Sometimes in life, you just have to woman up, pull down your pants, use the stupid squatty potty.
I had waited in the bathroom queue with little suspicion of what was waiting for me, so you can imagine my surprise when I swung open the stall door and stared down into a ceramic basin in the floor.
Oh yes, I had heard this was a thing, but had conveniently forgotten.
Following my millennial instincts, I locked the door behind me and snapped a picture of the squatty potty. I could giggle about this with several key people afterwards.
Should I just leave? I had no idea what to do. But then, how difficult could it be? Oh, but what if I lost my balance and fell into the puddle of my own urine?
I knew it my soul that it was time. I talk a good game of being adventurous and fearless, but it’s a different thing when the rubber hits the road – when you have to communicate in another language, navigate a train system in another country, eat the raw octopus, pee in the squatty potty.
So I did it.
I pulled down my jeans and positioned myself over the toilet. Perhaps the raised lip was similar to the Western-style toilets and needed to be faced to my backside.
We’ve trained for this, my friends, I inwardly whispered to my quads, whom I regularly shredded at the squat rack and who now stood resolute and firm, ready for the task set before them.
I held my breath and focused all of my energy on maintaining balance and poise – yes, poise – while urinating.
Of course, stage fright.
Just pee in the dumb toilet, Ryerson! I mentally barraged myself.
Finally it happened. It was a louder experience for me than it seemed to be for the women in the nearby stalls and I’m sure I got urine somewhere on my jeans, but there was no other option. I had to overcome the squatty potty.
At last, I finished, cleaned myself and rose, pulling my clothes on. As I turned to flush the toilet, I noticed the picture instructions that had been posted on the wall behind me, along with a handy grab bar that would have definitely helped my poise and balance.
But, deciphering the instructional pictures, I realized that I had done it wrong. The cute cartoon woman on the picture illustrations berated me for peeing on the squatty potty BACKWARDS. No wonder it had been so loud and splashy.
Regardless, it was done and no other Japanese person needed to know what I had done. As far as they knew, the white woman had used the squatty potty without so much as batting an eye.
As soon as I had washed my hands and burned forth from the restroom, I ran over to my boyfriend, waiting for me in the train station.
“Hey, GUESS what I just had to do!”
“I had to use a squatty potty and I had NO idea what I was doing,” I declared unabashedly – so American. “And I did it BACKWARDS and I’m sure I got pee somewhere on my jeans.”
“Oh, gross!” He dropped my hand and pulled away.
“Oh, yeah!” I grinned at him wickedly and grabbed his hand again. “Be proud of me, babe – it was an experience.”
He shut his eyes. “Oh my word.”
Despite his initial embarrassment, however, this quickly seemed to become his favorite story from the day regarding “Ginny’s First-Time Experiences in Japan” and enjoyed telling his friends at the bar, at church, and our mutual friends in Tokyo about how I had attempted the squatty potty.
They seemed to find the story hilarious and entertaining, which means that I still hold the title as his fearless girlfriend from New York and that’s all that matters, despite the fact that I 100% got pee on my jeans.