Category Archives: Culture Shock

Toilets in Japan

(I spent quite a while trying to come up with a clever joke or pun to use as a title for this blog post, but then I decided to just be straightforward about it. Sorry folks, no jokes or puns here — this is serious shit. (Oh, wait…))

Never in my life has taking a crap been so enjoyable.

I’m talking specifically about the Japanese Washlet (ウォシュレット Washoretto).

This is the toilet in our apartment:

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Apart from the fact that the toilet is housed in a separate room from the rest of the bathroom (that is, the shower and sink are in another room), it looks normal enough, right?

Lift the lid and it’s more or less what you’d expect:

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But wait! What’s that written on the lid? Are those… instructions?

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Don’t ask me, I actually have no idea. My Japanese proficiency is still less than that of an infant.

Look to the side, and you’ll see this:

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However, it’s when you sit down that things really get interesting.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the seats are heated. When it comes to actually using the washlet, as I mentioned before, my Japanese reading ability is still next to nil, so learning how to operate this thing took some trial and error (don’t worry, there are no photos of that).

The only words I could understand right off the bat were おしり (oshiri), which our friend Michael taught me a few days ago (in a conversation about Brazilian women, no less) was the Japanese word for “ass;” ビデ (bide) is, as it sounds, the word for “bidet.”   is the kanji meaning “water,” so I figured that whatever that little button on the top right-hand corner was had something to do with… water (my deduction skills are impeccable, no?).

Despite the language barrier, it’s all actually pretty straightforward:

The おしり button shoots a jet of water at the bit that that needs the most cleaning.

The ビデbutton is one for the ladies, spraying water at the front bits. As such, this button is usually accompanied by a drawing of a female.

The control panel for the toilet in the Tokyu Hands public washroom.

The control panel for the toilet in the Tokyu Hands public washroom. As a challenge for you guys reading this who can’t read Japanese, try to find the ビデ button!

The yellow button next to this is a blow dryer.

You can also control the intensity of the water jet, as well as add some pulsing action to it. Other washlets are even fancier than the one in our apartment. For instance, some public toilets play music or a loud audio clip of falling water to mask the other sounds that may escape you as you go about your business.

When you’re done, just like in a normal toilet, you’ll need to flush.

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(ookii) means “big,” while   (chiisai) means “small,” so pushing the handle up will result in a large flush, while pushing down will cause a smaller flush, thus saving water. 

Seriously, you guys, toilets in Japan are amazing. I mean, how have I lived without a washlet for all these years? How can I ever go back to pooping in normal toilets? Nay, not normal — inferior.

Holy crap — this is life-changing stuff.

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