Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
It's funny.  Laugh. Japan Technology

Japan To End Tourists' Toilet Trouble With Standardised Buttons (theguardian.com) 187

The Japan Sanitary Equipment Industry Association, a consortium of companies producing plumbing products has agreed to unify the iconography used on the often baffling control panels for Japanese toilets. From a report on The Guardian: Navigating the array of buttons on Japan's high-tech toilets can be a disconcerting experience for the uninitiated, who, expecting to hear a familiar flushing sound, are instead subjected to a sudden, and unwanted, cleansing of the nether regions. As Japan prepares for an influx of overseas visitors during the 2019 rugby World Cup and the Tokyo Olympics the following year, the country's sanitation industry has agreed to standardize pictograms on toilets so users know for certain if they are about to receive a blast of warm air or a jet of water. Nine manufacturers belonging to the Japan sanitary equipment industry association will soon start using the same eight symbols to explain the buttons found on their state-of-the-art WCs. At a launch event this week, the firms said they had agreed to simplify the pictography in response to complaints from tourists that they are confused by symbols that differ depending on the make of toilet. In a survey of 600 foreign visitors, a quarter said they could not understand some of the symbols that appear on the toilet buttons.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Japan To End Tourists' Toilet Trouble With Standardised Buttons

Comments Filter:
  • > a quarter said they could not understand some of the symbols that appear on the toilet buttons.

    Those are the quarter of the population that need to be sent on the B-ARK.

    • by Thud457 ( 234763 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2017 @01:18PM (#53690281) Homepage Journal
      Jesus Christ, that thing's [wikimedia.org] more complicated than the Moon Lander!

      And if you get it wrong, it pisses right back at you [wikimedia.org]!
      • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2017 @01:42PM (#53690461) Journal

        Jesus Christ, that thing's more complicated than the Moon Lander!

        Actually, it is a "moon" lander.

      • by jimbob6 ( 3996847 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2017 @01:48PM (#53690527)

        Don't accidently hit the "tampon remove" button.

        • I don't think I have ever seen a bidet at least not in person, I could easily imagine some mid-westerner getting an unexpected jet of water on a public toilet and having a heart attack.

          • I don't think I have ever seen a bidet at least not in person, I could easily imagine some mid-westerner getting an unexpected jet of water on a public toilet and having a heart attack.

            If you are in a country where a bidet is common, you would find it sitting next to the toilet, so you wouldn't get an ass-squirt induced heart attack without actually getting up and moving over to the bidet, sitting down and turning it on.

            • Except as this whole article is about bidets built into the toilets in Japan, where you can be unexpectedly sprayed by a jet of water because of a misunderstanding of the iconography on the toilets.

              • Except as this whole article is about bidets built into the toilets in Japan, where you can be unexpectedly sprayed by a jet of water because of a misunderstanding of the iconography on the toilets.

                I understand that this is the basic plot of most anime cartoons.

        • by HuguesT ( 84078 )

          Well played :-)

        • Do they have a "finish you off" button?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 18, 2017 @01:49PM (#53690545)

        "He doesn't know how to use the three seashells!"

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        How do you use the three seashells?
      • And if you get it wrong, it pisses right back at you!

        Yes, I first visited Japan around 1990, and I remember the first time I encountered one of those toilets. (Well, the functions weren't quite as advanced as what you linked, but still several odd buttons.)

        Curious, I pressed a couple of buttons (expecting maybe a different flush or something -- one of the buttons played music or something, if I recall), and that exact scene happened to me. Some bizarre protuberance jutted forth from the back of the toilet and sprayed water all over the room. Thank goodne

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          Consider the alternate. Which other parts of you body are you content to smear your faeces over and then consider clean with simply wipe with a piece of paper. Hell, you wash your hands and law mandates you wash you hands if you work in a kitchen and that was with a piece of paper between your hands and you faeces, yet you are content with your non-self cleaning butthole and surrounding contaminated regions. Get used to it, the change is very likely to spread no matter how much the dead tree ass wipe compan

      • Awesome, how do I get one for my house?

      • Why does it have a boob-powered flux capacitor?

      • >Jesus Christ, that thing's [wikimedia.org] more complicated than the Moon Lander!

        Using my rather hopeless knowledge of Japanese:

        The biggest two buttons on the top
        oo-Large, Shou-Small.

        The rightmost 3 buttons are icons, not Japanese.

        The big buttons along the front...
        Shi - Stop, ahshira - Buttocks, yawaraka - soft, heta - (kanji transliteration of heater), Kansou? - Dryer

        Everything below the panel - To set up the temperate and water pressure.

