When Kimberly Woods, a UK canoeing athlete, heard the request, “Tell me you’re in Japan without telling me you’re in Japan”, a common joke on social networks these days, she had no doubts.
He recorded a video of him pressing the buttons while sitting on the toilet in the Olympic Village at the Tokyo Games. Posted on Tik Tok.
“I’m trying to figure out how the bathroom works,” admitted Brazil’s Ane Marcel, who competed in archery at the Olympics after her first day in the country.
The working of the device is able to confuse any foreigner who only wants to flush after completing the task for which the toilet was designed. It may contain incomprehensible pictures with warnings, messages in Japanese only, and above all, buttons. More buttons than video game controller.
“It’s complicated, isn’t it? You need a class to understand what it’s like,” wondered Lucas Worthen from Paddle.
Brazilian skate athletes went live on Instagram while playing in the bathroom of the Olympic Village, pushing a button to see what happened.
Modernity isn’t just in luxurious hotel rooms. They are found in train stations, subways, Olympic arenas and in athletes’ bedrooms. There are also warnings in some places, for example: the user must sit on the toilet, without getting on it and sitting down.
A valid warning in Japan, where the use of floor toilets, crouching, is also common.
The makers’ idea of simplifying everything with images, not just Japanese explanations, doesn’t work for all visitors. A survey conducted with foreign tourists showed that 30% of them cannot handle toilets, even with statistics.
To make this easier, some bathrooms have sensors installed. When the user wakes up, the discharge is triggered. Others make it possible to control the water pressure.
The figures came after an effort in 2019 to standardize the companies that make up the private sector. That year, Japan hosted the Rugby World Cup.
The eight symbols were designed to make life easier for tourists. The idea was to show how to flush (strong and weak), open and close the lid, activate jets of water that clean the private parts behind or in front of people sitting, dry and shut down controls.
It is not uncommon, even in public places, to overheat the seat, especially in winter with considerable comfort.
Prior to this, each manufacturer had its own symbols or words to describe the functions of each button, which were inherited from when washing machine sales and dryers began.
Toilets can be an expensive part of the home. Toto, one of the country’s leading manufacturers, sells parts for up to 15 thousand US dollars (about R $ 80 thousand).
There is also a function that is particularly suitable for public toilets, when one does not want the neighbors to hear the unpleasant sounds of nature calling. One of the buttons starts a continuous noise of running water, like a flush, to drown everything else.
Toilet anxiety arouses curiosity in foreigners, but the Japanese value going to the bathroom and their consequences.
The Unko Museum was established in 2019, in Koto City, on the outskirts of Tokyo. A place dedicated to Poop, a Portuguese word related to Anco. The stools were the subject of various arts, colors and shapes. The exhibition was temporary and was supposed to close in June, but it became so popular that it was extended to September of the same year. When it finally ended, it went online.
In 2020, former football player Keita Suzuki, 39, went after investors to start a company to research intestinal bacteria using human feces. Within a few days he got the money he needed.
In an interview with The Menich newspaper, he defined excrement as “more valuable than diamonds”.