terri said...

Thanks for taking me potty with you? I really enjoyed it! lol I've said it before and I'll say it again..you are having TOO MUCH FUN! Who would have thought that bathrooms fascinate you? lol

Party of 5 said...

I love it. I often wonder why more places in the US don't have lower toliets (or even just the covers) and lower sinks or stools for the kids. After holding 3 kids (one still needs help) up to the sink to wash their hands with their tummys pressed up against the rim I am ready to buy a million stools and cart them to every place I walk into for the restrooms. LOL Most would only need two at the least - one for the mens room and one for the woman's room. Geez

Katie said...

KKrowan, I've used the squatty potty once and that was enough! I was so afraid my pants were going to get wet!

Sandy, I'm all for that!

Kellie, thanks for reading!

Terri, you're lucky I only took pictures of what I did and when. And you know how easily entertained I am!!!

Party of 5, you're so right and I agree with you 100%. Little things that seem so silly make life so much easier here. When you put money in a vending machine only things you put enough money for light up. Tea bags have little slits in the tag so they rest on the top of your mug...and there's so much more! It's little things like this that make me absolutly love living here.

colmert said...

Thanks for sharing your photos, video, and observations.

I was in Japan last April for 3 weeks, mostly for a vacation but also to photograph toilets for a book I wrote about bathrooms (entitled "Bathrooms Make Me Nervous" at www.bathroomsmakemenervous.com)

I've done a fair amount of global travel over the years and,like you, found the Japanese toilets & bathrooms absolutely fascinating and in many ways so foreign to what we experience in the USA. I've never encountered such sanitary and well-maintained bathrooms anywhere - quite impressive!

A few comments: (1) Japan is noted for having the most "high-tech" toilets in the world and priding itself in hygiene (2) You must have seen or heard the Otohime ("Sound Princess"), the device that makes flushing sounds to disguise noise. Toto, the leading toilet manufacturer, introduced them in women's bathrooms because many Japanese women are said to be embarrassed about the sounds they make while using a toilet and sometimes flush the toilet 3-4 times to cover up noise. What's interesting to me is that apparently these gizmos are not found in men's restrooms! Your comment?

Jai said...

I have seen the "high-tech" toilets in some Japanese restaurants in Dallas, I never had the nerve to experiment! Thank you so much for giving us a tour! I may be coming down your way for a visit and I will most definitely remember this! Your blog is so awesome! Take care!!

Anonymous said...

LMAO only YOU could blog about toilets :P seriously though, very cool, would be interesting to try them :) and oooooh HEATED.. would of loved a seat like that back in Missouri. Can picture you giggle snorting :P *SNORT* *SNORT* lol...

Brigitte S.

Inkspots said...

LOL! This is great and such a fantastic post for those back home. I'll have to follow suit. We were introduced to the squatties in Europe, but they were rather primative there. Japan and Germany have the best toilets in the world by far! Why can't American stops be that clean?

Sarah said...

I forgot what a cold seat felt like!!! :-) I'm sure they are lovely. The whole bidet thing freaks me out though...how do you know the water is really clean that is shooting up your whoo-ha? :-)

Aloha! said...

I told DH we HAVE got to come visit LMAO!! Love the toilets!!

AllBlueZoo said...

ahhh, Katie! You never cease to amaze me! How much would it cost to send one of these seats to Hawai'i?!

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Jesse said...

I am glad to have come upon your site, very interesting and looking forward to reading and seeing more photographs from your journeys.
Thanks for sharing

Ana said...

Wow, that was interesting. We are hoping to get orders to Japan this fall, and I had been told it was pretty kid-friendly. The bathrooms sure do bear that out. Reading this makes me all the more hopeful we will get to go out there. I'm gonna cry if they keep us stateside.

Andrew-Josiah said...

Hi Katie! You okay? I miss your updates. Hope to read new things soon!

Love,
Andrina

MoziEsmé said...

Amazing! My complaint has been lack of toilets (and TP) in africa...