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Tweet of the Week

Learn Japanese with what's going viral in the Twitterverse.

By 3 min read

Getting around with a kid in Japan is a real mix of ups and downs. While cities aren’t often the best place to showcase your giant high-tech stroller, at least public toilets nearly always have stalls equipped with a baby chair (ベビーチェアー).

This genius seating system allows you to bring your small child with you while taking care of your own business. It also serves as a public reminder to non-parents everywhere that moms and dads relinquish the right to peeing privately as soon as they have children.

So when @CALMIN_PDH, mother of three, entered one particular stall it was obvious that whoever designed its layout definitely did not have kids.

このトイレを設計した奴ちょっと来い = You, the mastermind who designed this restroom, come over, I need a word with you right now

In the first picture, you see the baby chair and on the wall nearby two big round buttons that are for opening and closing the restroom door. It all looks fairly standard.

Then we see the second and third pictures.

Insert inquisitive toddler who plays around with both buttons, easily reaching them with his arm thereby threatening his mother with mid-pee exposure.

You had one job

While some users had experienced similar bad restroom layouts before, others — presumably not parents — attempted to find some logical explanation for this particular design solution.

But as a person well-versed in keeping three kids alive, plus herself, at the same time, @CALMIN_PDH countered with more arguments as to why this toilet = epic fail.

引用RT、リプで「親に万一の事態が起こったときに開けるため」とのご意見を多数いただいていますが……

・多目的トイレは一定時間経過するとロック解除されたり、従業員が巡回に来る
・緊急通報スイッチは別途便器の側にある
・チャイルドシートを利用する月齢の子にヘルプを求めるのは期待しすぎ  = 

A lot of RTs and replies suggested that (this design) is “to open the door in the unlikely case that something happens to the parent” but…

  • After a certain time, disabled restrooms automatically get unlocked and employees will come and check
  • There’s an additional emergency call button near the toilets
  • Expecting that a child of that age will be able to respond to an emergency is wishful thinking, you can’t possibly expect an infant using the baby chair to come to your aid

Going above and beyond to prevent this design flaw from reappearing in the future, she even took the time to make an instructional image to remind designers out there that one should always think from the user’s point of view.

How to say “this,” “these,” “that,” “those” in Japanese

The Japanese translation of “this”, “these” and “that”, “those” can be a little be tricky, so let’s review the basics.

First, these are the demonstrative pronouns:

  • これ for things that are close to the speaker;
  • それ for things that are close to the listener,
  • あれ for things that are far from both of them.

Japanese has no plurals, so これ could be either “this” or “these,” depending on context. These pronouns are used alone and mustn’t precede any nouns.

If you want to say “this is the restroom”, you’ll say これはトイレです.

But if you want to say, “this restroom,” like in the tweet above, you’ll use a set of demonstrative adjectives that follows the exact same pattern as above ( = near me,= near you, = far from us).

  • この for things that are close to the speaker;
  • その for things that are close to the listener,
  • あの for things that are far from both of them.

So remember, これはトイレです translates as “this is the restroom,” while このトイレの設計 means “this restroom’s design.”

Vocabulary

Japanese Romaji English
この kono this, these (close to you)
トイレ toire restroom
設計 せっけい sekkei design
やつ yatsu that guy, that gal, you
ちょっと chotto a bit, a little
kuru to come
ちょっと来い chotto koi come here a minute/now

For more on learning Japanese

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