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Evolved
Tuesday, October 5th, 2004, 09:05 AM
Gadget Helps Women Use Bathroom in Japan

By AIKO HAYASHI, Associated Press Writer

TOKYO - When Naoko Ito uses a public bathroom, she cringes in embarrassment at the thought that other patrons can hear the sounds coming from her stall. That's when she turns to the "Sound Princess."

Ito, like a rapidly growing number of Japanese women, presses a device installed in public toilets to simulate the sound of water flushing — and mask the cruder noises of nature.

"I usually use the flushing sound when I go to a public bathroom, such as at a department store, because I get a bit self-conscious," said Ito, a 60-year-old waitress.

The device — a curious mix of Japanese bashfulness and modern technology — is spreading rapidly through public buildings and has now become standard equipment for new construction.

Leading toilet producer Toto Ltd. has sold 500,000 of their "Sound Princess" — "Oto-Hime" in Japanese — since 1988, and the company says orders surged 125 percent in 2003 alone.

"The core of our clientele is schools and companies," Toto spokeswoman Kumi Goto said. "Japanese women are very embarrassed by the sounds they make in a toilet."

There's another reason behind the increase in the gadgets: ecology. Women in Japan have traditionally flushed several times to cover up their noises, so the Sound Princess is saving water and cutting down on public building operators' utility bills.

The Sound Princess is fairly simple. The user passes her hand over a sensor, and the convincing sound of a torrent of water comes from a speaker. Such gadgets might seem a dainty, modern excess of a shame-obsessed society, but the Sound Princess has deep roots in Japanese culture.

The Japanese are notoriously fastidious: the daily bath is practiced with near-religious fervor, and walking inside with your shoes on is considered filthy. The Japanese word for clean — "kirei" — also means beautiful. And what happens in a bathroom stall is, well, among the dirtiest things that humans do.

Going to the toilet has been considered embarrassing and even shameful for women since ancient times in Japan, said Noriji Suzuki, a parasitologist at Kochi University Medical School. "Sometimes you see people talking to each other over a stall in Western countries, but that would never happen in our culture," he said.

Yahoo News (http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20041004/ap_on_hi_te/japan_the_sound_princess_1)

Mistress Klaus
Tuesday, October 5th, 2004, 09:19 AM
:P This a funny article. I was told by a female friend that I was like a Japanese female with my toilet habits. I was fixing my make-up or something at the mirrors & she came in (a really quiet pub)..I suggested that I would leave her to her privacy & I would step out for a minute. (I can't stand hearing noises and I don't like people hearing mine!.. :P)...It is a private affair in my opinion...(I am still surprised at the way males seem to have no problem in the Gents.?!!! :| Lewd dog-like behaviour if you ask me.) :D

She-Wolf
Tuesday, October 5th, 2004, 01:51 PM
The Japanese have got some interesting privacy with hygiene techniques.

Evolved
Tuesday, October 5th, 2004, 04:00 PM
If it is a bunch of strangers I'm never going to see again, I generally don't care if they hear my farts. :P

heritagelost
Friday, November 12th, 2004, 02:49 AM
I'm a guy and I hate it when other guys try to talk to me in a public restroom.

Phlegethon
Friday, November 12th, 2004, 02:55 AM
I am quite happy that I don't have to live in the U.S.

TisaAnne
Friday, November 12th, 2004, 03:03 AM
I'm a guy and I hate it when other guys try to talk to me in a public restroom.
I thought that only happened in movies...weird. :eyes

Stríbog
Friday, November 12th, 2004, 03:32 AM
If you are going to let an especially embarrassing noise slip, just clear your throat loudly for the duration. Or whistle really loudly. Or sing.

Stríbog
Friday, November 12th, 2004, 03:33 AM
I thought that only happened in movies...weird. :eyes

No, it happens in real life, and it's really annoying. One can avoid it by using the stalls only.

TisaAnne
Friday, November 12th, 2004, 03:35 AM
If you are going to let an especially embarrassing noise slip, just clear your throat loudly for the duration. Or whistle really loudly. Or sing.Yeah, sure, why not announce the coming of your noisey, bodily functions with a snappy little tune! Do you follow your own advice? :D

Stríbog
Friday, November 12th, 2004, 03:37 AM
Yeah, sure, why not announce the coming of your noisey, bodily functions with a snappy little tune! Do you follow your own advice? :D

This is a witty and helpful guide to bathroom etiquette.

http://www.hosstyle.com/poop.htm

Edit: apparently that site doesn't work through IE

Here's another site with the same useful guide:

http://www.lotsofjokes.com/cat_362.htm

TisaAnne
Friday, November 12th, 2004, 03:51 AM
This is a witty and helpful guide to bathroom etiquette.charming and helpful. ;) I feel as though I have been thoroughly enlightened in the ways of proper public lavatory usage.

Sword Brethren
Sunday, November 28th, 2004, 06:26 AM
I usually talk to my friends when we're urinating all at the same time in a large bathroom. Why not talk to your buddies, you know?