Public toilets (2004-05-31)
If you are coming to Japan for the first time, be prepared to have to
use a squat toilet. It is basically just a hole in the ground
where you spread your legs over it and do your business. If
you've never done it before and somewhat lack gymnastic litheness, they
will be a little tricky to use. Squatting is not as easy as it
looks, particularly when you have to do it with your pants down.
One instant of losing your balance you'll end up sitting on the toilet
floor mopping up all the nasties with your bare butt, thinking of
it gives me goose bumps. And I don't know how fast you are
in relieving yourself, if you are one of those people who like to take
their time, your legs will say "No!" before your gut will say "Yes!"
because squatting turns your legs into jelly faster than you can change
a toilet roll. And the worst part of the whole exercise is seeing
your own smelly bits come out of your crotch and land not two feet from
your face staring right at you. While you wait for your
business to finish, they just stare some more.
To be truthful, there are more western style toilets than Japanese
style toilets in public. So there's no need to worry except may
be when you're in older train stations and desperate to go because most
toilets on offer at such places are old-fashioned squat toilets.
But you can always look on the bright side: your skin never has to
touch any surface using one. For a germaphobic like myself, this
is a very important, and about the only good thing of a squat toilet.
I hope you're not eating when you
read this entry.
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