Seriously. The toilets. They are to die for.
We are taking a year out to backpack the world with our two kids and have just spent a few weeks travelling around Japan.
It was while we were there that I discovered that not only are the Japanese people the most chilled out race on the planet but they have something that made me want to pack up and move to Japan tomorrow. No, it wasn’t the food, although the Japanese fare was certainly worth raving about, my love for Japan goes a bit deeper than their sushi and 7 eleven stores.
What was it that made me forget my backpacking troubles? Soothed me, helped to justify the cost of the extortionate Japanese rail pass?
Having a warm bum when I sat down to relieve myself.
The toilet. The Toire (Japanese for toilet – here’s how you pronounce it).
The Japanese Bathroom. A Step by Step Guide To Falling In Love With a Toilet.
Your exquisite Japanese bathroom experience begins from the moment you open the door to the public toilet in Japan. Clean, and smelling like daisies. Smoked mirrors on the walls, plenty of soap and a civilised green and red sign to indicate when the toilet is and isn’t in use.
Unlike the rest of Asia where the vacant latch has been vandalised leaving you no choice but to boot the bottom of the cubicle door open with your toe, all the while praying that you won’t come face to face with an old woman sitting on the lav with her knickers around her ankles.
Take off your coat. Get ready For The Experience.
Behind the door, you will notice that someone has very kindly put three little hooks from which to hang your shopping bag or your coat. No trailing the handbag on urine stained floors here thank you very much.
Of course not. This is Japan, and everyone knows that you can eat your dinner off any floor in Japan. Especially the toilet floor.
Child-Friendly Japanese Restrooms.
Taking along a young child to the bathroom with you is no mothers idea of fun. Especially in a western country
Taking a Child to a Western Bathroom.
First, you must sit with your toddlers face two inches from yours, clinging onto their hands for fear of them touching something dirty on the walls or worse still, trying to stop them from playing with the toilet brush. Secondly, you must suffer the humiliation of answering the same old questions that every toddler brings to the toilet meeting with them:
“What are you having? A wee or a poo?”
“How many wee wees can you do mummy?”
“Why are you doing that face Mummy?”
Taking a Child to a Japanese Bathroom.
If you happen to have a small child with you in Japan and you suddenly need the loo, fear not.
The designer of the Japanese public convenience was clearly a woman. A woman who had previously experienced the hell that involves taking a toddler into a public toilet.
In the corner of the Japanese cubicle, you will find a cute little chair nailed halfway up the wall. It’s a baby seat. It hasn’t got chains or anything but it is perfectly safe and snug for a toddler.
There’s no way they could move if you rammed them into it tightly enough. Put the little rascals in there, give them your phone to play on and enjoy the bliss and sanctuary that every woman deserves when she needs the time to do a pee. Thank you, Japan.
The Perfect Design. For Women With Big Bums Like Me.
There’s nothing worse than when you make the decision to sit down on a public toilet seat in a Western country.
If indeed you can find a public toilet with a seat with which to sit.
Perching precariously on the thin rim of the lavatory, the cold, often wet, porcelain digging into your flesh, threatening to infect you with a zillion germs.
No matter that you tried to make a protective covering with a million sheets of toilet paper, don’t bother. The paper always blows off onto the floor and sticks to your trainers.
No need to worry about that in Japan.
Considering the petite slenderness of Japanese women, I was both surprised and thankful to discover that the toilet seats are thoughtfully designed for women with big fat bums like me.
So wide; so roomy; so spacious. Made for real women, with proper bums.
And the best part?
The Seats Are Warm.
Warm, heated, smooth, inviting seat. Correctly regulated so that no matter what time of day it is, the temperature is perfect.
Whether you have just spent the last ten minutes struggling to get your pants down over your chubby thighs resulting in a hot flush, or else nipped in late at night; the heated seat is just the job. Your best friend.
Designed to keep you there for a very long time.
Sit down it says to your bum cheeks. Relax. You’ve had a hard day. All that walking around doing Japaneezy things. Take the load off.
And The Ultimate in The Japanese Toilet Experience is…
The bum wash.
I’m not talking your usual Asian country shower hose thingy stuck to the wall. The ones that blast your privates to the back of the toilet bowl.
No. Japan’s idea of hygiene is the real deal.
A button to wash the front and one for the back. Work it out.
Hit the switch and you are treated to your own personal fountain of sprinkly water, spraying gently from the sides and out of a tube that has miraculously appeared from the inside of the toilet, hitting all the right places. And the water is warm and soft, it’s like going to a spa. But free. Perfect.
Not too hard, not too soft. Just right. A Japanese Goldilocks experience.
But it gets better.
Alongside the sprinkly water option and the temperature gauge, there sits a little button with a music note on it. I kid you not.
I was afraid to press it at first. I had visions of Japanese karaoke music blasting from my cubicle and everyone clapping along outside my door. The Japanese cleaning attendant emerging from her cupboard, banging the symbols and swinging her mop in time to the music.
It’s not music that the button plays, that would be far too tacky for Japan. The little button sends forth the sounds of trickling water, like that of a gently flowing waterfall. To mask the sounds of any, well, you know. Toilet sounds.
So there you have it. The reason why the Japanese bathroom had this woman longing for a dose of mild cystitis so she could return forever to the warmth of the toilet. Let me know if you love them as much as I do, or if (I doubt) there is anywhere else in the world that can rival Japan in the WC department.
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