I fought a bidet. I lost.

toilet bidet squirting waterI had a fight with a Japanese toilet and I lost in a most spectacular fashion!  I’m not talking about their public toilets that are a hole in the ground which one must squat over at one’s peril … and pray one aims in the right direction.  I’m referring to their technologically advanced electronic toilets.

Just before I went to Japan on business I had a crash course in protocols and Japanese customs.  I would be “home-stayed”, meaning I would live in the home of a Japanese senior official (of equal status to me).  I would bathe in the bathwater first as the honoured guest (before the rest of the family would use it), I should never write on a business card (an insult) and there would be an official exchanging of gifts (etiquette), just to name a few.    But nobody told me about their toilets!

I arrived at my host family’s home where the whole family greeted me dressed in their finest. There was a lot of bowing and head nodding.  They did not speak English.  I did not speak Japanese.  We spent the afternoon sitting in their lounge room.  Smiling.  Nodding.  And smiling more.  It was very formal.  I eventually excused myself to use the water closet, which they’d pointed out to me earlier.

The Incident

I opened the little door to the little throne room and stepped over the threshold.  This was no ordinary toilet.  This one had an electronic control panel!  Wow, I could be in the Starship Enterprize.  The only thing I recognised in this room was the toilet seat – ye auld familiar friend.  I took care of my afternoon ablutions with the deflating of my overextended bladder and took a moment to contemplate my day, chuckling at the electronic panel.  What were all the buttons for with Japanese writing on them?  I recalled being told that some toilet seats are heated in Japan so you could heat your toosh on a cold day.  I was at the bottom of Mt Fuji where is snowed, maybe it was a fancy heating panel, thought I.  I stood and righted my clothing and went to flush the toilet.  My hand suspended in mid air … there was no button.  I surveyed the top of the toilet, the sides, I even glanced at the ceiling {well, you never know!}.  I was baffled.  I couldn’t find the flush button anywhere.

I could hear the theme song from Jaws in my head as I slowly turned to glance at the control panel.  Oh please Dear Lord, not the control panel!  Was I supposed to push one of those buttons?  I thought…yes.  But which one?  I studied them carefully.  I noticed there was a blue button and a pink button.  My logic won out.  I deduced that if you are a boy you push the blue button, and if you are a girl you push the pink button.  Problem solved!  I am a girl.  Pink button it is!  I pushed.   Silence.

Just as I was contemplating my next move I noticed a steel rod descending from the back of the toilet bowl. What is that?  I’d never seen anything like it.  I bent and peered closely at aforementioned steel rod.  It halted.  I inched closed, and still closer, face peering at the alien appendage.  What in the …..

A huge gush of water under high pressure blasted me straight in the face, hosing my contact lens out!  I went into a panic because the water did not stop!  It was blasting upwards like a burst fire hydrant.  Without thought I grabbed it with my hand, and still, it would not stop.  Now the water was spraying all over the room and gushing out between my fingers.  The floor was flooding, water was running downs the walls, my hair was dripping, and my clothes were wet.  I COULDN’T STOP THE FLOW!  Should I wrench the rod out?  Using my other hand I began wildly hammering the buttons on the control panel.  Thank goodness … the water finally stopped.  My breathing was fast and shallow, a sign of my distressed state.

I stood there stunned for long moments.  Gathering my courage around me, and with a wildly fluttering unfocused right eye, I walked back to the lounge room where my host family awaited.  I walked into that room looking vastly different from when I left.  I needed to explain what happened, but how, when we did not understand each other’s language.  I was never good at Charades, but you should have seen the way I explained what I’d just done.  It was an Oscar winning performance!

I stayed with this beautiful family for the week.  I’m sure I will be remembered as the strange Australian who cleansed her face with their bidet.  They will be remembered as the family who made the strange Australian who couldn’t use a toilet feel at home, despite her most embarrassing moment.  EVER!
©2015 CEW


Originally posted on my old blog site.

19 thoughts on “I fought a bidet. I lost.

  1. Haha, I’m sorry dear but I found this story of yours quite amusing! My father has one of these weird thingies in his apartment, but the control panels are written in German, so they make sense to me. However I don’t like the feel of it, so I stay away from it anyway…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is hilarious! What I find most amusing is that they have high-tech toilets that most Westerners would never fathom ever seeing, yet they use the same bath water 😱 What the what?! Give me my old-fashioned toilet if I get to have my bath water. I don’t like to share filth. Crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. … and the baths were not like ours either. More like barrel tubs (higher than wider). So you sort of had to squat in them. The lady of the house came in to make sure I wasn’t flooding her bathroom next! When she saw the bright blue shower cap on my head I think she near fainted backwards into the hallway. She jumped back as if I was some sort of alien!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hahahah! I bet you missed the good old hole in the ground where you have to squat after this! 😉
    P.S I’m sorry for the excessive stalking, I’m just catching up on everything. It’s been a crazy week! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

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