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West Bank, #cleveland. #britewinter

Mike’s Next Adventure

Mike Vs. Japanese Toilets

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Roam About Momma didn’t raise no dummy, but damn Japanese toilets are confusing/intimidating as hell…

After a 10 1/2 flight from LA, decompression hits my guts like so much airline food as I make my way to the bathroom via customs.

Round 1 – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Flusher

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Urinals on the left – pretty straight forward.

Stall Toilets on the right – no fucking clue.

toilet3

Oh dear, master luke.

I trepidatiously enter the stall; buttons, trinkets, and blinkers go off, and when I lift the lid —which majestically starts ascending by itself mid lift — a little jingle plays, which sounds eerily similar to the muzak version of ‘A Whole New World’ from ‘Aladdin’. Nothing in this life will give you ‘stage fright’ quicker than Peabo Bryson’s porcelain pitch from the depths of a toilet hole.

Would you put your ass on a freshly cracked musical b-day card? No?

Then you probably wouldn’t put it on this toilet.

I balk, exiting the bathroom, gunning towards customs, putting a hold on #2.

1-0 Toilets

Round 2 Akasaka, Tokyo

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First night in Tokyo is a blur after 5,200 miles +  of traveling, but me, Paul, Nastya, and Danny from DON’T TOUCH MY MUSTACHE end up at a 5-story Yakitori bar/restaurant on 413 in Akasaka. Danny orders us some sashimi, some Yakitori chicken, including hearts, cartilage, and crispy skin; my adventure-eating heart soars.

Some sake, more sake, Asahis, and then, as a taboo-kicker —raw, lean, delicious, horse meat to the dismay of anglo and euro protestors outside.

After a couple more beers—my walnut-sized bladder filled to capacity—I must use the little boys room.

kanji-for-man-and-woman

Got it! Wait…

Danny gives me a three-second breakdown on which toilet to use.

The kanji on the bathroom doors obviously do not have the English words underneath in a traditional Japanese restaurant (nor should they). I spend a few moments using logical deduction:

Me: “Women have two x-chromosomes, and the kanji on the right has an X, therefore, my bathroom is on the left.”

Me: “You moron, chromosomes have nothing to do with kanji symbols. They didn’t know what chromosomes were when developing the written language.”

Me: “What do you mean by ‘They’? Are you saying Japanese are inferior people? Racist!”

Me: “Agenda-stroking pacifist!  Die hippie scum!”

I (unknowingly) go into the women’s room, open the stall and stare at the very alien squat toilet.

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I just want to pee.

Stage fright again. The fear of doing something wrong locks up urethral intentions. I walk out of the stall, out of the bathroom, and thankfully, a drunk businessman stumbles out of the correct bathroom, where I find an upright urinal. Relieved, I pee whilst keeping an eye over my shoulder for ninjas.

1-1 tie-breaker

Final Round – Hotel Parcopresis.

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Notice the brand name, Toto, giving a whole new meaning to the lyrics; ‘I blessed the rains down in Africa’.

This is an actual photo I took of the toilet control in my hotel which I didn’t notice until after I sat down to evacuate.

My first inclination is that the blue pictograms are shorn scrotums? Because it’s Japan! And Japanese are craaaaazy ’bout ball washing! I didn’t want to push the red pictogram because it’s a lady, and it looks like the rocket spray is firehosing her four feet off the ground.

Not pictured are the three extra buttons on top, befuddling me even more. For those counting at home, that makes 10 buttons to push to try to figure out how to flush.

Through Sherlock-esque deductive reasoning, I push the little top button.

Nothing.

The middle little button.

Nothing (that I know of).

I push the left scrotum button, and a whirring sound starts. Promising…

The whirring stops, and I’m hit directly in the anus with a hot, powerful stream of water. I have not only managed to turn the heat up on the stream, but velocity as well.

Shocking at first—being drilled in the butthole with such concentrated precision (phrasing)— after a minute or two of confused  submission, I realize it won’t stop unless provoked otherwise.

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This is when I discover the top buttons are the actual ‘flushing’ mechanisms ( I would later be told one button is for ‘smaller flushing’ and the other for ‘large flushing’)

My whole life I’ve been told not to push “the red button”, but desperation sets in; my butt getting pruney. I hit the red button, and the stream thankfully stops. A retracting whir as the bidet arm subdues until the next adventure.

