Hello, dear readers, and welcome to a world tour of potty culture. Today, we will begin a three-part series exploring the diverse and fascinating toilet practices and humor from around the globe. You might be wondering why we are even discussing such a topic. My reply would be, “Why not?” Understanding the local toilet practices and humor can be helpful not only in avoiding cultural misunderstandings but also in appreciating the unique customs of different communities.
So, buckle up and get ready to be amazed by the bizarre yet fascinating world of potty culture.
你好 (nǐ hǎo), こんにちは (konnichiwa), สวัสดี (sa-wat-dee), Hello! Welcome to Asia, where toilets are more than just places for doing your business. They reflect culture and humor, and they have a lot of variety! Japan leads the pack with high-tech toilets featuring bidets, heated seats, and automatic lids. The TOTO Washlet takes the cake, boasting a remote control, adjustable water temperature, and even a drying function. But it’s more than just fancy gadgets and gizmos. You can still find the traditional squat toilet in Japan, which locals call “chonmage-Hirai” or “samurai bun” because it looks like a hairstyle worn by samurais. Don’t knock it till you try it!
Meanwhile, China has its unique spin on public restrooms. Prepare yourself for the no-dividers policy in some of their public toilets, which can be an uncomfortable experience for travelers. But it’s all part of the adventure, right? And don’t forget about Taiwan’s infamous “toilet restaurant,” where diners sit on toilet-shaped chairs and eat out of toilet-shaped bowls. Talk about a conversation starter!
But let’s not forget the humor. In Japan, puns are the name of the game when it comes to toilet humor. So you might hear phrases like “Otearai ni koi!” which roughly translates to “Come to the toilet!” That might not sound funny initially, but imagine hearing it in a high-pitched, singsong voice. Trust me; it’s enough to make even the most uptight person crack a smile. Plus, there’s just something inherently funny about the word “toilet,” don’t you think? In China, humor tends to be more physical, like poking fun at the joys and struggles of using a traditional squat toilet. So let’s just say if you’re not used to “leg day,” you might be in for a surprise. At least it’s an excellent workout for your thighs.
Hygiene is a big deal in Asia, and it’s common to see public service announcements encouraging proper hand washing in places like South Korea. Japan has its own set of toilet etiquette rules, like no talking loudly or using your mobile phone in the bathroom. And remember the unique hygiene customs, such as putting on the provided toilet slippers before entering a public restroom in Japan and other parts of Asia—or carrying your toilet paper with you in some parts of China where public restrooms may not provide it!
Moving on to the fascinating world of toilet practices and humor across Africa! Jambo, Salam, Habari, Hello! Africa is an enormous continent bursting with diverse cultures and traditions just waiting to be explored. And let’s be honest, toilet talk is something you don’t want to miss!
Regarding toilets in Africa, there’s a range of styles to choose from. South Africa has a mix of pit latrines in rural areas and modern flush toilets in urban areas. And if you’re feeling adventurous, some places even have urine-diverting dry toilets. These toilets separate your number one from your number two, if you catch my drift. That’s right, instead of flushing everything down the drain. Urine and solid waste are collected separately, but I didn’t go too far down that rabbit hole to understand how it’s separated. Frankly, I’d rather not know. The locals can use urine as fertilizer and turn solid waste into compost. Talk about turning your shit into something useful!
But let’s get to the juicy stuff: toilet humor. Let me tell you, Africans know how to keep it real, even when it comes to potty humor! For example, in Nigeria, they love to poke fun at the never-ending lines in public restrooms. You know, the ones that make you wonder if you’re waiting to use the bathroom or auditioning for a role in a blockbuster movie.
And down in South Africa, they take a more sound-based approach to toilet humor. They love to crack jokes about the sound effects that come along with making a “deposit.” But, hey, we’ve all been there. Sometimes it’s better to laugh it off.
But let’s not forget about the rest of the continent. For example, in Egypt, the locals tease tourists with toilet humor. Kenyans have even written books about toilet humor, such as “Shit Happens: A Kenyan Guide to Understanding and Surviving Life’s Crappier Moments.”
