2:00 PM

The Japanese Toilet

Many of you have heard us talk about the “Japanese toilet” from our prior visits. Well the true Japanese toilet is a much like a urinal on its side in the floor much like this one:

Yes, same for both men & women, though the men have progressed much faster & have mostly urinals on the walls now, while the ladies are still....squatting. The original design of these toilets was so that back when everyone wore traditional dress, you simply lifted up the skirts & relieved yourself. But then again, they used to do this in the streets too & then wash the streets at night.

You will still find these traditional toilets all around Japan, especially at the train stations & most older stores & malls. They may have added a more western style toilet, like ours at the top, but there will only be a limited number of them available & usually reserved for those who are elderly....or in my case I believe pregnancy applies. (Squatting down off balance & getting back up is hard labor for a pregnant lady on a slippery floor.)

However, a western style toilet in Japan is not like one that you see in the States. You don’t just sit, do your business, get up & flush in the home. Because in houses toilets are kept separated from the rest of your “wash & bathing” facilities, behind their own closed doors & houses are small, the back of the toilet is also your sink.

You you read that right, the sink. Don’t panic! No! Wait! Listen! The sink that you see on the back of the toilet is fresh water coming in from a pipe, not from the toilet tank. I know that the appearance is very deceiving. I assure you though it is indeed fresh water. First you close the lid, then you lean over slightly & you wash your hands. The soapy water then fills the tank & bowl portions of the toilet. The nice thing is...it helps clean the toilet too! (The Japanese are always so practical & logical...it’s hard to get upset with them...ever!)

Other features you will find on Japanese Western style toilets that are also on the many in town versions is a built in bidet (french bum washers). They also come with built in seat warmers, so in the cold winter months you can have a warm tush when you use the toilet. Some of the in town versions also have a noise machine that will play sounds of running water to help you hide your “business” from the others ears. And in town, they have this new thing where you can clean the seat yourself with foam cleanser (much like hand sanitizer) & toilet paper before & after each use.

OH! And the flushing handle can be like the American style or one that you have to flip forward instead of backwards, or even better...a button on the wall! This is the tricky part about using toilets in town. They even have automatic & semi-automatic flushing. Sometimes you aren’t sure where to “flush” the dang thing!

P.S. Don’t be pushing too many buttons though...you will set off the bidet or a Japanese screaming something!