Better Sit Down for This: Japan Wants to Modernize Its Squat Toilets for the Tokyo Olympics

Yoshikazu Tsuno, AFP/Getty Images
Yoshikazu Tsuno, AFP/Getty Images

Culture shock abounds in every foreign country, but few experiences can be as off-putting to an international tourist as walking into a bathroom and encountering a toilet you don't entirely know how to use. Perhaps that's why, in advance of the influx of tourists headed to Japan for the 2020 Summer Olympics, the country is looking to modernize its traditional squat toilets. According to Lonely Planet, the Japanese tourist ministry is trying to encourage municipalities to update their public restrooms with the Western-style toilets that visitors might be more accustomed to.

Though Japan is known for its elaborate, high-tech toilets with built-in bidets, seat heaters, and other perks, many of its public bathrooms have more simple accommodations. According to the country's tourist bureau, out of the 4000 public toilets near Japan's major tourist hot spots, around 42 percent are of the squatting variety rather than the kind with a raised bowl and seat. Now, squat toilets aren't just holes in the ground—they're usually made of the same materials most sitting toilets are and have flushing mechanisms. Except with a squat toilet, the flat ceramic pan is placed at ground level so you can crouch over it to do your business.

To make international visitors who are particular about their toilets more comfortable as they tour Japan, the Japan Tourism Agency has started offering subsidies for local governments that want to renovate their public restrooms. These grants are also available to private businesses and councils, according to Lonely Planet. The money can be used to either add more Western-style toilets or update existing models. (We can only hope some will take the opportunity to buy the kind that plays music.)

It's a bit of a shame that the Japanese government is so invested in getting rid of the country's squat toilets, because squatting is probably better for your health, at least when it comes to hemorrhoids. But at least it will be a welcome change for people with bad knees.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

Wednesday’s Best Amazon Deals Include Computer Monitors, Plant-Based Protein Powder, and Blu-ray Sets

Amazon
Amazon
As a recurring feature, our team combs the web and shares some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Here’s what caught our eye today, December 2. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Good luck deal hunting!

Love the Smell of Soda? Make Your Whole House Smell Like it With These Recycled Can Candles

716 Candle Co.
716 Candle Co.

You won't find candles made to smell like balsam fir, ocean breezes, or fresh linen from 716 Candle Co. Instead, the Etsy store specializes in scented candles reminiscent of newly opened cans of soda, and each product comes in a clever recycled can holder to match its fragrance.

As Delish reports, 716 Candle Co. sells candles inspired by dozen of soda brands. Whether you're a Coke or Pepsi person, the shop has a candle for you in both diet and regular varieties. Other sodas that have been transformed into kitschy decor include Sprite, Orange Crush, and 7Up.

716 Candle Co.

Every candle from the Etsy shop contains 100 percent soy wax made from American-grown soybeans. The holders are real recycled soda cans that have been hand-cut and smoothed around the edges.

Whether you need a gift for the soda fanatic in your life or you like to unwind to the scent of Wild Cherry Pepsi at the end of the day, you'll find what you're looking for from 716 Candle Co. You can browse their candle offerings today, with prices ranging from $10 to $15.

[h/t Delish]