Thursday, May 2, 2013

Toilet Tales

My niece is contemplating potty training her daughter in the near future.  I was visiting with her this morning and she was saying how Jane was very ready - it was mommy who perhaps was not ready as she knew how much work was involved.  (She may find, however, that potty training a little girl is much easier than potty training a little boy).  That being said, it's been a long, long time since I potty trained my kids.  However, we definitely noticed the toilets when we were on the cruise.

First of all, there were the toilets in the airplane on the way over.  Now I've used airplane toilets before.  I consider the best approach whenever possible is to use the toilet before you catch the plane.  However, on a 10 hour flight, this may not be possible.  My most memorable airplane toilet story is the time I was flying from Hong Kong to Haneda (Tokyo) - 30 years ago.  It was a huge airplane (a 747?) and they actually had real toilets; not the ones shoehorned into the smallest possible space.  They had several of them, side by side, in the middle of the plane.  I opened the door to one, and discovered a small toddler in there, who had pulled all of the paper off the roll and was trying to stuff it back.  I let the door gently fall back hiding her from view and used a different stall.

However, airport toilets are another matter entirely.  We discovered the airport toilets (or public toilets) in Japan to be very interesting.  For a start, the toilet seats were soft (padded) rather than the hard plastic ones we're accustomed to in North America.  Secondly, they were heated!  You sit on the seat, and it's warm!  Then, as soon as you sit, the toilet begins making white noise (so that the person in the next stall can't hear what you're doing in there).  The white noise continues until you stand up again. Finally, when you're done, there's a choice of three different buttons you can push.  There's a bidet button, a shower button and a flush button.  I wasn't going to try them out in the airport but I tried all three for comparison purposes in the hotel.  The difference between bidet and shower is where it sprays the warm water on your genitals.

However, there are also the squat-type toilets in public washrooms in Japan.  Generally, there's at least one "squat style" toilet and then the rest are the pedestal type that we're accustomed to.  I actually find the squat style convenient to use if you're wearing a skirt, or if there's a line-up for the other ones and you're desperate.

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