Skip to content

Flushing to keep from blushing

June 6, 2011

Once upon a time I heard that Japanese women were very shy in the bathroom – so shy, in fact, that they would flush the toilet repeatedly to mask their bathroom noises. Eventually, the water waste became such an issue that machines were installed in the bathrooms that simulated the flushing sounds. I never knew if it was true or not, but I’ve repeated it throughout my life as it were fact.

Flying through Tokyo’s Narita airport recently, I went in the restroom – careful to choose one that wasn’t a squatter (that’s a whole other story). Once I got into the stall I was caught off guard by all the extra equipment around the toilet. There was a panel with buttons on it, a little tube inside the bowl, and a sheet of instructions on the wall. The one that caught my eye and made me investigate further was the one that said “Flushing Sound.” Below, it said, “Press to play back flushing sound to muffle toilet sound.”



Wow! The urban legend is true. And, in case your airplane meal isn’t sitting well with you, there is a volume button for the flushing sound!

The whole sheet was labeled “equipment to cleansing the buttocks with warm water.” Along with the flushing sounds and volume, there are buttons for “spray” and “bidet.” I couldn’t imagine how a regular toilet became a bidet, so I pressed the button. The tube inside the toilet rotated into bidet position and began shooting water. When the spray option was selected the tube shifted so the water came out at a different angle. You can also control the pressure of the water and heat the seat if you like. If you need powerful deodorizing, there’s a button for that too.



People probably wondered why I was in there so long and what I thought was so funny when I came out. I don’t care. That toilet made my day.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Audrey permalink
    June 6, 2011 09:57

    Wow! Haha, great post. I think I would be overwhelmed by all the flushing/sound/pressure options! I’m surprised that they had a squatting toilet next to this high-tech one.

    • June 6, 2011 10:05

      It is quite a contrast. Now you’ve made me wish that I had investigated the squatter. Who knows what kind of contraptions it might have. I’ve seen some pretty fancy ones 😛

      • Frank Holby permalink
        June 6, 2011 10:35

        Check out the squatter as you pass through Japan on your trip in July.

      • June 7, 2011 23:16

        It’s at the top of my “things to do while you’re traveling for 3 days” list 🙂

  2. Grandpa permalink
    June 6, 2011 22:44

    I learn something new each time I read your comments. I just finished skyping with your mother. Michal came into the pictue so I was able to talk with her too.Your family has introduced me to a whole new way of communicating.Glad you’re back safely in Ho Chi Minh City. It was wonderful seeing you, Israel and your dad.
    I love you!

  3. June 6, 2011 23:30


  4. June 7, 2011 12:34

    Hahaha! I think you travel on fancier airlines than I do – I’m a SWA flier and they don’t have these toilet options. 🙂

    • June 7, 2011 23:16

      I’ve never been on a plane with such fancy toilets 😛 It’s in the airport and that is the ONLY place I’ve ever seen them.

  5. June 8, 2011 02:59

    What a great bathroom adventure, too bad there’s not more like those around.

  6. Charity permalink
    August 5, 2011 11:13

    I wondered about all this when I was over there….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: