​Do you pay attention to toilets? Do you talk about them? I do. I do get strange stares or comments when I talk about toilet or bathroom differences or experiences. Like a daily, natural thing would be a big taboo. Strange, no?

I pay attention and I take photos sometimes. I document things that catch my eye. Today, for the World Toilet Day, I will show some of them.

Poland

My daily experiences in Poland are my base for comparisons. In a city there are sitting toilets. Bidet is very rare. The toilets in a shopping mall, airports or public places don’t differ from those found in private homes. Except some cases with automatic flushing sensor behind the toilet.

The toilets in Polish trains are either in close or open circulation. You can’t use the open circulation toilets when the train is still at the railway station, as the waste goes down to the railway. Don’t worry, there will be notes if that’s the case. Some toilets use pedals to operate flushing or water flow from the tap. I can imagine some people find it problematic when the train is running. The quality of toilet depends a lot on the age of the coach. One train can have coaches of various age.

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TLK train is an express train, but not the fastest form of an express train. There is no bullet-type train (like Shinkansen, TGV) in Poland. Above photos were taken in April 2014 in a train on a route from Racibórz to Warsaw.

Japan

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As you probably noticed by now, Japanese toilets caught a lot of my attention, even if I was just two weeks there in 2011. Japanese use two types of toilets, squatting and sitting. The sitting type can have various features (see the photo) like spray, bidet (you can change the water temperature and pressure), warmed seat, and a sound playing so others won’t hear you using it… Or, like in the toilet in one of the Tokyo ryokans (traditional Japanese hotel) you can use some of the flushing water to wash your hands.

It was a nice surprise to see the toilets for disabled persons in Japan. Automatic door operated by buttons (green – open, red – close) are definitely better idea than opening by pull (which I can often see in Poland). Lots of sensors where you just wave. In some new coaches in Express InterCity trains (more expensive than TLK) in Poland, there are now similar toilets.

I liked the Ladies restroom at the JR Hakata City (a mall connected with the main station in Fukuoka). The toilet was… cosy. It was looking much better than just the line of sinks one by one, and having to fix make-up blocking another lady access to the sink. Something you could see in Złote Tarasy, a mall connected to main station in Warsaw.

The photos were taken in September 2011.

Indonesia

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Most houses have the squatting type WC. No flushing, you had to pour the water manually. Sometimes such WC were found in more public places, a cheap shopping mall or university toilet. The photo of WC in boarding house was taken while the works were still going on, the house photo was made when I went to check out the house for rent. On both photos, near the WC there is a water reservoir.

Near the sitting style toilets there are also hoses giving the bidet function. Shopping mall toilets were usually like this. You might not have found toilet paper in the toilet but a hose was usually a given. It was a good idea to carry around tissues/paper and wet tissues/ Some places lacked a soap too.

But that wasn’t what shocked me the most. Often to use toilet in a shopping mall you had to pay extra fee (1000 IDR). The amount wasn’t much, but the idea of a customer paying for a toilet was odd for me. The toilets in Polish shopping malls in 99% are free of charge.

Do you have similar experiences? Different experiences? Do you forget about toilet as soon as you leave it? Let’s have a talk.

The post idea was inspired by photo coverage of toilets in various countries for the World Toilet Day. According to the United Nations, 2.5 billion people do not have access to proper sanitation, including toilets. When I read some stories, I realised how lucky I am.

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