As the world’s biggest video game and anime merchandise district, it’s easy for enthusiasts to lose track of time in Tokyo’s Akihabara neighborhood. For hard-core fans, an initial plan to pop into the ground floor of one of its multi-level shopping complexes, just for a second in order to check out the newest releases, can easily metamorphose into a two-hour survey of all the goodies the store has in stock.

Still, there are some things that shouldn’t take very long, even for the biggest anime nut or gaming enthusiast. So when one man heard the call of nature then spent 30 fruitless minutes waiting for even one person to come out of the three stalls in the public restroom he’d entered, he became suspicious, and with good cause, since it turns out the three individuals holed up in there were doing more than clearing out their digestive tracks.

The incident was shared by a blogger on Japanese website Livedoor, who kept his posting anonymous (for reasons that will become clear later). The young man was out and about in Akihabara, when he stopped by a public restroom in the shopping and dining complex UDX.

Unfortunately, his intestinal needs required more than a urinal, and all three stalls were occupied. Even worse, he didn’t think he’d be able to last long enough to go searching for an open stall in another restroom. With three stalls, though, he figured one would open up soon enough, and stuck in his headphones so he could listen to some music while waiting, hopefully taking his mind off of his pressing bodily needs.

Apparently the music sufficiently distracted him, since before he knew it, he’d reached the end of the album. Surprised, he looked at the time, and realized he’d been standing in the restroom, waiting, for 30 minutes.

Or roughly 29 minutes longer than anyone likes hanging out in a public restroom for.

If we can be extremely graphic for a moment, a 30 minute bathroom excursion, while unusual, wouldn’t exactly be a world record. However, the odds of three people, by chance, each entering into such an endeavor in the same public restroom are incredibly low. Concerned as to what was going on, the man who’d been waiting patiently whipped out his smart phone, Googled the phone number of the nearest police box, and put in a call.

As luck would have it, his call was answered by an officer in the police box at the base of the very same building. He explained the situation and gave his location on the second floor of the UDX building. “We’ll be right up,” the officer informed him.

“All units respond. Possible code P-O-O in progress.”

While he was waiting, the young man reported that he couldn’t hear any sound coming from inside the stalls, dispelling suspicions from his blog’s readers that the occupants were dropping a deuce, eating, or, as one hypothesized, doing the nasty.

Eventually, two policeman, along with a UDX security guard, arrived and began knocking on the stall doors. They received no response, nor did anyone answer when the police started asking, “Is anyone in there? Is everything OK?” Making things worse, every time someone pounded on the door or called out, the blogger was startled and reminded of his now half-hour-old need to use the bathroom.

Suddenly, during a pause in the din of knocking and shouting, the click of one of the stall doors being unlocked from the inside echoed throughout the room. Suddenly, the door flung open, and out burst a short, slender man wearing a plaid shirt. “As he pushed his way past us, he hit me in the stomach, and I wet myself,” the blogger recalls.

Now you know why he didn’t give his name, plus why mixed martial artists go to the bathroom before they step into the ring.

As the police turned to give chase, suddenly the doors of the remaining two stalls flew open, and two more men leapt out, dashing for the exit.

We’re not sure if they cover three-pronged bathroom escapes at the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Academy, but apparently whatever training they give the cadets was adequate for the situation, as all three men who’d been in the stalls were apprehended. At first the three were reluctant to say why they’d all been camped out together for 30-minutes in a public restroom. Eventually, though, the trio came clean and admitted they’d been using the power outlets located in the stalls.

And just why did they need a constant supply of electricity? Why, to power their Nintendo 3DSs as they played a game together using the wireless multiplayer mode, of course!

▼ Ironically, Nintendo’s Famicom was one of the first video game consoles with titles that made use of a pause function, which let gamers stop playing and take a bathroom break whenever they wanted.

In retrospect, it’s not too hard to see how this came about. Gamers from all over the Tokyo area gather in Akihabara on their days off, and since most arrive by train, you can bet a large number of them bring their portable game system to kill time with on the ride to and from the neighborhood. After a lunch of ramen, curry, or some other cheap yet filling fare, inevitably nature calls. Some people read when they’re on an extended bathroom stay, others play with their smartphones, and apparently some like to go through a couple co-op missions on their latest game purchase.

While we’re generally of the mindset that what people do when the bathroom door is closed is their own business, we have to say this is pretty inconsiderate in a public setting where others are waiting to use the toilets for their intended purpose. So remember, gamers, next time you’re out and about and need to do number two, take a hint from stealthy Metal Gear protagonist Solid Snake: get in and out as quickly and quietly as possible.

“And for God’s sake, remember to flush!”

Source: Livedoor
Top image: Nifty
Insert images: Wikipedia, Shinobi, NPA, Fightline, Wikipedia (2), Wikia