Natalie Goes to Japan

40 year old very married blonde woman having a midlife crisis who heads to Japan alone to follow her dreams. Be careful what you wish for ... you just may get it.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Base Basics

Warning: The following is about bodily functions. This material is not suitable for all audiences, although all audiences are subject to the bodily functions so you should get over yourselves.


One of the bigger hurdles I have had to learn to jump while living in Japan is using Japanese toilets. They are different from Western toilets. They are basically porcelain pits. And getting over your fear of peeing differently is not easy. But it is another badge of honor for me. I got over it. Of course it was coming down to getting over it or just not peeing ever again. Or at least holding it until I returned home. Of course my aparto has a western toilet...all houses do. It's the public toilets that are exotic/unusual/weird. Most public bathrooms have at least one Western style commode. But not all! And then there is the Community Center. It has a Western toilet on the 1st and 3rd floor, but not the 2nd or 4th. I have some classes on the 4th floor. One day I needed to use the facilities while I was working on the 4th floor and the question was, "Is it worth it to walk downstairs to the 3rd floor?" Well, I decided I was too lazy to walk downstairs and I would just have to "try something new". There have been plenty of times since when Western potties were just not an option. Like when I was hiking the other day. Hell, I was just thrilled the WC had toilet paper! That is another issue in Japan. Many bathrooms do not provide you with TP. So you learn to accept the travel packets of tissues that they hand out as advertising in front of the train station. I never have any clue as to what these packets advertise, but I always accept such gifts. Now if I could remember to ALWAYS keep a pack with me! Kyoto, that hip-happening-foreigner-friendly-everybodyspeaksEnglish place was the worst place I have been to yet about providing TP. Oh well, you gotta do what you gotta do, regardless of toilet facilities or ammenities. Just thought you should know the low-down about toilets in case you ever decide to leave whatever civilized world you are living in.

9 Comments:

At 6:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes indeed, this is important information and not always easy to find. Sandy

 
At 10:12 AM, Anonymous suzy said...

So true! I always hang on to a pack of tissues too, and also a hankie or something for drying my hands since hardly any bathrooms have hand dryers or paper towels and I get sick of drying my hands on my jeans!

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger Wallflower3 said...

Strange as that toliet may be- it is one of the cleanest public bathrooms I have seen in quite a while. Thanks for the tip- these are the little tidbits that the travel channel won't tell us about. Keep the good times rollin(get it? toliet paper, roll,...uh)
Melanie

 
At 3:08 PM, Blogger Natalie said...

Suzy,

Luckily Hamamatsu is generally good on toilet paper and paper towels! And I carry the world's tiniest purse so I haven't resorted to the terry cloth handkerchief that the Japanese favor, I just stick to the travel sized tissue. I wish I could say I ALWAYS have had it when I needed it, but I can't.

Natalie

 
At 3:09 PM, Blogger Natalie said...

Melanie,

Aaaarrrgghh! That pun was terrible! Keep'em coming!

Natalie

 
At 9:15 PM, Blogger Sallie said...

My house does NOT have a Western toilet. I think I am the only person in Japan (okay, slight exaggeration) who does not have a lovely, sit-upon-able, properly flushing Western toilet. Woe is me...

 
At 9:15 AM, Blogger Natalie said...

Sallie,

Oh My God! Really?! Oh you poor thing. It is one thing to use these crazy things for a quick pee, but to have to use it for everything seems completely uncomprehensible to me. Oh, my poor sweet Sallie. You are a true trooper.

Natalie

 
At 9:50 PM, Blogger Sallie said...

Ahhh... Yes, why thank you. It is a challenge sometimes, but I'm sure that my calves must be the strongest they've ever been! ;) Amazingly, it took very little getting used to. Though a friend who came to visit DID spend the entire time she was here fully taking her pants OFF every time she used my toilet! Poor girl.

 
At 2:01 PM, Anonymous chuck said...

Too much information......

 

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