March 10, 2017 (Tosh's Diary) Japan
I'm ill. Something is decaying in my body, and I tried every measure to piss or poop it out. David Bowie went from station to station, but I'm going from toilet to toilet. Every station has a bathroom as well as every public building. In Los Angeles, I'm consistently reminded that there are very few public toilets in the city. Tokyo and other cities in Japan seem to take the route that public bathrooms are a human's right to pee. In the United States, you need to buy a cup of coffee before being allowed to the bathroom. So in other words, one must have the currency of some sort to pee in a proper manner.
The Japanese toilet has other problems. Well, the toilet itself doesn't have a problem, but the foreigner who can't read Kanji may have an issue with the object that's the toilet. There are two types of toilets in Japan. The western style, but has the added features to spray water on your behind, both hard and soft, as well as a bidet for the female. Some come with a dryer, but all have a heated seat. Even when I don't want to use the toilet, I like to sit on the warm seat and read.
One has to be careful in which button they're pushing. Some years ago, I was in a public toilet in an expensive restaurant, and after I had peed, I played the game eenie meenie moe to select the right button. "Meenie" led me to push a button where all of sudden a pipe came out of the toilet bowl and sprayed warm water all over my crotch. I was wearing white levis, and it seems the entire restaurant knew what happened to me in that particular toilet.
The other is the 'squat' toilet. This is the standard toilet you find in small Japanese towns or the countryside. Some old department stores as well have them. One can usually make a choice. The Western toilet is very common now. Still, I have never used this type of toilet because I could never figure how to use it. I presume one had to sit or hover over it, but at what part of the toilet do you release your obscene insides?
Japan has an understanding of the need for the bathroom. In fact, it is almost an art piece. The structure of the 'squat' toilet is something that a fan of Marcel Duchamp can appreciate. The other thing one must remember, especially if you are in someone's home - never bring the outside slippers into the toilet area. There are toilet slippers, and they are to be used only in the toilet room. This is an important rule to follow. There is nothing more disgusting when someone uses the same pair of slippers for inside the house as well as in the toilet area. That alone is making me ill at the moment.
But back to my illness. It's impossible for one not to get sick when facing thousands of people on a daily level in the streets of Tokyo or any other major Japanese city. If you travel on the train during the rush hour, you will be more likely to be kissing distance to either female or male. Often I have opened my mouth, and someone would cough right into my open port. So as I write, I'm feeling sick and of course, not in the greatest mood.
- Tosh Berman