Tag Archives: china

4 June 2017 in Toilets | Stories from New Zealand, Japan, China, South Africa, the US, the UK and Ireland

Welcome to the new format – from now on every Sunday I’ll be posting all of the internet’s best toilet stories from the last week. I imagine you’ve missed me lots.


Let’s start in New Zealand, with a story about a policeman keeping his job. TVNZ reports on the story of a “highly trained” police officer, whose job is to protect the New Zealand Prime Minister and other VIPs, who kept his job after a disciplinary process. He was using the public toilet in parliament and put his loaded Glock pistol down and then forgot to pick it up. An hour and a half later, when he was on his way back, having realised he’d forgotten his gun, it was discovered by a member of the public. Luckily, no harm was done.


Breaking News reports that Sober Lane, a pub in my home city of Cork, has installed a “Snapchat machine” in the ladies’ toilets, so women on a night out can record their toilet fun and drunk group selfies on the pub’s Snapchat story. I’m sure nothing at all will go wrong.


The ladies’ toilet Snapchat Machine  – photo from BreakingNews.ie


Angry commuter stories make me happy. Angry commuters pissing in plastic bottle stories are amazing. Read this story in the East Anglian Daily Times to experience the anger of rail passengers stuck on a train that only had working toilets in half of the carriages. It does sound inconvenient, as they had to get off the train and get back on another carriage in order to access the toilets, so I’m not not on the passengers’ side. But I still find the idea of the people of East Anglia angrily pissing into bottles on a train quite funny.


Now, a story from the Sowetan Live, about a man who has an amazing name and amazing hair. There is apparently a singer  and reality TV star called Papa Penny Penny. Imagine being called Papa Penny Penny and not being a reality TV star. Anyway, the story goes that he once worked as a toilet cleaner. He told a show called Real Talk that “some people would just do their deeds beside [instead of inside] the toilet pot but I just cleaned”. Poor Papa Penny Penny.



Papa Penny Penny – photo from Sowetan Live


Now to China, where a news story in This Week in Asia appears to be trying to make Japan’s good toilets as much of a problem as China’s bad ones. The story tells of the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, when the city’s many dirty, smelly and old-fashioned toilets had to be renovated before the Games started. It compares this situation to Japan’s amazing toilets, thought to be the best in the world, and lists some of the advantages of Japan’s toilets, with their automated functions, heated seats, built-in bidets and washing functions and even the ability to measure blood pressure or analyse urine content. It claims that before the Olympics come to Japan 2020, the Japanese will have a similar problem because competitors and crowds from around the world won’t be able to figure out how to use the loos there. You should mainly read this story for the amazing photos of Japanese toilets, two of which I include here.


This is a photo of Inax’s (a Japanese firm) flagship toilet at a Shanghai expo. Imagine having a flagship toilet. Photo from This Week in Asia, credited AFP. 


A man wearing a poo-shaped hat climbs a giant toilet slide at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo. Amazing. Photo from This Week in Asia, credited AFP.


Finally to San Francisco, and a story from Business Insider (which is basically Buzzfeed in a suit) about a journalist who tries a Japanese toilet. It’s not just any Japanese toilet. It’s apparently “the Mercedes Benz of toilets” and it costs $10,200. To be honest, that’s too much to spend on an actual Mercedes Benz. She said the toilet was nice, but unsurprisingly she also said that it wasn’t ten thousand dollars nice.



The case against automatic flushes, safe toilets in Cambodia’s floating villages and a possible end to Trump toilets

The Collegiate Times carries the case against installing automatic flushes in toilets as planned across campus at Virginia Tech. The arguments include that automatic flushes waste water as toilets are flushed unnecessarily. The argument given for automatic flushes is that they are more sanitary. However, this is disputed as they flush more often and thus release fecal matter into the air more often. The automatic flush is also said to be racist, as the sensor only registers the reflectiveness of light skin. But the issue that the piece spends most time on is that children are terrorised by sudden unexpected flushes, which their small bodies are more likely to provoke, to the extent that one father has invented a flush preventing device. The debate, it appears, rages on.


