I love Japanese convenience store bathrooms. They are almost unfailingly clean and tidy, and the staff don’t mind whether you actually buy something or not. Of course, as with any public restroom, there’s a risk of finding something a little strange, but you definitely wouldn’t expect what one Twitter user recently found swimming in the bowl. (It’s not poop. We promise.)

Twitter user @myur0703 posted a photo from a recent visit to a Family Mart convenience store in Shin-Zushi, just outside of Tokyo. Inside the otherwise spotless toilet, she was surprised to find several goldfish darting around!


Now this may seem particularly bewildering to non-Japanese readers. After all, who walks around carrying a bunch of goldfish? However, in Japan, there is a common game called kingyo-sukui at festivals that involves catching goldfish out of a tub using a special paper scooper. The player can take home any of the tiny fish they manage to catch in a bag.

That is most likely where these ill-fated fishies came from, as the @myur0703 later said she saw the person before her come out of the bathroom with an empty plastic bag.

Although the toilet and the water in it look clean, it’s still a toilet, which is certainly not where you want to end up if you are a fish. For the customer too, it’s a bit of a pickle. You certainly can’t go ahead and use the toilet with those little guys in there! You can, however, post your experience to social media, so there’s that.

Finding a toilet full of goldfish might seem unthinkable, but it’s probably more common that you might think. After winning the fish at kingyo-sukui, many find they don’t actually want them and return them or just throw them out somewhere, something which certainly amounts to animal cruelty. Luckily, some festivals are catching on to this and replacing the fish with bouncy balls, which are just as much fun and don’t end up in a toilet somewhere. At least, probably not. You better check the bowl next time, just to be sure.
[ Read in Japanese ]