Like every visitor to Japan, I too have been fascinated by the fancy toilets; the contrast between fancy, high tech toilets in a stall next to a squat potty (Aardvark LOVES the squat potties, by the way, and is so proud of her use of them, which she considers “brave”); and the other quirky things about Japanese public restrooms, like the high-tech, automatic everything (heated toilet seats, self-cleaning seats, obviously all the other fancy gizmos and gadgets for the toilets, the automatic soap and water dispensers), and the frequent, complete lack of something on which to dry one’s hands. (It was so common to not have paper towels that most people carry a small towel with them to use in bathrooms. In the few days we’ve been back in Japan this week, I have been pleased to see that automatic hand dryers seem to be de rigueur now.)
So having experienced months of Japanese bathrooms, bathrooms elsewhere typically fail to impress or even surprise me.
But this one, located on the grounds of the enormous, incredible National Museum of Korea, was surprising. Don came back after taking Aardvark to the bathroom and tried to describe it to me, and it was so strange a description – a bar of soap attached to a stick that swivels so it is available to all the sinks – I couldn’t visualize it and had to go see for myself.
So that blue thing is the soap.
I am not a huge fan of bar soaps and the idea of sharing one with strangers weirds me out (probably very inaccurately, of course). But also, how do they change it? Are there just more bulbs of soap in the supply closet and you stick a new one on when necessary?