Cambodian lake villages are the focus of a Guardian story, where houses, shops and communal buildings float on raft-like structures. The residents are completely dependent on water from the lake as a source of food and drink, but they also use the lake as a toilet. The residents typically defecate off the edge of their house-raft. This has led to the spread of diseases such as chronic diarrhoea. Children have been known to fall into the lake while defecating and have drowned. WaterAid Cambodia is helping Wetlands Work to roll out the HandyPod, a cheap toilet that will allow villagers to sanitise their waste, along with an education programme to develop understanding around sanitation issues.


A Cambodian floating village – pic from the Guardian, credited to David Wall/Alamy


Donald Trump is on his way to a win in Chinese courts against a variety of brands who have been using the Trump name without his permission. That includes Trump condoms, Trump pacemakers and a Trump International Hotel. NJ.com leads with the top end toilets being sold as Trump Toilets.


The toilets still known as Trump – pic from NJ.com, credited to Mark Schiefelbein


If you enjoy Today in Toilets, please donate to my Patreon.

Worm-infested toilets, a Chinese Michael Jackson and a toilet roll rip-off

Lisette Goaxas, a resident of the settlement of Fransfontien in Namibia has been speaking to New Era to complain about the state of the village’s toilets. The villagers use bucket toilets, which are apparently infested with worms, as the contractor does not empty them often enough. She also claims that the contractor empties the toilets at meal times, rather than early in the morning. Local residents are frustrated, as they believe that no new toilets will be built for years, as changes don’t happen after elections, but during campaigns.


A 54-year-old cleaner in a Chinese music school watched a group of elderly women performing a vigorous dance routine to Michael Jackson. He was inspired to follow suit and so he started practising in the men’s toilets that he cleaned every day. The video of him performing his routine in the gents’ has, according to GB Times, made him into an internet star.


And finally, controversy for Tesco, as angry customers claim that they’re saving money on their own-brand Luxury Soft White Toilet Paper, be making the cardboard inserts and thus, providing less paper on each roll. The Metro reports that Tesco deny these claims and say that the weight of each toilet roll is unchanged and the controversy has been caused by “deceptive packaging”. Decide for yourself!


An old pack of toilet roll (left) compared with the newer rolls (right) – pic from The Metro, credited to SWNS


If you enjoy Today in Toilets, please consider donating to my Patreon.

A toilet tragedy in China, an 11-year-old sanitation champion and an end to Japanese squatters

Today’s Metro has a story about Yulin in the North-east of China, where a toilet exploded, killing one person and injuring seven others. A lot of fecal matter at the toilet had allowed for a build-up of toxic hydrogen sulphide, ammonia and methane, which exploded on New Year’s Eve. China’s regional authorities have started investing in modernisation of toilet facilities across the country.


The scene of the explosion – photo from Welbo via Metro


In some Indian schools, lack of toilets is a reason why girls stop attending when they turn 11. One schoolgirl from Jamshedpur was shocked by this and decided to make a difference. Swachh India reports that  Mondrita Chatterjee saved her pocket money and pestered adults for contributions until she had collected 24,000 rupee and used it to build two toilets in her village, the first two toilets ever in the village, serving 350 people. She has been named a “Sanitation Champion” by the local authority.


Mondrita Chatterjee and the toilets in progress – from Swachh India


And finally to Japan, where Japan Today reports that there are demands to replace traditional squat toilets in schools with more Western-style toilets. Most Japanese homes now have Western-style toilets, but some people believe that public buildings should have squat toilets as, according to the Japan National Toilet Research Laboratory, some people won’t want to touch the toilet with their bums after others have. This is contradicted by anecdotal evidence that public buildings with both squat toilets and Western-style toilets will often have queues only for the Western-style ones, so it is unlikely that progress will be halted.


A traditional Japanese squat toilet – from Japan Today


If you enjoy Today in Toilets, please donate to my Patreon.

A Chinese revolution, toilet malfunctions in air and at sea, and a parade of toilets in Charlotte

India has been undergoing a revolution in toilets since the Swachh Bharat campaign was launched in late 2014, and now the Chinese government is following suit. CityLab reports that the Chinese government has announced a $290 billion investment programme in upgrading the nation’s toilets over the next four years.  Although Beijing and other large cities have modern toilet facilities (the last “nightsoil collector”, whose job is was to manually clear out human waste from toilets, stopped working in Beijing in 2000), most of the country still depends on unsanitary toilets. The government’s stated motivation is that new toilets are needed to boost tourism. However, there is a sound public health motivation too, as the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention reports that fecal contamination and unsafe drinking accounts for 80 percent of infectious diseases in rural China.


