Maryland Blogger Alliance

Alliance FAQs

Latest MBA Posts

July 26, 2006

The future of Japan?

In recent days, the Japanese have made noises about launching a first strike on North Korea.

You'll excuse me if I'm just a little skeptical about this. Any nation debating whether to engage in a first strike, it seems to me, must first ensure that its children are potty-trained.

I make this statement based on a strange and actually quite annoying article (via Fark) from the Mainichi Daily News, which ordinarily would rate a Code Orange (puerile) in the Pillage Idiot Advisory System (see sidebar) but will in fact receive a full Code Red (infantile) based on the number of moronic puns it uses about bodily functions.

Beyond these moronic puns, the article provides us with some very troubling information about the future of Japan:

It may seem like a piddling problem, but increasingly large numbers of Japanese children, especially little boys, don't know how to pee properly, according to Sunday Mainichi (7/30).
If you can believe this article, the problem has reached epidemic proportions in Japan.
Many young school children refuse to use bathrooms by themselves. Others don't know they're supposed to flush toilets after they use them because they're so used to having a parent, nurse or teacher do it for them.

"There are some girls who dislike using toilets because of fears about whoever may have sat on the seat before they did, which is kind of understandable. Some of the other reasons kids give for refusing to the toilet aren't, though, like those who hate the seat being cold," the teacher says.

"Our school only has Western-style toilets but, unlike a lot of homes, the seats aren't heated and because of that kids won't use them because they don't like the feel of cold hard steel on their butts."

Fastidiousness about cleanliness, to the point of obsession, is driving kids almost potty and ensuring they don't use the, well, potty. Others with a keen sense of smell become standouts at the slightest whiff of an unpleasant odor. Still more feel the need to use an entire toilet roll to wipe their butts after each sitting in the hope they'll remove any last vestige of poop remaining.

Kindergartens, too, are bogged down by problems caused by bogs, and these troubles are compounded in one way by toilet doors deliberately made with large gaps at the top and bottom in case something untoward happens and teachers can peer in to check on their charges.

"Some kids start crying, saying their embarrassed that somebody might see them peeing, while others are scared because of the gaps in the doors. They make all kinds of excuses not to use the toilets," one kindergarten teacher tells Sunday Mainichi.
And you women will be happy to know that this is all the fault of the mothers.
Another mother points out a different problem caused by living in a land where parenthood is still largely left in the hands of women.

"It's really hard to show a little boy how to pee," the 34-year-old mother of a 4-year-old kindergartner tells Sunday Mainichi. "It's not like moms know how to piss standing up. We don't know the right way for boys to get rid of their wastes. Guys don't wipe themselves after having a pee, right? It seems kinda dirty to me. I really, really hate it when I see undies with skidmarks in them."
If you're asking yourself, right about now, where the Mainichi Daily News came up with people who agreed to be interviewed for this article, guess what: They probably made the whole thing up. But let's suspend our disbelief for a few moments, because the article has an interesting conclusion:
Some experts say the little ones' laxity in the loo may be their way of sending a message to their parents that they need a little more tender, loving care.

"Some children deliberately urinate all over the place or defecate in their parents' shoes," a consultant on childcare for new moms tells Sunday Mainichi. "By doing this, they're trying to attract their parents' attention. I think it's a sign from the kids."

Deliberately defecating in their parents' shoes? I didn't realize we were talking about teenagers here. And if they want to give their parents a sign, how about the old one-if-by-land-and-two-if-by-sea business?

The thing that puzzles me about this whole story is the fear angle. It's not that Japanese kids should't be afraid of the toilet. It's that they clearly don't have a clue about why they should be afraid. The "feel of cold hard steel on their butts" is nothing to be afraid of. Nor is there any need to be afraid of "whoever may have sat on the seat before they did." We're not into disposable toilets, and that means there's always someone before you.

I've plumbed (sorry! the article is contagious) the depths of the Pillage Idiot archives and I've scanned the internet to give Japanese kids an idea of what they actually should be afraid of with respect to toilets:

1. Large, carnivorous lizards.

2. Glue on the seat.

3. An African rock python. A 6-foot snake, my friends.

4. A squirrel. (From an old Dave Barry column.)

And here's another thing that's pretty scary: Kim Jong Il toilet paper. Just what the Japanese need in these difficult times.

You want to know my opinion? The Japanese should worry less about phony saber-rattling involving first strikes against a nutjob in North Korea than about being attacked by something in the toilet.

Pleasant dreams, kiddies!