"WHY DO ALL JAPANESE WOMEN FOLD THE FUCKING TOILET PAPER INTO A TRIANGLE?!"
After said holler, a fit of giggles surfaces from a bystander. Twas an English-speaking Japanese woman! So I doth implore: "WHYWHYWHHYY must you make me feel bad for not folding the toilet paper into a triangle after I use it?"
She replieth: "Because I get bored when I go pee!"
"Oh...does it matter if I can't fold it back as neatly as I found it?"
She continued giggling. I think she was too polite to tell me that I probably shouldn't bother.
Thus begins The Beat's Japanese bathroom enigma analysis (for women at least). Only in Japan would urination merit a proper blog entry.
Enigma-1: Toilet paper triangles.
Toilet paper triangle in an upscale hotel, sure. Toilet paper triangle at the communal in Starbucks, whyy? It's a nice gesture, but I don't need your help to find the end of the roll. I don't want to think about your grimy hands delicately folding a perfectly symmetrical toilet paper triangle while I'm peeing. I don't want to feel guilty for not folding the toilet paper back into a triangle so the next person can conveniently wipe too. If you're doing it just because you're bored, as in the aforementioned anecdote, why don't you bring a book instead?
Enigma-2: Bathroom slippers are always worn in the bathroom.
Fair enough for the Eastern-style toilets, which is basically just a hole in the floor you squat over (where bodily excrement could splash about if you can't aim well) but why are the ubiquitous slippers found in Western-style bathrooms as well? I wont launch a scientific study comparing the amount of floor bacteria in the respective rooms, but I'm betting the Japanese style floors have way more icks and ews. There really is no reason to protect your feet while using a Western toilet, actual Westerners sure don't. I venture to guess that Japanese people are so used to wearing footwear in bathrooms that they carried it over to the Western counterpart. This segues to to...
Enigma-3: If the Japanese are so afraid of possible unsanitary exposures, then where are the damn toilet seat covers?
I'm a squatter. I will never EVER sit on a public toilet seat, who knows what combination of fuck's on the seat, and if there is only one other squatter like me it merits my hover. After living here for 6 months, I now prefer the floor toilet over the seat for public peeing. I'm gonna say it's actually more sanitary to squat over the floor because there's a bigger surface area to aim pee versus the smaller circumference of a seat. Plus, less porcelain-to-skin contact is desirable. So if the Japanese wear slippers to protect their feet, why don't they have seat covers to protect their exposed ass? They don't hover; them women actually sit on the seat, even on public toilets! I don't get it! It seems to be a cultural attitude that naked skin is always clean. This brings me back to a doctor's visitation a few months ago when I was asked to change into a robe and sit bare assed on the wax-paper-less examination table. Perhaps hundreds of actual diseased patients are screened on that table!! But there it was, a pleathered, germy, cushioned table. I shuddered, held my tongue for sake of cultural sensitivity and carried on. What was I talking about again?
Enigma-4: The automated flush sound.
I love those nifty washlets with aim-accurate bidets, sprays, and charming musical tones as much as the next foreigner. Some of those toilets even have automated deodorizers that make your ones and twos smell like spring flowers! BUT, I'll never understand why there's an option to play the built-in flush sound when it makes the actual flush sound when you, well, actually flush.
That's about all I have to say about that.