Recently, I have been spotting some strange signs when I use public restrooms. I swear, I have never seen another country give as many directions about proper toilet use as Japan does.
Instructions at work:
I found this gem in the third floor ladies room at work. This sign is illustration the proper way to use the toilet. Now, let us leave aside the obvious, glaring question of who doesn’t know how to use a toilet, and instead look at the details of the artwork itself. This is obviously handmade and it’s the only one of its kind. I know this because I have checked other bathrooms at work. Things that I particularly like about this sign- the woman, besides the fact that she is missing the top of her head, looks like she’s just sitting on the toilet. Her skirt is so nicely drawn that it makes it seem as though she’s peeing through her skirt. Not the correct way to use the toilet I’m guessing. The second thing that I like is the placement of gold diamonds all over the sign as though the happy diamonds were meant to make all of us feel less embarrassed by the fact that someone on the third floor obviously thinks that women are too stupid to know how to use a Western style toilet correctly- hence the need for the sign in the first place.
On a side note, when I saw this sign, I was immediately curious as to whether or not there was a corresponding sign in the mens room. So, I snuck to the mens room door, listened for a few moments for activity. After hearing silence, I quietly walked in only to see a man using the urinal! His back was to me, so I just as quietly, though a little more speedily, departed from the mens room and the third floor completely.
Instructions at Japanese Lessons:
This one is particularly hard to read, but I was straddling a Japanese style toilet while taking the picture. This sign is at the women’s center where I take my Japanese lessons. I like it because it gives directions about what to and not to put in the toilet. But why I really like it is that it is in so many languages- English, French, Korean, Mandarin, and perhaps Russian. But wait, there are no directions in Japanese. What? Apparently it seems that, while catering very extensively to the 10% of foreigners that use these toilets, they have forgotten completely about the other 90% of old Japanese women using the facilities. But of course, the Japanese are not the ones causing the problems, so really, no need to scold them through a passive-aggressive bathroom etiquette sign.
Instructions at a Hotel:
The Hilton is certainly a very classy hotel. And while I do appreciate their efforts to accommodate their guests, I definitely never, never, never want to use a bidet in a public restroom. Seriously, are there people out there who would? That is a little disturbing and makes me feel a little gross.