Picture the scene: you’re waiting for your number to be called at City Hall or some other municipal building in rural Japan, when suddenly your stomach starts growling and your gut begins to twitch and spasm as that super-greasy kimchi ramen you had for lunch is pushed at top speed through your digestive tract. If you don’t go now – right now – things could get messy fast, so you make a beeline for the restroom and hope that there’s a stall free. Inside the restroom, you charge towards the half-open door on the end, a layer of sweat forming on your brow as your body starts counting down, T-minus 10 seconds to total evacuation.
Then it hits you: the stall you’re standing in is fitted not with a luxurious, bidet-equipped, warms your backside and plays music at you Washlet brand of toilet, but an old-school, upside-down urinal built into the floor Japanese squat toilet.
There’s no backing out now. The deed must be done. The question is, how traumatised will you be after using it?
Some people love Japan’s squat toilets. Science has been telling us for years that sitting down to poop is immensely bad for us, putting unnecessary strain on our bodies as well as, it has been argued, significantly increasing our chances of developing everything from hemorrhoids to colorectal cancer.
On the other hand, squatting over what is essentially a porcelain trough in the floor is hardly the most relaxing experience, and for the untrained it can be rather intimidating since people can, and on the rarest of occasions do, slip into them, and squat toilets require a lot more precision on the part of the, er, “load-bearer” than Western-style models.
It’s a debate that has divided us for years, but today we’re going to sort it out once and for all. So answer us this, Rocketeers, are you pro or anti squat toilet?
Make your click count!
Last week, we asked you to settle an argument that has raged in Japan for decades: Tokyo or Osaka? Let’s take a look at the results, shall we?