It’s long been a conundrum for visitors to Japan: how do you actually use the toilet? For more than 35 years, the “washlet“—also known in some parts as the “super toilet”—has baffled the unwary traveller with its incredibly confusing array of additional functions.
Toilets say a lot about a nation. Anyone who has been to Japan will know that it takes toilets very seriously. In fact, when it comes to the business of getting rid of your business, Japan comfortably leads the way.
Over-engineered and ruthlessly efficient, its toilets don’t just deal with waste, they remove any evidence that it ever existed. Even a crime scene investigator would struggle to find a trace of poop.😄
Each of these space-age super toilets comes with a panel of buttons festooned with inscrutable icons. Press the wrong one and you can easily end up with a sharp jet of cold water at an uncomfortable angle, or even an unexpected blow-dry for your junk.
Even in a standard loo you can expect to have your bottom jet-washed and blown dry. It’s also not uncommon to find toilets with heated seats, putting an end to a first world problem that still exists : sitting on a cold toilet. Oh the humanity.😊
Other toilets play music, provide scents and give users full reign over the various features available. Want more pressure on those jets? Then crank it up.
There is just one problem, however: hitherto few people outside Japan have known how to use them. Countless guides and articles have been dedicated to the subject, but it’s like explaining nothing.
Confusingly, manufacturers had previously used different symbols on their loos, which resulted in unfortunate mishaps such as ill-timed blow-drying and ferocious jet-washing.
But it’s ok. Standardised symbols will be used on the country’s lavatories to make them more tourist-friendly from now on.
Bye-bye! Japanese Style Toilets 😀
The new iconography will appear on toilets sold after April 2017, which will help international visitors travelling to Japan for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Olympic Games.
The new symbols will tell tourists how to: flush big, flush small, raise the lid, raise the seat, stop, use the rear bidet, use the front bidet and dry.
The days of Japanese toilet mishaps, it seems, are numbered.
Sitting in the bathroom stall, you simply want peace and quiet. Unfortunately, the person next to you is being loud. The noise has nothing to do with them straining though.
Rather, you hear them tapping away on their smartphone as they text, send emails, and play games. Of course, there’s also the occasional awkward moment when their sound blares before they stop the auto-playing video.
Nearly everyone is guilty of using his or her phone in the bathroom. Even if you’re not, you are impacted by those who do. Multiple investigations found that smartphones contain ten times more germs than a toilet seat.
And your coworker certainly didn’t wash their hands after that last, quick text. No wonder studies of smartphones frequently find poop germs on every mobile device.
What do you think if your partners don’t wash their hands after using smartphones? Too dirty though…
Fortunately, innovative bathrooms in Japan now provide a solution. Most bathrooms at Narita International Airport, one of the major hubs into Tokyo, now have a separate dispenser in each stall. The small paper wipes are clearly labeled for use on smartphones.
Decked out with red lettering, the white sheets also contain advertisements for free Wi-Fi services and tourist translation apps. Anyone who has been to Japan knows finding reliable, free wifi is particularly challenging.
NTT has found a captive and receptive audience with its wipes. The current program is only a pilot study. Smartphone toilet paper wipes will be available until the middle of March 2017 at the airport. You want to know what would happened to that after that? I know nothing about it. Sorry.
by the way,
to accompany the launch of the cell phone screen wipes, the telecom produced an explanatory video. In addition to showing users how to clean their screens, it explains the different wiping techniques commonly used by people squatting over a Japanese toilet. Check out the whole video if you are really interested in.
Have a nicer day😃