2015.01.17 toilets togehter

Between the futuristic Blade Runner-esque toilets and the slightly terrifying (but healthier for you) traditional squatters, Japanese restrooms can be a bit intimidating for a first-time user. And even for those who have lived in Japan for a while, using a public toilet can still be a daunting task. So to better understand restroom woes for those coming from overseas, Japanese toilet manufacturer Toto recently surveyed 600 foreigners living in Japan about toilets in the country and what confuses them most.

First up on Toto’s toilet survey was a question about toilet choice. That is, if you were at a public restroom with Western-style (aka one you sit on) or traditional Japanese squat toilets, which stall would you go into? Unsurprisingly, over 80% answered that they preferred to sit rather than squat.

The next question asked those surveyed to think back to when they first came to Japan and to remember the biggest problems they had when answering the call of nature in a public restroom. Most people said that they had no idea how to use a Japanese squat toilet when they first saw one. Even foreigners who came from countries with squat toilets were a little confused exactly how to use the Japanese ones. One of the Americans polled said that he actually thought you were supposed to sit right on the toilet bowl.

▼ Much-needed instructions on how to use the Japanese squatter

2015.01.17 toilets ilastuoImage: Wikipedia

And besides the squatters, many people recalled their utter confusion the first time they sat down on a modern Japanese “washlet” toilet. The many buttons on the seat or nearby control panel overwhelmed many and utterly confused people used to simpler toilets that don’t need to be plugged in. And until you can read Japanese, you have to rely on the little drawings that still won’t help you out much. The futuristic toilets of Japan may look cool, but many people were intimidated at first.

▼ We don’t recommend the “eeny meeny miney mo” method unless you like getting a surprise on the toilet

2015.01.17 toilets 4Image: Wikipedia

When asked about if they use the bidet function on the modern Japanese toilets, the number one answer was that it did a good job of cleaning up and some said they even preferred the bidet to toilet paper. And for others, they liked to use the bidet because they were already used to using water via the bum gun to clean themselves in their home country.

Perhaps the answer that should make Japan the proudest was when 93.6% of those surveyed said that Japanese publics are cleaner than those back home. And at the end of the day, even with the squatting and the confusing computer-like toilets, you can’t argue with a nice, clean public restroom.

How do your experiences with toilets in Japan line up with this survey? Let us know in the comments section below if there are there any other challenges to using toilets in Japan that we missed!

Feature image: Wikipedia, Wikipedia, Wikipedia, edited by RocketNews24
Source: Niconico news, TOTO