Article updated on May 23, 2020
Text & photos: Marcella van Alphen
I push on a button: a water splash starts. Wrong button… Another one: now it is a different kind of splash. Still the wrong button! Will I ever make it? I start panicking slightly as I realise that there are two Japanese women on the other side of the restroom door, probably wondering what I am doing in there! This is quite embarrassing… This is my first Japanese toilet experience and it is taking me ages to figure it out: I just can’t find the flush button!
Eventually, I cheer when I push a button and I hear the toilet flushing!… Until I realise that the toilet is not actually flushing, but just making a cover up sound! I must be getting closer: pushing the neighbouring button, the sound just keeps increasing!
This next button is too much: the toilet starts spraying water against the door! After managing to stop it, I have to squat to wipe the door with toilet paper, and this is when I notice a small handle on the other side of the toilet. The flush!
Japanese toilets are quite something! They are unbelievably clean, and super sophisticated with buttons to control the spray, bidet, sound, power deodorizer, water-pressure, temperature, bottom cleaning and most importantly the stop function…
I must have pressed all of them in my desperate attempt to flush, probably making me an expert at Japanese toilet technologies after this impromptu crash course!
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