I’m mentally spent, feeling used, robbed of some unknown virginity.

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Defeated, I decide to hit the showers. -Mike

82 comments on “Mike Vs. Japanese Toilets

  1. dustandsoul says:

    Excellent post. I’m supremely jealous of your urination-related difficulties; I’d give anything to be confused and drunk with full bladder in Tokyo. Extra points for referencing my absolutely favourite Toto song, too.

    1. mabukach says:

      Dustandsoul,

      You have just inspired the name for my future biography: ‘Confused, drunk, and having to pee in Tokyo’. You shall receive royalties, but I can only pay in used clothing. Fair?

      You know, for majority of my life I thought it was ‘I kissed the rains down in Africa’.

      1. dustandsoul says:

        Deal! Funny you should say that, but I’m quite intrigued by a Japanese urban legend involving vending machines full of used schoolgirl panties. Can you confirm its authenticity? Then I’ll really be impressed.

        1. mabukach says:

          Sweet!
          Ok, I thought it was an urban legend as well, but I was absolutely assured it’s true. We even went on somewhat of a scuzzy scavenger hunt in one of the more sad/porny areas of Tokyo looking to get pictorial conformation, but like Sasquatch, we couldn’t find it.
          Apparently porn stars will wear the panties for a day, wrap it up, and give them to the vending machine man for distribution.

          1. dustandsoul says:

            Slippery little bugger, eh? Did you check on top of Mount Fuji? Spectacular effort, though – I do love a scuzzy scavenger hunt. You are now my new hero. Well done!

            1. mabukach says:

              I didn’t check up there! Damn. Such an obvious spot too.
              Excellent – welcome to the legion of scuzzy scavengers.

  2. jan bukach says:

    Guess I’ll be the first to comment. Glad to have you back to now entertain us thru your tour of Japan. This, being your first blog about it, made me laugh outloud, that last picture especially. You are too funny my son. 🙂

    1. mabukach says:

      Thanks, Roam About Mom. You may have to suffer through a three hour slide show presentation on Japan.

  3. susielindau says:

    I just read this to Danny and had a good giggle out of it. I would have felt used and abused too!
    Do they have those glass-doored bathrooms? That could be really humiliating!

    1. mabukach says:

      Hey Susie!

      I still feel kind of used, but my nethers were never so clean!
      There was one major positive I neglected to write about, and that’s the heated toilet seats. Seriously, the greatest invention of all time. Especially on those cold mornings…

      The bathroom door at my hotel was glass, but I didn’t see that anywhere else. At another hotel, the public toilets had no stalls at all – just open seating.

      1. susielindau says:

        General admission, standing or squatting room only according to one of my friends. GROSS!

        1. mabukach says:

          I’m pretty outgoing – as you are (I’m sure), there’s no way I could do it. No no no.

  4. Brigitte says:

    For gawd’s sake, Mike this make me cough up my green flax smoothie. After eating horsemeat, cartilage and who knows what else while swilling it down some sake, no wonder you had a date with a Japanese toilet. Sounds as if you made friends with it or at least had a really great one-night stand. Good on you.

    1. mabukach says:

      I’m sorry, Brigitte. 🙂
      How is the green flax smoothie?

      Haha – I have to say, I never once had ill-effects from eating the food. I only had a stomach ache upon my return to the States, eating ‘In and Out’ burger in LA. Good figure.

      Thanks for supporting my return!

  5. Nathaniel Hahn says:

    The Return of Roam About…nothing short of brilliant! Love the last picture, haha….if ever I travel to Japan…I’ll have to sign up for the class you should be teaching in toilet logistics!

    1. mabukach says:

      Thank you, sir.
      I am now the Stephen Hawking of Japanese toilets. So, when you head over there to study raccoon dogs, I can be cultural ambassador.

  6. Shade of Red says:

    How cool is this? Good job, nice post.
    shadeofredblog.com

    1. mabukach says:

      I think 8/10 cool points. Maybe even 8.5. Not 9 though, I’m still rusty.
      Thank you, Shade of Red.

  7. Carrie says:

    I think if I go to Japan I am wearing diapers.

    1. mabukach says:

      Carrie,
      Good idea – doubles as a reasonable fashion statement as well. Will catch on like wild fire!

