The Japanese Command Center

We have been back in the good ole US of A for exactly a month today.  We decided to take some time to visit family and friends and sloooooow things down a bit.  Even us rough and tough backpackers get tired occasionally!  So for the past several days we have been in the Fort Myers / Sanibel area of the Gulf Coast of Florida.  It’s been warm, wonderful and relaxing.  But before we take you there, I still have a little bit more to say about our time on the other side of the world.  It’s about the Japanese Command Center.

What’s this, you say?  Command Center?  Are we talking about cockpits?  Rockets?  NASA-equivalents?  Nope, it’s much more down and dirty than that.  I’m talking about the bathroom.  The toilet, as most non-Americans would call it.  It turns out toilets are no generic thing in Japan.

My first experience with a Japanese toilet was in the luggage claim area of the Haneda Airport in Tokyo.  You can imagine my surprise when I walked in and saw the following:

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What were all those hoses about?

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And what were all those buttons about??  I decided I wasn’t leaving that stall until I found out.  And have no fear, as I am about to tell you too.

Luckily for me, the Japanese people were nice enough to include exact instructions, with English translations, along with a labeled diagram!  I love the people here.  “Washing the rear,” and “To blow warm air and dry refreshed,” were very helpful instructions indeed.  You can see some detail in the photo below:

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It turns out you can not only “wash the rear” but also wash the front (necessary for women only) and then blow-dry all pertinent areas.  But it gets better!  You can also adjust the pressure of the water streams, as well as the angle and temperature.

I knew I needed some time, but figured I had it since Elliott was awaiting our luggage.  I experimented a bit, trying each button and adjustment, one at a time.  It was quite unlike any previous bathing experience I’ve had.  Best of all, with all the opportunities for fine tuning, there is really no way to go wrong!  The Japanese have thought of everything.  I walked out of that spa – I mean public bathroom – feeling fresher than ever before, and told Elliott all about the experience.

I initially assumed the water-park fun only applied to the public bathrooms, so when I first used the toilet at our couch surfer’s home, I was in for a pleasant surprise.  Not only were there lots of hoses and buttons, the seat was warm!!  While my customary response to a warm toilet seat is, “Ew, gross!” as I think about another person’s bottom heating the seat up before me, in this situation I knew better.  It was simply another order that came from the command center, and in the middle of the night, that warm seat felt nice against this chilly bum.

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