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!!