Will & Tracy

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Japanese Toilet

And now after learning about Japanese bowing etiquette, it is now time to talk about a much more personal subject - Japanese toilet ettiquette - and I thought Will was joking. If you click on the link above, you will see that this page of explanation is LONGER than the page on bowing etiquette.

The Japanese toilet is actually housed in it own little small room separate from the "bathroom" where you brush your teeth and bathe. The toilet area is usually found near the entrance of the house since the entrance and toilet area are "unclean" - thus the history of taking off your shoes before entering the "clean" part of the house. In real Japanese homes you also have special slippers that are used just in the toilet area and then left outside the toilet room. We have not made this rule since we have a Western style toilet versus a "squatter."

So I'll spare you most of the history since you can read it by clicking on the title link above...but I wanted to show you our toilet and toilet controls. Yes, the toilet is very and I mean VERY functional. You will see that there is not a normal sink, but rather after you flush the mini-sink above the toilet seat actually gives you clean water to wash your hands and it is the same water used to refill the bowl - Japanese efficiency at its best! Its seat is always heated and although ours does not do this, some toilets actually sense a person in the room and will lift the seat for you. You can vary the temperature setting of your "seat" and although it has an automated flush, you can also push a button (if you need a "bigger" flush since you went #2 you push the japanese symbol for "big" and if you went #1, then you can push the symbol for "little" flush). There are also different functions that you can use to "spray" different "private" areas and even a blow dry function - nope - again - not kidding.

Well, I've been avoiding these "extra" functions for a while now - but yesterday it was the weekend and I thought what better time to try one out. So I push the spray function and then wait - a few seconds later I let out a "woooooo" - yikes, I thought Will told me that was going to be warm water (maybe that is the next model upgrade). After a few seconds I'm used to it - well kinda used to it...but then I'm just waiting for it to stop. I mean everything else is automated, why wouldn't this just stop automatically. Wrong. I'm waiting and waiting - several minutes go by .... I contimplate calling Will in because I have no idea which button means stop and since the water is spraying up I can't really stand up since that would produce a fountain effect all over the toilet room. I have to be careful about what button I push because the other day when I tried to figure out how to let Will in the front gated door I pushed the emergency button - thank goodness I turned it off fast enough before the police arrived (yes, Will had that experience when he first arrived). Granted I'm using a different control panel here, but I didn't want the swat team to show up and I'm in the bathroom with water spraying on my arse. In the end, after pushing all the other buttons and getting that little blow dry in there as well, I finally decide to push the one with the red light underneath and held my breathe ... eureka... the spray stopped.

I step out of the bathroom feeling rather refreshed but still laughing. I asked Will if he had missed me and thank goodness he had not noticed the 10 minute bathroom escapade. He did however tell me that he would be happy to teach me Japanese Toilet Training 101 next time around. I said no thanks, I think I figured it out ... like figured out I wasn't going to do THAT again.

So after going back and reading up on toilet ettiquette and what the many buttons could possible be used for, I am now disappointed that our controls do not have a "music" button - which is the sound of a toilet flushing. Why do you need the recorded sound of a toilet flushing in the bathroom you ask? Well, according to Wikipedia some Japanese women are embarrassed at the thought of being heard by others during urination (what, and they are not embarrassed by pooping?) and so to cover the sound of bodily functions, many women flushed public toilets continuously while using them, wasting a large amount of water in the process. In the 1980s a device was introduced that, after activation, produces the sound of flushing water without the need for actual flushing."

Yes, yes...I'm done - you need time to ponder... I understand.


Blogger Jenny Helm said...

Pondering, yes..

I heart your blog. Totally.

Miss you!

3:31 PM  
Blogger willandtracy said...

Ah, someone brave enough to leave a potty comment - there were a few of you that admitted over email/phone that you almost peed your pants with this one, but no one dared leave a comment?!? The rest of you are wussies - or - I have to come to the realization that no one reads my blog anymore.

Miss you too Jenny - see you this summer!

4:51 PM  

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