Everyone has to “go”. In Japan, the “ways to go” are various!
The Japanese love for technology reaches the toilet. There are more functions and possibilities to entertain yourself than I can possibly imagine – so far I have been too shy to even try.
Since the Japanese people are aesthetics, they of course want to make their toilet as enjoyable as possible. Note the tap on top: when the toilet is flushing, water runs from the tap so you can wash your hands!
Afterwards, it’s recommended to wash your hands again!
And, in case you don’t know what might happen, there is good to be some instructions.
In some toilets (all of the toilets in APU), there is an emergency button, which should not be confused with the flush button. I don’t know what the emergency button is for: there has always been at least 2 rolls of paper, so it can’t be for that. What kind of “emergency” might occur in the toilet, and who would come to help?
Japanese toilets do not have any hand paper – maybe it’s a way of compensating the disposable chopstick consumption and saving the nature. The Japanese generally carry a small hankerchief with them, which is used to dry hands.
Today was my first encounter with the ultimate Japanese efficiency – even though everything has gone rather smoothly so far, the health check up of today was the proof of Japanese capability of organizing and dealing with large number of people.
All new students were taken on shuttle buses to the health center. We had previously filled out a questionnaire about our medical history, and another document about our current health. With these documents we went from one check point to another, and always someone confirmed that we were still carrying our own documents.
After receiving a cup to pee in, I went to the changing room to put on a robe. X-ray was a matter of an inhale, followed swiftly by blood pressure, then blood sample, and the usual height, weight and eyesight examinations. All of this was over in 20 minutes! I was not the only one who felt like being on a factory production line, since there was several hundred of us! If only things were this fast in Finland… Back home, the health check up is only a matter of stepping on a scale, being measured and asked about feelings. Now the only thing left to do is to wait for the results and hope that I do not have any serious illnesses. Most of my friends, me included, were wondering why they were measured to be shorter than before. Most people have apparently also lost weight since coming here, although with all the noodles and snacks, it seems unlikely. Maybe that is a Japanese paradox, and I am two cm shorter in here!
Another example of Japanese efficiency today: My toilet was broken – it was leaking and keeping the flushing sound. I went to the office to explain the problem to the lady who does not understand a single word of English. After explaining her about my toire problem, I signed a form saying that it is ok with me if someone comes to my room to fix the problem. After few hours, nothing had happened. My Japanese friend came with me to the office to explain that there is quite a waste of water with the leaking (they are very sensitive about wasting water here). As it turns out, the lady had thought that my toilet lamp is dying, and that’s why they did not come sooner. The security officer came to my room (after asking permission), and within 3 minutes the toilet was fixed. It is easy, if you know how!