      1. Carrie says:

        Or just catch on fire….lol

  8. Weeping in laughter. The first time I flew to New York I did the same thing. Well not exactly. You see I’d never experienced self flushing loos before. I sat down and somehow set off the sensor. Then I screamed. And set if off again. So, I screamed. And everybody just laughed.

    1. mabukach says:

      Hahaha! – that’s very funny, victoriabruce. Sorry you had to figure out the sensor in such a traumatic way. They should have warned you!

      1. Yes, someone should have! Assuming third world country residents have auto flushing is not cool. However, if there is ever anywhere that needs auto-flushing it is here.

        1. mabukach says:

          You have piqued my interest. Where oh where is “here”?

          1. Deepest darkest Africa. South Africa.

            1. mabukach says:

              Nice! Joseph Conrad.

  9. Le Clown says:

    Mike,
    I laughed so much I made everyone around me cough up something viscous.
    Le Clown
    PS: Now you’re ready for our Canadian toilet, where when flushed, the water spins he other way.

    1. mabukach says:

      At least it wasn’t something viscus…

      Can’t wait to give it a whirl. I have been to Windsor, the shining ambassador to Canada, and the toilets flush the correct way there. Please explain.

      1. Le Clown says:

        Mike,
        My feeling on this is that someone should explain why the fuck they would ever go to Windsor…
        Le Clown

        1. mabukach says:

          I was 18, and bored (redundant?).

        2. mabukach says:

          Oh, and I heard the old women at the casino were easy.

  10. Laura says:

    Robbed of some unknown virginity… good one. What a baffling bidet adventure! I love how the ladies’ squatter room had pink covers on the toilet paper… lest they be visually offensive just sitting there, referencing a private did. Did they have little Anime, I wonder?

    1. mabukach says:

      Yes, Laura, something has been taken from me, but I don’t know what.
      I think they were Hello Kitty, or Anime characters – I got out of there fast.
      Weird question – have you ever made a clay toilet?

      1. Laura says:

        Weird answer: My dentist once asked me to make a clay toilet urn for his dog’s ashes… I was game but he never followed thru, so. No, not technically 🙂

        1. mabukach says:

          Really? That’s kind of cool, why didn’t he pull the trigger?

          If I had a cob house, i would definitely need a clay toilet. Would that even work?

          1. Laura says:

            What’s a cob house? And Mike, toilets already are clay… porcelain. Except for the seat, which is normally plastic but I understand from your little lady that you prefer astroturf. I didn’t ask questions.

            I don’t know re: dentist. He’s bald and flakey, what can I say… I guess his dog’s favorite place was the toilet, so that’s where the brilliant idea came from. I would’ve traded for a crown or something. Veneers, maybe.

            1. mabukach says:

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cob_(material)
              Cob house is an awesome house. Like a hobbit house.

              I realize I know nothing about clay, or porcelain, and need teaching.

              Haha, I just threw away the massive astroturf rug. Gross. Just gross. It had mold, and ants, and gross.

          2. Laura says:

            I just realized… you mean a functioning toilet? Like a composting toilet? I thought you meant a figurine….

            1. mabukach says:

              More flushing toilet. For me to sits, and poops.

  11. E. says:

    Glad you’re back! Also glad I’ve never had to figure out a Japanese toilet. When I was in Italy, and toilets were hard to come by, I developed an “Italy bladder”, but since I’ve been back in the US, I’ve been spoiled by the over-abundance of free and easy-to-use toilets. I’d be in trouble in Japan for sure!

    1. mabukach says:

      Hahaha “Italy Bladder”. I like that.
      There are a lot of public toilets in Japan, it’s just an adventure figuring out what goes where, and how, which, is the same as none at all I suppose.
      Thanks, E!

  12. Alice says:

    “Relieved, I pee whilst keeping an eye over my shoulder for ninjas.” Following your blog start to sound like a good move.

    1. mabukach says:

      Ninjas beware; Alice is on my side…
      Thank you, thank you.

  13. I’ve only been to Japan twice – both times at Narita Airport on the way to other countries. I share your complete confusion and amazement. So many buttons, so little time.

    1. mabukach says:

      Cleanest, yet most confusing toilets in the world.
      A conundrum, indeed.
      Thanks, Battlewagon!

  14. inkspot777 says:

    I loved your post. It is both educational, entertaining, and funny. Love getting to see the pictures.

