Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Toilet need and the sign that stopped me

I think that I have lost my way a little bit when it comes to this blog. I have let a number of lighter, but ultimately meaningless topics come in the way of the core, what I'm about and what I do best. The Earthquake, commuting, buying houses, babies and all that, it's just distractions from the real purpose of this blog; me and toilets.


This is not a blog about Japan, this is not a blog about professional insanity, this is not a blog with amusing bizarre trivia, it's meant to be a toilet blog. This is what I do best and the driving force in my life. To give this recognition, I have now created a new label called "Salaryman and Toilets" (ok, there's plenty more on the site, but some of the layout of the old posts gets messed up when I try to add the label so I gave up, so just search for "toilets" and you'll get most of it).

I brought this topic up in a previous post, but the situation has not improved. During certain hours of the day (usually from 10AM to 11AM and then after lunch for a couple of hours) the toilets are chronically occupied, no lines outside or anything, just complete silence. Earlier in the week I felt a certain pressure in my bowels and felt a quite urgent need to relieve them, as this was about 10 AM I was not surprised to see the booths taken (no sound from inside), so I went back to the office and soldiered on for another ten minutes before going back to see if an opening had become available. Obviously this was not the case, four closed doors and complete and utter silence.

With the need to go now becoming quite urgent, I tried doing something that I have never ever tried before; going out the stairway taking the stair down to the floor below, hoping to be able to do a guerrilla type raid in their toilet facilities. Do my thing and then just vanish again back up the stairs to where I came from, without anyone having any clue as to what I had done. The plan was perfect, or so I thought... When I walked down the stairs and approached the door, this is the huge sign that was taped to the door (see the picture). It says "The toilets are for the tenants of the offices on this floor. For every one's comfort, please use the toilets on your floor or the common toilets on the first and second floor". It should be noted that our little stairwell door on the 18th floor does not have this type of sign...

Having lived too long in Japan, the authority of the sign scared me off my little adventure and I scurried back upstairs to the office and somehow managed to hold down the fort, so to speak, until a little past eleven and magically all the booths were available. I did have to suffer a bit of a stomach ache for the whole day though. What bugs me a bit is that our stairwell door does not have this sign which makes me suspect that the toilet sleepers come from other floors as there is no warning like this to stop them...

Maybe I should have braved the authority of the sign, but it felt too risky, what if someone would have caught me? Would you have dared challenge a sign like this?!

13 comments:

Sarahf said...

I would have probably risked it. If I got caught I would either deny all knowledge of Japanese, or be ever so slightly aggressive. Both have worked for me in my reckless, rule breaking past.

B. Nielsen said...

I just finished reading all of your blog post last night after coming across your blog a week or two ago.

I appreciate your darker humour and allowing us a view of your slice of life in Japan.

Perhaps the sign was there because of an overabundance of stall sleepers. I would have ignored it, if it was becoming too taxing to hold on much longer.

Maybe a series on bathroom terrorists is in order?

Eva said...

I would have just knocked the doors loudly and ask if anybody is inside. You're too kind...tsk tsk...

Jeffrey said...

You've now crossed over. You have, apparently, been in Japan for too long for your own good or, like Donald Keene, you are now thinking seriously about applying for citizenship.

This is one of those instances in which, regardless of how good your Japanese may be, you are still a gaijin and can simply break the "rules," which in this case, as with SO many circumstances in Japan, make no sense any way.

iago said...

I suggest that doing a test of your keitei "Earthquake Coming!" siren just outside the stalls may free up some space.

iago said...

Oh, I also like the fact the sign is posted by the "Disaster Center".

I suppose, in a way, it could be...

geram said...

nice article!

Mr. Salaryman said...

Sarahf - Good for you, I wish I had taken the risk of breaking and entering their precious bathroom, but I look too Japanese to get away completely with the "I'm a foreigner" thing...

B. Nielsen - Well, thank you for reading it, assuming you enjoyed it! Bathroom terrorists... hmmm... might be onto something there...

Eva - Yeah, I really should or maybe just poo in the urinal?

Jeffrey - Haha, I don't get that Donald Keene dude, who is he and why do people care? But no intention of naturalizing myself! Theoretically I'm pretty sure that no one would have A) noticed and B) if they noticed, said anything as people don't know everyone on each floor, but the authority of the sign was too strong

Iago - That was one of the better ideas!

Geram - Nice comment

Contamination said...

Take the sign from another floor, copy it and post it on your own toilet door. Fixed!

Sam Pugeda said...

This reminds me of one public toilet I went to outside the Kaiyukan Aquarium in Osaka. I was just doing my business and happened to look to my right, and there next on the wall, was some kind of red switch and the words "danger or caution" in Japanese. Why is there some kind of emergency button in the stall?? Have you seen anything like that too? What kind of things should I be worried about that warrants a panic button?

Martin said...

Give yourself authority with your own sign/s.

Choose the best stall on your floor. Put up a sign saying -"sleeping not allowed in THIS toilet.". The authority of this sign grants you permission to loudly bang on that door endlessly when in need, keeping the sleepers next to it awake.

If you laminate it the authority increases.

Rydangel said...

you should have went for it. i would have. of course i've been known to use the men's room(when it just a single room with toilet) when the need arises. i also know no shame when commandeering the handicapped stall. i am the queen of bathroom terrorists. buhwaah....

Mr. Salaryman said...

Contamination - Yep, or at least demand to the building management to put an end to thit toilet thiefing and hoarding!

Sam P - Hmmm... Hard to say, you sure it wasn't an "emergency button" for disabled people or something?

Martin - Yes, excessive notes and signs is a habit of Swedes that I should bring more aggressively to Japan!

Rydangel - Well, as long as you don't do the big one in the boys urinoar I guess I don't really mind ;)

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