Pardon my language, or actually this tourist center restroom poster’s language.
Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido is a great place to spend some time, especially if the congestion of the country’s major cities is starting to get to you. After spending day after day in the concrete jungles of the Tokyo area, there’s a liberating refreshment that comes from basking in the aura of Hokkaido’s mountains, forests, and waterfalls.
Being surrounded by so much nature, though, you might find yourself feeling the call of it. If you’re near the Shirogane Onsen tourist information center, you’re in luck, though, because there’s a public restroom right next to the parking lot.
On the downside, it’s only equipped with Japanese-style squat toilets, but even if you’ve never relieved yourself in such a contraption, you’ll be relieved to know there’s a multilingual poster walking you through the steps and giving you handy advice along the way.
While straddling the opening in the floor is common sense, the poster also explains that you’re supposed to face towards the domed portion of the toilet, since getting this backwards is a common rookie mistake.
Dropping your pants down to your ankles is also something that might not be immediately obvious, but is nonetheless very important in ensuring you deposit your commodities into the commode, and not the seat of your pants.
Just in case the novelty of a Japanese-style toilet has you so excited you’ve forgotten your purpose, there’s a friendly but firm reminder to “Do it.” The “Oh! No! x Caution!” text is a little confusing, but seems to be a warning you to make sure you’re going to hit your in-the-bowl target before pulling the sphincter trigger
“It’s OK!” is likewise open to interpretation. Is it showing the glorious afterglow of a first-try number-two success, or letting you know that should you miss, all is forgiven as long as you kick/roll/blow the log into the toilet?
And once again, the poster is extremely thorough, reminding you that after you lay a turd it’s now time to wipe your butt (which really seems like the sort of thing you should already know to do without prompting if you’re old enough to be reading the poster’s text).
Some of Hokkaido’s recent influx of foreign visitors are from regions where plumbing infrastructure doesn’t have the capacity to flush paper along with waste. This bathroom’s pipes can handle dual duty, though, thus the request not to put the paper you’ve used to wipe yourself clean into the trash can.
As a preview of what will happen when you flush your stool and paper, there’s an illustration of a poo-free toilet that’s so sparkling clean that it produces visible stars.
At this point, you might think the poster has imparted all the wisdom it has, but you’re not out of the woods, or stall, just yet. You’ve still got to rise up from your squatting position so you can pull up your pants and make your triumphant exit. However, if you’re not used to pulling off this maneuver, your legs might be a little wobbly, especially if your muscles are a little numb from squatting down and doing your bowel-moving business. Still, it’s extremely important to keep your balance, lest you suffer the unfortunate fate the poster so eloquently describes as:
“If you lose balance you are gonna fall down on shit.”
So remember, keep both feel planted as you stand up.
▼ Especially since said shit is apparently explosive.
Following Casey on Twitter has only the slightest chance of ending with you falling down on shit.