        • After much googling and looking up my Kanji dictionary, the top two buttons are for large flush and small flush.

          heta ain't heta. It's beda the transliteration of bidet - the pixelly image didn't make the diacritics clear. Presumably for squirting water where your girly bits might be if you are a girl. I understand that many males on Slashdot have not met females, so this might be hard to grasp.

      • It's not more complicated than any standard English TV remote [google.com].

        The only thing that makes it appear complicated is that you can't read Japanese. If you did read Japanese it would be very clear.

    • Ok, I've never been to Japan, but seriously, how complex is it for a toilet?

      You sit, you shit, you wipe, stand and flush.....?

      • by djinn6 ( 1868030 )
        This. Just ignore every other button except the "flush", and do your shit like you would in any other country. Every Japanese bathroom I went to had toilet paper.

        And if you can't figure out which one is flush, just leave it. It sucks for the next guy, but you're not being an asshole on purpose.
        • Re:That Quarter (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Calydor ( 739835 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2017 @01:49PM (#53690535)

          If the tourists can't figure out which one is flush, that's a GREAT reason to standardize the pictograms!

          • Re:That Quarter (Score:4, Informative)

            by djinn6 ( 1868030 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2017 @01:54PM (#53690577)
            Every toilet that I've seen in Japan had the regular metal button or lever on the water bowl for the flush. The pictograms are for the advanced functions.
            • The pictograms are for the advanced functions.

              Tentacles? One would hope...

            • Every toilet that I've seen in Japan had the regular metal button or lever on the water bowl for the flush.

              You must not have been there long. I have seen many that are much more complicated than that. Most don't even have a single "flush" button/lever, but two. One for a big (poop) flush, and one for a smaller (urine only) flush.

              As long as I we critiquing Japanese restrooms, can we gripe about the sinks too? All around the world, sinks have the hot water on the left, and the cold on the right ... except Japan, where they are connected randomly, and often unlabeled. For an otherwise organized and efficient soc

              • Here in the US all sinks have labeled handles, and they might be backwards because we have a lot of Homers and a blue collar work culture of just pointing the new guy at a task and saying, "figure it out." Even chances the labels are wrong, or the hot and cold are really swapped.

                If you stay in the cattle sections you only get one temperature anyways so no problem.

              • by dbIII ( 701233 )

                All around the world, sinks have the hot water on the left, and the cold on the right

                I used to live in a town with artesian water - stuff from very deep underground that comes up hot and under pressure. The water pipes in town were on the surface or close to it in a lot of places.
                In the height of summer the "cold" tap would range from cup of tea temperature to scalding if you let it run long enough.
                In my house the "hot" tap was fed from a tank at the back of the stove. In summer it was too hot to use the

        • And if you can't figure out which one is flush, just leave it. It sucks for the next guy, but you're not being an asshole on purpose.

          Truer words were never spoken.

        • Flush is in the usual place.

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        https://upload.wikimedia.org/w... [wikimedia.org] Someone else posted a link to a toilet control panel. Seems pretty complicated, even with pictures.
      • Ok, I've never been to Japan, but seriously, how complex is it for a toilet?

        You sit, you shit, you wipe, stand and flush.....?

        Nope. Sit, shit, flush, wash, dry.

        If you get a western room in a hotel they'll provide toilet paper but the cleaning staff will know you have an unwashed sphincter and while they will be outwardly polite to you, they will internally hate you and your dirty dirt hole.

        The food in Japan is awesome though.

  • I can think of three, maybe four, but beyond light flush, heavy flush, bidet, and drier, what are the other four functions?

    • You mean nobody explained to you the importance of men not pushing the ATR button [singlix.com]?"
    • by sabri ( 584428 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2017 @01:10PM (#53690223)

      I can think of three, maybe four, but beyond light flush, heavy flush, bidet, and drier, what are the other four functions?

      After my first trip to Japan, I bought one of those superseats. Mine features a heated seat with different settings, front bidet for the ladies, back bidet for us all, settings for water temperature. And I didn't even buy the iffy-spiffy one.

      Home Depot sells them. Once you've used them, you'll wonder why we use paper. Think about it: if you get poop on your hand, would you just wipe it or properly clean it with soap and water? Nevermind, I know the answer. So why do you settle for just wiping down there?

      • I can think of three, maybe four, but beyond light flush, heavy flush, bidet, and drier, what are the other four functions?

        After my first trip to Japan, I bought one of those superseats. Mine features a heated seat with different settings, front bidet for the ladies, back bidet for us all, settings for water temperature. And I didn't even buy the iffy-spiffy one.

        Home Depot sells them. Once you've used them, you'll wonder why we use paper. Think about it: if you get poop on your hand, would you just wipe it or properly clean it with soap and water? Nevermind, I know the answer. So why do you settle for just wiping down there?