Hygiene is no laughing matter, though, folks. However, Kenya’s leaders encourage cleanliness with comedic public service announcements promoting proper hand washing. For example, one funny commercial featured a popular comedian demonstrating the correct hand-washing technique. So why not toss a little song or dance in the next time you’re scrubbing up?
Apart from humor, Africa has some unique hygiene customs and practices. For instance, in many parts of West Africa, it’s customary to use water instead of toilet paper to clean oneself after using the toilet. This practice, known as “ablution,” is essential to the Islamic faith. While it might seem strange to some, it’s a more effective and hygienic cleaning method. As a bidet owner, I completely support this. Nothing like a squeaky clean booty!
Communal toilet facilities are still common in many parts of Africa, especially in rural areas or informal settlements in urban areas. While it may seem incredibly uncomfortable, communal toilets are often necessary where households lack proper sanitation facilities.
Toilet technology is constantly evolving, and Africa is no exception. In Egypt, they’ve introduced the latest craze in toilet tech: the “bum gun.” Yes, you heard that right, a bum gun. It’s a small sprayer used to clean yourself after doing your business. And you know what? It’s not just eco-friendly; it’s also catching on worldwide. So next time you’re in Egypt, embrace the bum gun and save a tree while you’re at it.
Africa has many diverse toilet practices, each with unique quirks. For example, in some parts of the continent, toilets aren’t just for doing your business; they’re also a place to socialize. In Ethiopia, traditional bathrooms are often built near the coffee ceremony area, so you can chat with your pals while you go. And in Cameroon, men take toilet time as an opportunity to bond with their bros. But, hey, who says you can’t make friends while you’re taking care of business? I mean, women and girls in the United States rarely go to the bathroom alone in public, so I get it.
Salut, Вітаю (Vitayu), Здравствуйте (Zdravstvuyte), Hello! Let’s move to Eastern Europe and Russia, where toilet culture is as diverse as the region. We will cover everything, from funky toilet styles to hilarious humor and hygiene customs.
First up, let’s talk toilets. Squat toilets are still popular in many Eastern European countries, while flush toilets reign supreme in Russia. And if you’re a bidet lover, you’ll be glad to know that they’re widely available in tourist accommodations throughout the region. So, whether you’re a traditionalist or a modernist, they’ve got you covered.
Now, let’s dive into the humor. In this region, locals use laughter to cope with challenging situations. For example, in Bulgaria, throwing water after using the toilet is believed to ward off evil spirits. That might sound strange, but what makes it even funnier is that it’s usually in humorous contexts. So, for example, you might hear someone say, “I need to go to the bathroom to scare away the demons,” or “Hold on, let me throw some water; I don’t want any evil spirits hanging around here.”
As for political jokes involving toilets, they’re a common way to express discontent with the government. It’s a way for people to let off steam, and let’s face it, what better way to do that than with a good toilet joke? Here’s an example: “Why did the politician cross the road? To get to the other side of the toilet paper shortage.” See, even politicians can’t escape the toilet humor.
Hygiene is also essential, and people here take it seriously. Serbian proverbs about cleanliness, such as: “Cleanliness is half your health” (Čistoća je pola zdravlja), emphasize the importance of cleanliness for good health. It suggests that keeping yourself clean is essential for staying healthy. Ukrainian superstitions about public toilets, such as “Don’t whistle in the bathroom” (не свистіть в туалеті) suggest not only that whistling in the bathroom may bring bad luck or invite evil spirits, but also an excellent reminder to be quiet and respectful in public restrooms. These practices show that cleanliness is no laughing matter in Eastern Europe and Russia.
Last but not least, let’s explore some of the unique hygiene customs in the region. For example, the banya tradition in Russia involves sweating in a hot sauna and jumping into an icy pool to keep clean. It’s a relaxing and refreshing way to stay hygienic. And in Romania, some people still use hay as toilet paper, a centuries-old practice that offers an unusual glimpse into the country’s history and culture.
Before we wrap up Part One and say goodbye, here’s a funny joke to leave you with: “Why did the toilet paper roll down the hill? To get away from the poop!” Keep smiling, exploring, and appreciating our world’s unique potty culture.