How to use Japanese style toilet.
November 18, 2001 2:25 PM   Subscribe

How to use Japanese style toilet.
First of all, you'd better know which is front. Don't lose your balance.
posted by lheiskell (30 comments total)
On a student tour of Europe in 1965, I could've used helpful hints like that! Even today, Finding a WC can be a learning experience for an American. (The hole-in-the-floor Portugese toilets were just that, 35 years ago.)
posted by Carol Anne at 2:34 PM on November 18, 2001

The Japanese have a nicer design than the ones in Spain. In Spain they have two foot-size platforms with ridges to position yourself and the overall shape is square. You can still find these type toilets in older bars even in Madrid.

The one thing about the physical position is that it is more natural and helps the, um, process much better than the Western Throne variety.
posted by mmarcos at 2:44 PM on November 18, 2001

It's also a good idea to keep one hand wrapped around a pipe or some other steadying object whilst squatting as I discovered during an earthquake in Tokyo back in 1988.

After that experience, I made it a point to walk the 1/2-mile from my office every day in order to use the one western-style terlet in our research complex.
posted by MrBaliHai at 3:10 PM on November 18, 2001

i have had experience with the "squatty potties" in Thailand........there IS no toilet paper-and if I were you I would hang yer britches on a nail on the door.....the Thais clean up with water which is provided, with scoop, beside the potty.....there is a REASON the left hand is considered unclean there.

And that is as far as I am going to go with THAT.

The western style hotels in Chiang Mai have western style potties-but if you go driving out to see the sites such as Doi Inthanon be advised that the local gas stations have LOCAL potties.
posted by bunnyfire at 3:38 PM on November 18, 2001

I think this explains the Japanese predisposition for fecal sex.
posted by Eloquence at 3:59 PM on November 18, 2001

So how am I supposed to read the Sunday paper? That's the whole reason the throne was invented.

Thanks for the link anyway lheiskell. I'll file this one under my restroom etiquette folder, along with other timeless toilet tutorials.
posted by dlewis at 4:00 PM on November 18, 2001

Scott's essay on German toilets has long been one of my favourites. And I just replaced a toilet seat today -- what are the odds?
posted by evixir at 4:18 PM on November 18, 2001

bunnyfire: Did you notice the spray hose thingee attached to the cistern in a lot of Thai bathrooms? It took me ages to work out that it wasn't for cleaning your footwear.

Thai toilets seemed to me to be a hybrid of a western toilet and drop toilets. As a matter of fact, they just western toilets with no lid and two foot plates attached to either side of the rim.

Using one on a train is a terrifying prospect that encourages one to "go before you go".
posted by davehat at 4:24 PM on November 18, 2001

davehat-yes, in the hotels they did have the spray is laughable how ignorant we were at the time regarding their true use-after all, there WAS toilet paper the aforementioned gas station locations, there was a basin filled with water, and a scoop.....we would scoop the water into the potty to 'flush" it.....behind one gas station were some rice fields....evidently the contents of the bowls were discharged directly into the fields as a fertilizer.....

I do have a picture of the potty itself and if I ever get around to having a place to post it I will..... :-)
posted by bunnyfire at 4:59 PM on November 18, 2001

The Japanese have a predisposition for fecal sex?
posted by Hildegarde at 5:18 PM on November 18, 2001

Reminds me of Erica Jong's toilet treatises in Fear of Flying. The only one I could find on the web offhand was her disgust with the inspection platform in German toilets.
posted by delapohl at 5:49 PM on November 18, 2001

Then there's the Aryan Code of Toilets
posted by MrBaliHai at 5:54 PM on November 18, 2001

I am reminded of Alan Dundes' Life is like a chicken coop ladder, which makes a increasingly implausible argument linking lavatory humour, German platform toilets and the Holocaust. It's a fine source of potty humour for German speakers, though.

As always, the BOFH has words of wisdom of his own.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 6:05 PM on November 18, 2001

I was mystified in Amsterdam by a toilet that looked like the NY usual but that had no flush mechanism I could find *any*where. Hugely embarrassed, I left it unflushed. Later, I learned from a native that I should have turned to that odd bulge on the pipe leading from floor to ceiling beside the john, grasped it firmly and pulled it down. I wish I had a photo to show you but look for a bit of pipe about four feet up that seems to have another bit of pipe wrapped outside it and see if yanking down the outside bit flushes the darn thing.
posted by realjanetkagan at 7:14 PM on November 18, 2001

by the way, lheiskell, *thank you!*---I'm memorizing all this in case I should ever find myself in desperate need!
posted by realjanetkagan at 7:21 PM on November 18, 2001

I think this explains the Japanese predisposition for fecal sex.

