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Japan conserves resources by taking tinkles in the shower

Aera July 18
Aera July 18
‘I’m singin’ in the rain, just peeing down the drain, what a glorious feelin’, I’m empty again…’

Just when you thought the news from Japan couldn’t get any gloomier comes this ray of light that’s sure to gladden everyone’s day. Aera (July 18) notes that with efforts to reduce power consumption, people are turning off their bidet-type toilets, depriving themselves of that gratifying gush of warm water over one’s anus that comes after a bowel movement.

Instead of the toilet, they do their tinkling in the shower.

Actually the current controversy was supposedly started by Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen, who last year blogged that in order to conserve water, rather than peeing in the commode she lets loose while in the shower.

Then Ayako Nishikawa (age 40), a licensed plastic surgeon who doubles as a TV commentator, chimed in while on the air by remarking, “To conserve water, I’ve also engaged in peeing in the shower.”

Aera immediately dispatched a reporter to Nishikawa-sensei for further clarification, and she admitted that she had engaged in the practice until her marriage two years ago.

“I’m a bit lazy. And it’s easy to do,” she giggled. “Along with saving water, you don’t have to wipe or flush. Considering that I was living alone, and nobody was watching, I could be as carefree about it as I wanted.”

It seems that homes’ toilets and baths drain into the same sewerage system, so there’s no sanitation problem. But the bathing area in Nishikawa’s new abode uses glass paneling, and the transparency brought on modesty. Peeing demands privacy.

Yutaka (first name only), a salaryman living in the greater Tokyo area, admits he’s a habitual whizzer while showering.

“You hear the water and it makes you want to relieve yourself,” he says. “And what the heck, it’s too much trouble to dry off in the middle of a shower just to use the loo.”

Apparently there’s a medical explanation for this phenomenon.

“When your bladder fills up to 500 to 700cc, you feel the need to urinate,” says Shinichi Torii, a Yokohama-based urologist. “Up to that point you can mentally disregard it. But the sound of water flowing causes a sense of urgency that relaxes the bladder, making it harder to hold back.”

Contact with water, including showers and public swimming pools, can cause some people’s bladders to become overactive. If the problem persists, Dr. Torii will welcome a consultation.

Meanwhile, Yutaka recently discovered his 8-year-old daughter has the same propensity for peeing in the shower.

“Maybe it’s hereditary,” he chuckles.

Perhaps someone close to you may be a secret shower secretor, Aera concludes somewhat ominously. (K.S.)

Source: “Shawaa de toire, suru?” Aera (July 18, page 50)