    1. mabukach says:

      Thanks, Inkspot.
      It was certainly an education for me – glad I could pass along the warnings. 🙂

  15. I laughed heartily! Your report is humor.
    By the way, was usage found? 🙂

    1. mabukach says:

      I did found usage!!!

  16. ballerina95 says:

    This has got to be the funniest post I ever read. Had me in stitches and tears! 😀 This is great ROAM ABOUT MIKE.

    I too had to rack the brains deciphering the different buttons. I never did touch any. I wasn’t as adventurous as you.

    1. mabukach says:

      Why, thank you very much, ballerina95.

      You’ve been to Japan?

      1. ballerina95 says:

        It’s a short 4hr trip from my country. Short trips every so often 🙂 And yet, I still do not dare touch the gadgets.

        One time I went inside a unisex bathroom. Ladies to the left, Gentlemen to the right and no dividing WALLS, no STALLS!! No thanks, I held it till the next stop. 😀

        1. mabukach says:

          Hahaha. Well, lucky you being 4 hours from Japan!

          Really? Is that even legal? I mean, I’ve been in a unisex bathroom before, but no walls or stalls seems….pervy. I don’t blame you!

  17. ballerina95 says:

    And the last photo simply takes the cake. Best laugh in a long time.

    1. mabukach says:

      Nothing like sitting down to take a shower. 🙂

      1. ballerina95 says:

        mwahahaha. Can’t wait til I have enough free time to read all your posts.

        1. mabukach says:

          Well, stay away from the early writings, pretty boring in hindsight. Didn’t really know what I was doing…

  18. tauromaja says:

    My parents are Japanese and when I went to Japan about three years ago, my mom would ask “So you were taking photos of the toilets AGAIN?” I was absolutely enthralled. FYI, the button on the left says “oshiri” which means “butt”, next is “yawaraka” which is “soft” and the last is “bide” or “bidet”. Buttspray, soft spray and bidet mode. Basically.

    Here’s my own post on the topic.

    http://fumichronicles.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/travel-japanese-bathrooms/

    Can I just say if I had the money it would take to get this installed in my house, I would do it in a heartbeat, Japanese signs and all?

    1. mabukach says:

      Haha luckily no one caught me snapping pics of the toilets.
      Well, now I know for next time.

      Absolutely agree. I would absolutely buy a Japanese toilet in a heartbeat.

      Thanks, tauromaja!

      1. tauromaja says:

        Next time, snap pics! Hey, I have a question: do the men’s toilets have that cascade sound as well? Or is that specific to the ladies room? It just dawned upon me that I don’t know.

        1. mabukach says:

          One of them did play music, but I think it was a uni-sex bathroom. Or, I was in the ladies room (again). whoops.

          1. tauromaja says:

            Are you sure you’re not wandering in on purpose?

            😉

            1. mabukach says:

              I blame the sake

              1. tauromaja says:

                I thought as much. 😉

          2. tauromaja says:

            And I think they should do a Godzilla version of the title of your post. Use stop-motion for the attacking toilets wandering down the streets of Tokyo.

            I can imagine some pretty hilarious things for that scenario!

            1. mabukach says:

              Bwahaha! Excellent, wonder what Tim Burton is up to these days…

              1. tauromaja says:

                I think I’ll write it and see if he’ll like it. 🙂

                1. mabukach says:

                  Please do. It’ll revamp his career!

  19. This is hilarious man. Nice blog.

    Wait till you use the toilets in India though!

    1. mabukach says:

      Thank you, Sean Smithson.

      Well, I look forward to that adventure. Any words of advice?

      1. Stay away from them!

        1. mabukach says:

          hahaha! Nicely done

  20. Haha, AWESOME 🙂 And I love the selfie at the very end. I think before I get myself to Japan, I’ll read up specifically on ‘toilet instructions’. My command of the Japanese language stops at Kanji, and I don’t have potty vocabulary thus far. Gotta work on that.

    1. mabukach says:

      It’s way more fun just diving in and figuring it out during bathroom time. 🙂

      1. I’m trying to learn ahead of time, but I’ll definitely have a chuckle trying to still figure the rest out in person when the time comes lol.

  21. Thessauron says:

    Women cross their legs when they sit. Dudes just stretch it all out like nobody’s business. Simple way to tell the two kanjis for gender apart. 🙂

    1. mabukach says:

      You kind of just blew my mind a little bit. That’s an amazing mnemonic, Thessauron!

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