        In the US there is more space. Plenty of space for a bidet. Incorporating the bidet function into the toilet seat is just a space saving method that is appropriate for the tiny bathrooms in Japan.

        • Re:More Space Please (Score:4, Interesting)

          by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Wednesday January 18, 2017 @06:39PM (#53692695) Homepage Journal

          Even with unlimited space it makes sense. No need to get up, pants around your ankles, and shuffle over to the bidet. When you are finished washing and the drier has done most of the work, you will probably want toilet paper unless you have a butt towel, and the toilet is the ideal place to dispose of it.

          Also you don't need a second heated seat for the separate bidet, and it's one less thing to clean.

          Oh yes, Japanese toilets are self cleaning.

          • Even with unlimited space it makes sense. No need to get up, pants around your ankles, and shuffle over to the bidet. When you are finished washing and the drier has done most of the work, you will probably want toilet paper unless you have a butt towel, and the toilet is the ideal place to dispose of it.

            Also you don't need a second heated seat for the separate bidet, and it's one less thing to clean.

            Oh yes, Japanese toilets are self cleaning.

            But with a separate toilet you can rest your latte on the toilet while you use the bidet.

            West coast, best coast!

        • In the US there is more space. Plenty of space for a bidet. Incorporating the bidet function into the toilet seat is just a space saving method that is appropriate for the tiny bathrooms in Japan.

          That depends. If you're dealing with somebody out of the tiny house movement, or a house that's just plain lacking in bathrooms with not much space for wedging the ones it needs in? You might end up with a bathroom with a toilet, a sink, and everything tiled so you can use the whole thing as a shower stall. I've looked at an example--the only bathroom the house came with was so insanely laid out that the sole reason to believe that it was, in fact, built into the house was because inside bathrooms had be

      • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2017 @01:46PM (#53690501) Homepage

        So why do you settle for just wiping down there?

        Because I don't use my butt for typing, shaking hands, conveying food to my mouth, scratching...

      • Adding more water is just making it easier for the bacteria to grow... washing your hands without soap, similarly, just increases your microbial load.
      • I personally don't like the idea of any water coming up from the _toilet_ onto me. How clean are the spray nozzles? How well maintained is the tubing running to the spray nozzles?

        No: I'll settle for wiping off what I can... and doing my own proper cleaning that evening in the shower with soap.

        • The nozzle is just under the seat, not in the lower part of the bowl. Most modern Japanese toilets have the nozzle on a retractable wand that is always out of the "drop zone" and emerges only when commanded to do so with the controls.

          So no, you cannot pee or crap on them* and they keep pretty clean on their own. But there is also a button that will extend it for a wipe down.

          *If you push the button while dropping a load, all bets are off. If you push it while peeing, it'll piss back at you, but the modern To

        • How well maintained is the tubing running to the spray nozzles?

          As well maintained as the tubing running to the faucets that you rinse your toothbrush with.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          The water comes from the mains directly, not the toilet tank. It's basically the same as what comes out of the tap. It's usually heated by a little coil just before being sprayed out. The nozzle is self cleaning, with a combination of self-washing and UV sterilisation.

          In the last few years they have started adding tanks for detergent as well. Most of it is used to clean the bowl after every flush, but I think some is used on the nozzle too if I recall.

      • I've trained myself to go in the morning before showering. I haven't used a public toilet (at least sitting) for years.
      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        soap and water without agitation won't clean, and is messy (water spraying around). Wiping minimizes mess, and the US is more keen on daily showers, where you clean that area more. Bidets are more common in places where daily showers aren't common.
        • The Japanese take daily baths/showers as well (and also a ritual where you wash before entering a public bath or hot spring), so I think there's more to it than shower culture.

          As for "without agitation" the force these things use is insane - obligatory car analogy: Compare to washing your car. If you use a garden hose you need a sponge and soap. But, after a major rainstorm, every car on the block glistens after experiencing nothing but the sheer force of water. This is a rainstorm directed squarely onto

    • by FatdogHaiku ( 978357 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2017 @01:20PM (#53690293)
      5) morph into land, sea, or air vehicle
      6) join with four other vehicles to create a larger machine
      7) join your larger machine to two others the create the Might Flushtron
      8) intimate function to assure very satisfactory toilet experience...
      please remain seated
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Japan turned toilets into rocket science. Let's hope they don't turn rockets into toilet science.

      • Japan turned toilets into rocket science. Let's hope they don't turn rockets into toilet science.

        Hey now, toilet science is half the space program!

    • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2017 @01:21PM (#53690301)
      Google has these fancy toilets when I worked IT help desk ten years ago. On several occasions I had the double shock of my balls touching the ice cold water in the bowl and my ass catching on fire on the toilet seat at the same time.
  • by jmcwork ( 564008 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2017 @01:09PM (#53690215)
    Replace the buttons with 3 sea shells.
  • It's an Automatic Tampon Remover.

