Wednesday, November 23

Oddities in [Tokyo] Nature

Ok, not so much oddities as Things I Found Interesting.
Or Odd.


Now, if you've seen other people's pictures of Japan, chances are you came across a photo of one of these. But I'll throw it in anyway for those of you who haven't. This particular turler is in Hama Rikyu and was my first experience. I handed Carlos my camera and bag and traipsed in for business as usual, when to my surprise, business was not to be usual. I promptly ran back outside, and Carlos knew exactly what I was about. He handed me my camera, and back I went. For those not well-practiced in the art of squat toilets, the first trick is figuring out which way to point. To relieve (no pun intended) any undue panic in this area, please look
here (You'll have to look under number 3 in the side bar, and then click on the picture of your choice, and then again). Fortunately, contrary to other public restrooms I have encountered (namely, at Ueno Koen) this lavatory was well stocked with TP.


Following this same thread, and lest any misconceptions about Japanese toilet culture be construed, I have included the control panel to the toilet in Carlos' apartment. Here are some of the features of this toilet:

  • Blue lights at the base. Should you come into the bathroom at night, these lights will guide you safely to the throne.
  • Lid and Seat Raising at the push of a button. The button on top of the panel raises the whole seat and lid. For the female crowd, a second push lowers just the seat.
  • "Shower" In case of messy situations, this strategically-aimed water jet will wash your troubles away, no need for wet-wipes. And trust me, it is accurate. As you can see there are two setting for the "shower," "powerful" and "mild." I was not daring enough to try "powerful," as having a "mild" jet of warm water shooting me where the sun don't shine was enough. The warming-up of the machine pre-showering is enough to set one's nerves on edge. However, the resulting clean backside is not unpleasant.
  • Bidet. You can tell it's for the ladies from the picture of a lady with a skirt on, getting squirted in the prives. I won't go into much detail here, but it does come in handy, especially at certain times.... Also very accurate.
  • Dry. I tried this once, probably won't do it again. TP is good enough for me.
  • Not sure what the spray strength is all about - for the flush or the shower/bidet. I wasn't going there.
  • Wide range/Nozzle position. Again, didn't go there. Perhaps for those more well-endowed or abnormally-arranged in the nether-regions.
  • Automatic flush. Once you move away the toilet flushes for you. But should you need a mid-session flush or should you feel that the automatic flush was ineffective, there is a button on top for manual flushing. Full, regular, or partial.
  • Heated seat? I can't remember if Carlos' toilet has this feature, but it seems to me that it does, as I don't remember any unpleasant surprises in that over-AC'd apartment.


Massage parlours in Tokyo are abundant, and invitations for "massaji" are not uncommonly heard in the streets. I found this sign particulary interesting for the obviously European / American customer, and the position in which they chose to have the masseuse.


This informative panel shows subway passengers which station they are currently at, and alerts them to incoming trains by lighting up. The previous and next stations are also shown, as well as the direction the train is travelling. E23 is the number of the station.


Velo Taxis. Tricycle-powered, these modern-day rickshaws are outfitted as mobile advertising, carrying tourists and others about their touristy and other business.


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