What Japanese predisposition for fecal sex? I been with a Japanese girl for two years, and not once did she ever ask me to poop on her. I think you'll find many Japanese will agree.
posted by dogmatic at 7:41 PM on November 18, 2001

Indonesia traditionally has the "mandi", the tank of water with the scoop that also occurs in Thailand, as mentioned above. The mandi is supposed to be kept clean so that the next person has clean water to wash up with; one variety of "silly foreigner" meme involves the hairy westerner (belanda) who treats the mandi as a big bathtub and jumps right in. In any case, rinsing oneself off with cool water can be awfully nice when you're 6 degrees from the equator.

My favorite Indonesian toilets were the ones that looked exactly like a U.S. toilet bowl, except that the lip was set in at floor level, and there were two perfectly formed porcelain "footprints" on either side to guide you. Very comfortable, although I figured they might be a bit challenging to kids being potty trained.

Toilet paper was frowned upon, since it tended to clog up the drainage pipes (backed up toilets are something you don't want in a warm climate), and anyway, you had the mandi to wash up with.

posted by gimonca at 7:56 PM on November 18, 2001

I found the scariest toilets in Japan were the western-syle ones which flush v-e-r-y slowly, the water rising almost to panic-point before draining.
posted by Catch at 8:14 PM on November 18, 2001


My toilet likes to do that anyway, and will start running water randomly throughout the day, as if it's possessed.
posted by trioperative at 8:24 PM on November 18, 2001

I hate that. There's nothing more embarrassing than having to find a tactful way to say "Where's your plunger?" Shades of the Jeff Daniels scene in Dumb and Dumber always come to mind.
posted by evixir at 8:31 PM on November 18, 2001

The linked toilet style is identical to the older-style toilets here in Korea, too. Not many left these days. The standard story that Koreans like to tell about the introduction of the sitdown model is how people (usually in the story it's ajummas (middle aged women, married) would attempt clamber up on the seat and squat on that, leading to frequent mishaps and much poop-related hilarity.

That said, from one who's suffered all sorts of gastro-intestinal irregularities over the years, the squatty feels a lot...ummm...healthier, once you get used to it. Good for the old thigh muscles, too, when you're in for a Long Session.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:33 PM on November 18, 2001

Somewhere in the Bolivian Altiplano, the bus stops in the middle of the night, so people can eat at a rundown joint off the side of the equally rundown highway.
The "bathroom" is actually a shack behind the joint. Not using is not an option, the bus doesn't have a toilet and the next stop is at least 12 hours in the future. There are chickens and pigs running around. It's really, really cold, and the air is thin above the 4000m mark.
Inside the shack, a hole, in the ground, muddy footprints around it, a worn out rope hangs from the roof beams. You hang on for dear life, the mud around the hole is slippery and, trust me, you don't want to fall in. You do your stuff. The search for toilet paper turns up a neat stack of ripped up newspaper. Insult to injury, or maybe the other way around.

ps.: I love Bolivia with all my heart, but that hole was one of the seven gates of hell. Smelled like it, too.
posted by signal at 10:37 PM on November 18, 2001

I think this explains the Japanese predisposition for fecal sex.

It's the Americans and Germans who are into ass-fucking, judging by their pornography, or behavior of their prisoners.
posted by dydecker at 11:55 PM on November 18, 2001

re: the japanese and fecal sex

i think Eloquence might of been referring to the phenomenon known as 'japscat' - there was an internet meme (long before the days of allyourbase) involving video footage of naked japanese folk eating poops...

you can probably unearth some at stileproject, but i'd recommend against it...
posted by sawks at 12:16 AM on November 19, 2001

I hate that. There's nothing more embarrassing than having to find a tactful way to say "Where's your plunger?"

My oh-so-tactful way of saying this at a pal's house once? Sheepishly saying "My poop is too big."
posted by yourpalbill at 1:51 AM on November 19, 2001

Coincidentally, the World Toilet Association (stunning logo) is opening the doors to the World Toilet Summit in Singapore this week.
posted by delapohl at 6:17 AM on November 19, 2001

That would be the World Toilet Organization, not association...Which is not to be confused with the other WTO.
posted by dogmatic at 7:01 AM on November 19, 2001

Thanks, dogmatic.

Now then: Must... resist... scatological... WTO jokes.....
posted by delapohl at 7:54 AM on November 19, 2001

We had a lot of Asians in our dorm. The cubicle would be locked but there were no feet showing...

We figured it all out when we heard a splash, a scream, a clatter, and the broken seat came flying out from under the door.

They were squatting on the seat. Hard to do if the lid is the least bit loose.
posted by Geo at 10:44 AM on November 19, 2001

I like how the animation calls it a "toilet bowel"
posted by cell divide at 11:30 AM on November 19, 2001

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