A toilet block in a Chinese village – photo by Jason Lee/Reuters


Two stories this week show that toilets can severely impact on your travel plans.

A story in Stuff describes how a ferry from from Wellington on New Zealand’s North Island, to Picton on the South Island was delayed in the departure port for 3 hours while technicians worked to clear a clogged toilet. Eventually, the toilets were unblocked, and a passenger happily declared “The toilet gurgles give me hope”.

On the other side of the world, the Independent reports on a flight from New York to Paris, which had to make an unscheduled stop at Shannon airport in the West of Ireland to allow passengers to use the toilets as the toilets on board had become broken, delaying arrival time by some two hours.


Finally today, a protest that never happened in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Charlotte Observer reports on an incident that bemused and amused neighbours of Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham. On the street outside her house, a toilet appeared. This was soon joined by three more identical toilets. There was speculation online that this was a protest against the controversial anti-trans Bathroom Bill in North Carolina and there were plenty of jokes at the expense of the commissioner. The online furore reached the ears of a neighbour of the commissioner who emailed the Observer, stating, “Mystery solved! This is my house! I am remodeling and swapped out my 4 toilets for low flush models.”

Potty parade.jpeg

The mystery toilets – from the Charlotte Observer


If you enjoy “Today in Toilets” please consider donating to my Patreon.

Toilets as a defence from tigers, a Frenchman wees in Shanghai, more flushed toys and a leeky loo

Villagers in the Pilhibit Tiger Reserve traditionally go to the nearby sugarcane fields to defecate and in doing so, they put their lives at risk. The Times of India reports that tigers lurk in the same sugarcane fields and three villagers have been killed as a result of big cat attacks between October 24th and December 11th.  The district administration has decided to try to prevent further deaths by building indoor toilets for all the houses in the reserve and has applied to the state government, which has offered to pay for toilets for 60% of the houses in the 275 affected villages.


The Global Times, an expat news site for China, reports on this Frenchman’s concerns in his Chinese office. He’s clearly suffering from culture shock, one of the symptoms of which is feeling as if your host country is dirty. He complains about his colleagues smoking and chatting and using their phones in the toilets, leaving the cubicle doors unlocked while they’re on the toilets and, hilariously, missing the urinals and wetting the floor. I’m sure no one in France ever misses the urinal. It’s an entertaining read.


Another day, another story from a UK local authority admonishing people not to flush anything other than the three Ps down the toilet. In case you’re wondering, the 3 Ps are pee, poo and (toilet) paper. ITV news is reporting that Wessex Water have issues a press release on the strange things they’ve found in the sewers. These include the dreaded wet wipes, which are clogging the drains across the country, as well as a headless Buzz Lightyear toy, and, incredibly, a child’s scooter.


Finally today, a tweet from Swedish Canary, whose toilet once again has a leek.


The leeky toilet – @SwedishCanary on Twitter

Toilets of the World, female builders and football fans


A public toilet in Beijing – from Reuters

If you only read one story today, make it this photo story from Reuters “Around the World in 45 Toilets”. The photos are incredible, from the disgusting facilities that refugees and asylum seekers have to use, to the pit latrines common all around the world, to the works of art that the Japanese poo in, these photos are worth it.


An open toilet in Chhattisgarh, India – from Reuters

The Australian ABC News site reports on the plight of female construction workers, who are often not provided with toilet facilities at sites and on projects, including a story about a site where the toilet had no walls and the female builder on site used her lunch break to drive to a shop to use the toilets. While the trade union didn’t object to unisex toilet facilities, construction companies are claiming that toilets are unisex when they don’t provide for the sanitary disposal of tampons.


Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, the authorities are so worried about fan violence in the upcoming World Cup football qualifier between China and Hong Kong that the fans are being given separate toilets at the stadium so that they never come into contact with each other. According to Yahoo Sports, “tensions between fans were further fuelled this year when the Chinese Football Association released a much-criticised, racially charged poster describing Hong Kong’s players as “black-skinned, yellow-skinned and white-skinned”.”

Finally, remember that it’s only two days to World Toilet Day, November 19th!