Tara Kamiya


Traditional Japanese Toilet


Not healthy? Don’t visit Japan!

I have always been obsessed with Japan. When I was a little girl I remember my mom splurging on a whole makeup set from Hello Kitty. It was the cutest thing I had ever seen and once I found out that it came from Japan I started a lifelong quest to get to that country.

Well the end of 2011 I finally made it, and it was Amazing! Everything was different and I will blog about it for the rest of my life, one thing that stood out immediately was how uncomfortable it could be for you if you are out of shape. When I was a kid I remember a bunch of jokes centered around foreigners visiting Japan and falling all over the place whenever they had to sit on the floor. I thought that at this moment in time that would not be so, it’s a new day and everyone is Western, right? Well I found out that there is still a strong presence of Japanese tradition amongst the western influence and that there is much more to be uncomfortable about.

Not always an option

Have to run to the John, sure, but you better go whenever you see a “Western” toilet. Basically the pictures say it all. If you do not see what you consider to be a “regular” toilet you could be in trouble, especially if you have to do a number 2! I was really surprised to see that there were some places that still only had the old skool toilet. The temple and the hospital were two places in particular. Now mind you, I was not in the city all of the time. Perhaps if you visit Tokyo you will never see these toilets. I have no idea. I was very excited to see and use the old skool toilet. I had read about it in my Japanese guide book years ago and in Japanese language class. I was wondering if when I finally got a chance to visit if I would be cheated out of my chance to try one of these toilets. And if you are wondering, yes I was successful! No stained clothes!

Keep it old skool

Restaurants. There were table and chairs at most places, but if you want traditional Japanese food you may find yourself on the floor. If you can manage to sit on the floor for an entire meal, good for you. There is also the issue of food as well. In Japan there is no such thing as vegetarian, vegan, low fat and all the other mess that us Westerners have become accustomed to. There is food, you eat it or not! Asking about vegan broth is an insult and you just might as well not come. There is meat, there is cooked food and damn, you’d better eat it if you want to live in Japan.

The last thing I will comment on today is the language. Most of us are so used to visiting a country and having someone speak English. Honestly, if you visit outside of the cities speaking is the least of your worries. There was no written English in many towns I visited. How would you make it on the highway? You won’t that’s how!

I realize why so many people I’ve met have not been to Japan. Lovely country, but unless you are into the culture and study it, it’s a hell of a lot harder to visit than the Bahamas.


2 thoughts on “Not Healthy? Don’t visit Japan!

  1. Growing up in rural India, at my grandparent’s family home, we had similar squat Indian style toilets and guess what? I still can’t believe my then 60 something grandparents would use it comfortably without a word of complain. I doubt I’d be able to squat that low and do my number 2 business when i’m in my 40s, forget 60s. I’m not the most active person & it’s been years since i last used an indian style toilet.
    I imagine it must have been a huge culture shock to you, being that you’re american and such toilets don’t exist in America. Your blog is so interesting! I’m interested in Japanese culture & dream of visiting Japan someday in the future. I wish you’d blog more frequently because wow, you sure leave long gaps between your posts. Blog more frequently if possible. It’s just a humble request from a reader.

  2. Thanks! I am getting there. Now that baby is napping I should be blogging regularly. Thanks for reading! Please subscribe for updates so we can stay connected.

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