A long time ago toilets in Japan were very different to how they are today. I went into Lawsons convenience store in Yokohama once, and used one of the traditional style toilets, now something of a rarity. It was as if someone had embedded a urinal in the floor instead of mounting it on the wall. This is probably not as bad as it sounds if you’re wearing a yukata, but if you’re wearing trousers, it’s just not a good system. Before you know it your keys and mobile phone are out of your pocket and on the floor (if you’re lucky). I struggled through OK by hanging onto the pipe in front of me. Things have since improved though. Driven by the Japanese love for labour-saving devices and technological mod-cons, and possibly an obsession with hygiene, toilets made a quantum leap to what they commonly are today. Now, urinals know when they’re in use, and flush themselves after you’ve finished. Toilet seats are heated, and there are lots of additional features. Sometimes, the toilet will have a small extractor fan somewhere under the seat, and you can make use of a wash feature followed by a dry feature, with a second wash option especially designed for women called bidet. All that remains to do now is to pluck up the courage to actually use these additional features.