Saturday, October 20, 2007

Wasai--- Toilet-trained ?

I thought I had finished learning about how to use a toilet by the time I began elementary school. At the age of 34, on my way to visit Taiwan for the first time, I learned that I was mistaken. On arriving at the KIX airport in Osaka, Japan, I went to the restroom to find a surprise waiting for me. I opened the restroom stall door and pondered how to approach the horizontal urinal. Which way do I face? Where do I put my feet? How do I position my body? How do I keep my shoes, socks, and pant legs dry? I am 34 years old, and I have no idea how to use this toilet.

The airport in Osaka was the first of many toilets that I came to know as squat toilets. At the CKS airport in Taoyuan, I was a “wee” bit smarter. I took a little more time to notice that the stall doors had pictures on them. Some doors had squat toilet symbols and some were labeled as handicapped-accessible. Ah-ha! All of my life, until now, I had been trained how to use a handicapped-accessible toilet. My previous trips to places like Ireland, Germany, and Russia taught me that toilets had many unique ways of being flushed. Asia, specifically Taiwan, taught me that I have been a physically challenged toilet user. During my four week stay in Taiwan, I learned a whole new set of toilet skills. I was being re-toilet-trained. After somewhat embarrassing discussions with others, I learned to face the small arch of the toilet. I learned to roll up my pants legs and carefully and steadily plant my feet on either side of the hole. After a number of trials with some humbling errors, I learned how to best deal with the physics of hair changing the direction of fluids based on pressure and other factors.

The previous 34 years were spent chastising male family and friends for struggling to get everything in the toilet. Wow, I didn’t know I was going to experience this same challenge. I now sympathize with them and apologize for my previous ignorance. After my first month in Taiwan, I no longer needed to use a toilet which allowed me to sit down. All of the muscles in my legs were finely tuned from their time spent holding me upright over squat toilets. I could hold my own with the best of the Taiwanese toilet-trained. I was feeling like a competent 34 year old again. Now, I just need to be diligent about always remembering to put the toilet paper in the garbage can and not in the toilet. Once I have mastered this skill, they might allow me to consider citizenship.

Submitted to Wasai Taiwan: Kim Cusick

( Kaohsiung, Tawian --- the U.S.)

related post:
Toilet Restaurant, Taiwan

Themed restaurants are everywhere these days.
There are Rock n' Roll themed ones, restaurants where you can eat while sitting on beds, and even bars made completely of ice. But Taiwan has taken novelty restaurants to a whole new level. Welcome to Marton, the world's first toilet themed restaurant! Marton means toilet in Chinese and in this restaurant you literally sit on toilet seats and eat out of miniature toilet shaped bowls (both the Asian squat-style and the traditional Western variety toilets).
The restaurant is the first of its kind and only exists in Taiwan. The creator of the restaurant used to be a street vendor. He sold ice-cream in a special plastic toilet cup holder which he designed himself. He decided to take this idea one step further and so the toilet restaurant was born. The restaurants use ceramic toilet bowls/dishes to serve a range of meals. Apparently he was inspired by a comic book character who would put crap on crackers. No joke! This comic is popular with the young kids in Taiwan!
The creator has now patented the idea and opened up several more branches around Taiwan. So if you ever thought the world was going down the toilet, now you have proof! The restaurants attract a range of customers but it is especially popular with young people and families with kids. Apparently it's not all just about novelty value and the restaurant gets many repeat guests. As a result it has introduced a loyalty program so you can collect credit on multiple visits and then receive a big toilet shaped bowl. These are also sold separately so you can take home a ceramic toilet bowl with you!
Food is either served in a flat bowl that resembles a male urinal; larger main meals are served in a toilet bowl. Noodles or rice are served in a bathtub shaped bowl. Some of the most popular meals are curry noodles or rice because of their resemblance know! Chocolate ice-cream is popular for the same reason.

related video:

Toilet restaurant

No comments: