Saturday, June 18, 2005

The Necessary

Since a childhood visit to Mount Vernon, my favorite euphemism for the bathroom has been the necessary. Upon mentioning this term, several friends have been quick to point out that even a bathroom is, perhaps, not essential. Raised in a backpacking family, I quickly concede the point.

This trip has made me particularly thankful to my parents for teaching me to pee in the woods. No, I have not relieved myself on any Japanese mountainsides or anywhere other than a bathroom, for that matter. But my backpacking squatting skills have been helpful in my use of Japanese toilets (see exhibit A).

Yes, Carly and I have officially mastered the Japanese toilet. After initial trepidation (the advice not to wear pantyhose when first learning is sound advice, we think), we have embraced (at least accepted) this new cultural experience. If one was able to earn merit badges in such things, the use of a Japanese style toilet on a recent train ride on a bumpy, swaying train should qualify us.

Nonetheless, the English style toilets in Japan manage to out-class me. Seat warmers. With adjustable temperature control. And a button that produces music to cover any tinkling sound. What else do people think others are doing in there?

- Leah


Anonymous maria said...

Ah, the Japanese style toilet and all of its many glories. I'm proud of you, Leah, for mastering its usage. When I was there, using Japanese style toilets involved taking pants completely off and hanging them over the door (both boys and girls resorted to this on the few occasions we didn't have any western-style options). And the western style toilets! Rarely do you see a toilet all dressed up in pastels and festooned with a more advanced remote control than my TV has!

12:27 AM  
Blogger cw said...


I admit that I've only had to attempt a Japanese loo a few times while wearing pants. But these experiences make me understand why you took them off completely.

And the bathroom slippers. We've debated the merits of wearing slippers with someone else's pee on them versus not having pee on your own shoes. Care to weigh in?


5:28 PM  

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