Japan is looking to create a standardization of buttons on its often bizarre western-style toilets in an effort to help tourists who might get confused.
I imagine this is all in anticipation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2019 World Ruby Championships...
… though I wonder how many rugby fans give a crap when they are trying to pee. Kidding.
According to a 2014 survey asking 600 foreign visitors to Japan, 25 percent of the respondents said they could not understand some of the symbols on Japanese toilets.
Japanese toilets have evolved over the years.
When I was there in the 1990s, the robotic/highly-automated toilets were just beginning to hit the scene - but I never sat on one.
Then, as now, the majority of Japanese toilets are essentially a ceramic oblong at floor level that forced the user to squat over it. This means that one would have to remove their coat/jacket… as well as one’s pants… and hang them on the hook within the enclosed squatter. You then have to literally squat to do your No. 2. Urinals still exist in men’s room to pee… but I would imagine women had to squat for that.
I was lucky enough to have a real western toilet in my apartment - or so some people would tell me.
If I had a Japanese squatter toilet now, I’d have a wet butt thanks to a torn meniscus in my right knee that makes squatting painful… though usually not until the next day.
Anyhow… these automated Japanese toilets… they started coming along (first in 1964 with a button for a bidet) … and are now reasonably common in public washrooms, restaurants, hotels and homes.
The toilets are now westernized in shape and form. While the one’s in non-Japanese countries are simply sit, drop a dookie, wipe, (maybe close the lid) and flush by pulling the handle down are all we have to do…
The Japanese toilet and it’s plethora of buttons provides multiple options for the pooper (poopee?) such as: automatic opening or closing of the toilet lid; front and back cleanse of the bottom or the female front privates; and drying functions.
Look at that photo above…
Okay… I’m not from France, but I understand what a bidet is… water up your bum to clean out any particulates you might have missed to avoid toilet paper dingleberries from growing.
But what the hell is the Spray icon in the middle?
If the Bidet is already spraying water up… then what is the Spray doing?
Is that graphic supposed to be a curvy round butt? Not in Japan, it’s not.
So… boobs? That big? Not in Japan, it’s not. Not usually. And why would you want a spray of water on your boobs - unless you are entered in a wet-tee-shirt contest.
Can a guy use that button? If you have boobs?
So wait… those are boobs drawn on the button… but maybe it’s not indicating water being sprayed on the bottom of one’s boobs.
Maybe it’s to indicate water being sprayed on the front… of one’s lady parts.
I’m still not sure that it’s not meant for a wet tee-shirt contest.
Anyhow… there is a Sanitary Equipment Industry Association - located in Nagoya (I looked it up)… its nine toilet manufacturing members have decided to help stop the confusion, by creating a unified representation of symbols and buttons:
So… from what I can gather, from left, top to bottom - LOL!): Big flush - probably for a poop and lots of toilet paper; Smaller flush - just pee; Open and close the lid; Open and close the seat; Stop button - to either halt an automated function or perhaps to so something awful to help confront that diarrhea that won’t stop; bidet up the back; bidet up the front; and the dryer.
I still think they need to work on that bidet up the front/wet-tee-shirt button.
All automated toilets sold in Japan will, as of April 2017, feature this standardized button set… unless someone is buying automated toilets from a company that isn’t a member of the Japan Sanitary Equipment Industry Association.
Association head (LOL!) and Toto Ltd. president Kitamura Madoka (surname first) sums up: “We hope to welcome foreign tourists with clean toilets and spread them to the world.”
I’m not sure what he’s spreading… but there’s probably a button for it.
Andrew “Had an unfortunate accident with an automated tampon remover on a Japanese toilet” Joseph