  • by ripvlan ( 2609033 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2017 @01:23PM (#53690313)

    Years ago, while on vacation in Japan, I stepped into a bathroom only to find a large room with a row of holes in the floor and trapeze like handles (such as on a subway car) suspended from above.

    I really didn't need to go that bad.... and used the tree in the corner instead.

    • I've been in places in Europe with similar public restrooms. They also closed at 8pm, with the bars not having public restrooms. Easy enough as a male to find a dark corner to relieve myself in, but it seemed odd that there wasn't a better solution provided for the tourists than peeing on their fortress.
      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        In China (a few years before the Olympics) the bathrooms near the area were installing western toilets. The rooms would have a line of "local" stalls, and one (or more, but usually one) tourist toilet. The locals never used the tourist toilet. Seems dirty to sit, rather than squat, for the locals. Local toilets had no flushes. Some were outhouse style, others had a trough below that had a slow steady stream to wash into the sewer. I have no idea if the areas below had any regular cleaning.
        • I was working in Singapore once. At the facility, they had Western toilets. Above the toilets, they had instructions for the locals telling them "not to stand on the lids" when they took a crap. Seems they weren't used to sitting on one and were used to squatting over a hole to dump their load.

          That brought on a whole different cultural perspective regarding what we consider to be common.

    • Handles suspended from above? You must have found the deluxe room. Even the one at the airport requires careful balance.

      Urban Japanese must be just as put off by the squat toilets as we are, as evidenced by my finding bathrooms with only western style toilets in many office buildings and train stations (even outside the touristy areas).

  • by mykepredko ( 40154 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2017 @01:31PM (#53690381) Homepage

    I've not spent a lot of time in Japan but on future trips I will have a little nostalgia remembering coming in after a long night of Karaoke and trying to figure out how to relieve myself without flooding the bathroom.

    Of course, that option is a lot better than the ubiquitous hole in the floor with a shell that you squat over that my wife always wondered why I took pictures of.

  • by necro81 ( 917438 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2017 @02:11PM (#53690693) Journal
  • Thomas Crapper and Leonardo Da Vinci would both uninvent the water flush closet if they'd known it would come to this.
  • If I'm pushing a button that I think means flush I have already stood up and adjusted my clothing beforehand in order to avoid *any* possible complications from that operation. These certainly include unexpected jets of water coming from the bowl.

  • A little too late. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2017 @03:10PM (#53691137)

    As Japan prepares for an influx of overseas visitors during the 2019 rugby World Cup and the Tokyo Olympics the following year...

    What good is standardizing the pictographs now? Toilets stay in service for decades before being replaced. So unless they are going to have some sticker campaign to relabel all the ones already out there, it's too late.

    • Hosting the Olympics is usually associated with a bunch of slapdash construction of the required facilities.
    • Toilets stay in service for decades before being replaced.

      These aren't your western mechanical toilets. These are electrical, likely made in China with a Japanese name on it and running buggy software which the vendor refuses to fix instead offering to sell you a new shit shitter every 2 years. Plus your old toilet doesn't have 4K so why are you still using it you luddite. Throw it away like the electronic disposable crapper it is and get yourself some modern technology.

      • IME the Chinese parts suppliers are very happy to update firmware and push out an update in just a few hours with little or no testing, and the only reason westerners have trouble getting the updates is that we don't read Chinese.

        Japanese can read the Chinese well enough to send the right email to get the updates.

        Plus, they might really be able to get them standardized in the main tourist areas for the sporting events. They don't have to update the whole country to get a noticeable improvement.

      • Of what if you can't use the thing because it is busy downloading updates.

        Wait until there is an IOT toilet, and then it gets infected with malware so that it sprays you with cold water instead of warm.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      They make clip on covers with replacement button caps for customers who want them in languages other than Japanese. I imagine they will do the same for these new symbols in places that want to upgrade.

      Also, stuff gets replaced in Japan more often than the West, and toilets are modular. You can replace the control panel, the seat or the whole thing.

  • Standard Buttons? So like, the first button is for small flush and the other one is for big?

  • I fear where this might go [lusipurr.com]. (NSFW?)

  • I can say that it isn't really that complicated. Yeah, there are a few buttons. You just try them one at a time to see what happens. What's the worst that can happen?

  • Can someone tell me what the upside down bird held aloft by a water fountain do? (I'm aware what it really represents but when I first saw it it reminded me of how kids draw birds.)

The 11 is for people with the pride of a 10 and the pocketbook of an 8. -- R.B. Greenberg [referring to PDPs?]

Working...