Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Things you probably didn't know about Japan-Bathrooms

Bathrooms....public bathrooms are an interesting place in Japan. The first picture is that of a noise machine. These make the sound of a flushing toilet and the reason they were installed in many public places (malls etc) is because Japanese women would continuously flush the toilet to cover the... um....sounds made while going to the bathroom. Freaked myself out the first time I accidentally set one of these things off!!
One thing I really like about Japanese public bathrooms (at least in the malls) is that they are built almost like rooms. In Canada, when you close the door you can see through cracks on either side of the door but here there are no cracks to see and in many cases you can't even see the feet (unless you are kissing the ground). You know it is being used by the color on the sliding lock. I always feel exposed when I use a public bathroom in Canada now!

The second picture is obviously toilet paper....you will often find it folded like this. Mostly older women seem to do this. I know if I go to the bathroom after one of my older female student used it I will find the toilet paper folded like this. I meant to take a picture last time I saw this but forgot so I took a picture of my own toilet paper but I couldn't fold it right so I asked my honey....I told him I know for sure now that he is Japanese (he often seems more Canadian/American than Japanese) since he can fold the toilet paper like this!!
In Japan, bathrooms are divided in a Japanese house so that actually there is a "toilet"room and a "bath" room. The toilet is a completely different room so that someone could be in taking a bath and someone else can use the toilet. So, many "toilet rooms" don't have a sink but the toilet is filled by having the water first come out the top and then into the tank (picture 3) this is how many people wash their hands...there will be a hand towel nearby to dry your hands. It sounds gross and no....there is no soap but many people use it!

Japanese also have "bathroom slippers". So...you go to a friend's house and take off your shoes. They will probably give you guest slippers to wear. When you want to go to the bathroom you remove these slippers at the bathroom door and put on the bathroom slippers which are always in the bathroom and placed in such a way that you just step into them. When you are done, you basically back out of the room so as to leave the bathroom slippers the proper way for the next person. You then put on your guest slippers. Sounds like a bit of work but you get used to it.
I've gotten so used to all of these things that I just take them for normal but when I think about it....it really is different here!!


missfire said...

I love using the bathroom in Japan. It always seems like a spa experience to me when you find a nice one. Too bad not all of them are that nice!

terryann said...

When I lived in Japan, our house had two "potty only rooms" and the really neet thing I remember (besides the sink on the back) was that the whole room was done in tile and there was a drain on the floor in case of overflows! why do we here in the americas put up with toilet water overflowing into our house? weird are we!

ak said...

I used to live in Japan and living in the states I am always reminded of those bathroom slippers - here they are called Crocs and people wear them everywhere.

Pants said...

Wow, so different from the states! The noise machine sounds interesting.

Danice said...

Hi, im Danice from New Zealand, ive been given an internet challenge and i discovered your blog, i love it! its funny as anythign, however the reason i am commenting is if you would mind posting a comment on another blog saying who you are and your location (Japan) and that danice sent you - would you mind doing it? its for a scrapbook blog, here is the link: http://fiskarscraft.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/07/around-the-worl.html
thank you !!! and good luck with Japan!

Tiffany said...

This sounds really interesting. I've heard a few people talk about how different the restrooms are. Why can't we North Americans get a noise machine? It would help alot...

sofia said...

Missfire-yes many are nice but the bad ones are usually very bad!!

Terryann-I've never seen that!!

Ak...we have crocs here and I've never seen them used here. The ones I've seen look like regular slippers with a hard bottom.

Pants...the noise machine can be useful if you are ...um...being noisy!

Tiffany-I wonder if I will miss them when I go to Canada later this year!

Danice-I just did it!

tagisa said...

That's interesting information. I think America can learn and change our bathroom system. The 1-2" openings on the sides of the doors in the stalls always bothers me.

-When Jerry Seinfeld did stand-up in Salt Lake last month, he also made a joke about these openings.

Next time I have a chance, I'm going to fold the TP in a public place :) :)

Thanks for sharing!

ImmatureCouture said...

The bathrooms and toilet rooms in Japan always made more sense to me than what we have in the states!! The showering process and bathing afterwards... and the toilet should be in its own room!

Thanks for blogging about this. Its brought back memories and made me realize its been too long since I've been to Tokyo!

sofia said...

Hey Tagisa,

I HATE the public bathrooms in Canada and the States. I feel like I'm being watched! As for folding the paper...can only imagine what the person after you will think!!

Hi immaturecouture! Glad I could bring back memories for you!

Ruth said...

I'm in Australia and we definitely have the toilet in its own little room. I have always wondered why Americans say "I need to go to the bathroom" when they actually mean the toilet! Our bathroom is completely separate from the toilet.

Usually the little room which just has the toilet in it is off the laundry and the bathroom will be off the hall. The toilet may have a little washbasin just outside the door.

All bathrooms and toilets in Austalia have tiled floors and a drain hole... I'm pretty sure it is illegal to build a house and not do this.

The water for washing hands above the toilet is a pretty great idea... but it does seem gross and wrong at first. I think you would get used to it... it does looks pretty clean.

tagisa said...

And don't you just hate it when the person waiting for their turn leans on the sink, facing you in your stall!! Yikes!!


Ally said...

i'd loev to go to Japan ^^
However i love your etsy shop <3


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