Feed on

The toilet with the legendary-mythical-toilet-seat-warmer-button

The toilet with the legendary-mythical-toilet-seat-warmer-button

Or….The  Post-Colonial Debate and Dunnies.

My kids were amazed on our recent trip to Naha, Japan. Kenny was right they mused- there really are wonderful toilets!  This one even had the legendary-mythical-warm-seat button.

Try it -Mum- Try it!  they squeaked with glee.

Imagine that. A toilet that actually looks after your bum.

Never shall thine delicate butt cheeks need be offended by the ice of cold porcelain evermore!

And jet streams- for cleanliness- with choice of soft or medium squirt. There was even a button with a musical note on it – music for your listening enjoyment? Hmmm most likely music so you need never whistle again. Comfortable wide seat and soft paper with a roll holder that didn’t protest if you took more than two squares. And all this was just at the local down- town MacDonalds.

 I wanted to shake the hand of the Franchisee and thank them for the ultimate toilet experience. But the friendly girls at the counter in their crisp uniforms just looked at me strangely and kept showing me the laminated menu in English, “You order?” they enthused.

 “It’s okay.” I said laughing at my own ineffectual ability to communicate.

Arigato gozaimas! Arigato gozaimas!” they called out and waved as we left.

    Yes, Japan really was the height of sophistication in the dunny race. Honour and nobility leeches out of the most mundane of activities in this service orientated nation. Even the taxi drivers wore suits and white gloves- although the sweet old cabbie who drew out a giant magnifying glass to look at our map had dear hubby’s face set with consternation (yes that’s consternation not constipation) -he whispered desperately- how can he drive if he needs a damn magnifying glass the size of the sun to read?

We buckled our belts tight.

    The lowlight in the toilet stakes was a Chinese public toilet at a popular Beijing tourist location. Culturally I didn’t expect to find a western seat style toilet, although most places we visited had at least one or two amidst all the squat types. This was an exception. Collect your toilet paper on the way in (pray you take enough) and choose a cubicle. The toilets were the traditional holes in the ground -and with thoughts of when in Rome and all that stuff -I gave it a go. Amidst the slush of watery urine I held my breath, squatted as best I could and peed all down my leg.

   Our private tour guide, Ma Ling, a young, hip, local Beijinger, giggled with good nature when I finally emerged from the toilet block. She told us that her friends wouldn’t ever dream of sitting on a western seat,- even in high heels they would perch on the seat to do their business. It was my turn to giggle now. But as she led our small group through another set of temples my mind was on toilets.

Who was right the sitters or the squatters?


    Back home we were regaling friends with some of the two and a half thousand (love, just love the digital age) pics of our Asian adventures when the subject of poop popped up.

“Oooh were the toilets revolting?” my friend asked. Surprisingly my instant reaction was to say “no”. The friends looked startled.

“Well to be honest,” I explained “there are some pretty disgusting western public toilets- and at least with the squat types you don’t have to sit on a seat that a million other bums have touched.”

“Oh” they murmured- still unconvinced and clearly revolted by now.

(I’ll admit it probably wasn’t the best  conversation to have over dessert of limone and chocolate gelato- but undeterred I continued…)

“And did you know that there is actual medical evidence to suggest squatting is a more natural way for the bowel to errr… evacuate? Less of us would be constipated if we squatted.  The problem  is we are not trained squatters. If we started squatting when we first potty trained our legs would be used to it.”

Everyone just sat looking at me. Spoons poised in mid air.

 “Ahhhhh,” my son (master 11) said, breaking the silence,  “nooooow I know why the Chinese are so good at gymnastics.”

Leave a Reply