When nature calls, we’d rather be home. Alas, when you got to go, you got to go. Thus, we end up in a public restroom. In Japan, women are allegedly so self-conscious that Japanese toilet maker Toto invented the Sound Princess (音姫) to solve this delicate issue. However, the musical setup is often absent from male or mixed bathrooms, especially in stores.
Recently, an old sign posted on a Daily Yamazaki convenience restroom in Osaka surfaced on Twitter. The poster, illustrated with two apologetic bowing characters, kindly asks for the consideration of restroom users, encouraging them to hold back the “noise” when they go number-two.
The store manager received complaints from shoppers feeling uncomfortable. At the time (2017), the franchise’s headquarters advised the manager to take the sign down, feeling it was too much of a controversial take.
Although a few years old now, the resurfaced poster started a debate on bodily fluid noise and shame—can we really control the noise we make?
On the sign:
Recently, we have received complaints from other customers about the annoying bleep-bleep sound of people using the restroom when they make a bowel movement. Every time they hear this noise from the toilet, it makes our customers uncomfortable while shopping.
We would like to ask for your cooperation in turning down the volume of the [toilet sound] when you use the toilet.
Kanji Cheat Sheet: Japanese toilets
|無理||muri||Impossible, no way|
|ご利用の方||go riyou no kata||Users (of this service)|
|大便の際||daiben no sai||During a bowel movement|
|ブリブリ||buri buri||Bleep, plop|
|たびに||tabi ni||whenever, each time, at the occasion|
|不快な思い||fukaina omoi||Unpleasant thoughts, feelings|