Friday, March 26, 2010


I had to give an informative speech today in my communications class.
If you know me, you know I'm NOT a fan of writing OR public speaking
- but I thought this speech turned out well!

Well at least the written version of it, the getting up in front of the class and trying to run a slideshow on a PC while talking- Not so much!

Since this is MY blog and I can post what ever I want :) I though I would share it here - cuz I think its funny :)


Have you ever been to a friends house for the first time and asked where the bathroom was? Have they ever said jokingly back to you, after pointing it out, to just leave a quarter on the counter or back of the toilet? We laugh at this and don’t really think anything of it. Well, I didn’t either until the first time I left the country with the Military.

I was in the Air Force for 7 years. In Sept of 2003, I got orders to Korea  and lived in Kunsan South Korea for 1 year.


I wouldn’t say that it was complete culture shock because I lived on a military base that was very “American” However, there were many times that I went off base, exploring or on sight seeing trips with friends.
These were the times that were strange.
You don’t realize the things that we take for granted in the US.
Probably the most appalling thing that I saw - or I should say smelled was the open sewer lines. The smell was horrible!
I think the Koreas must be use to it - but I never did.

Then there are the bathrooms themselves. I just assumed everyone in the world had the same type of facilities. Boy was I wrong!

There is nothing like opening the door to find this 


No, its not broken or missing!

This is called a squat toilet. In Korea, the “toilets” originally, were just a hole in the ground. - these evolved into a porcelain hole in the ground that you are suppose to squat over.


They are supposedly pretty easy to use. I didn’t want to take the chance of not being coordinated enough to use one of these so I never did try.

Squatting is quite common in Korea. I remember doing it as a kid and my kids do it. When exactly do Americans out grow that???? Well, Korean don’t.
I remember seeing old women squatting in the market place selling fish and other things and wondering how they could sit that way??? 


Apparently, squatting is the best way to empty your bowels. When you sit, you pinch your colon.  This diagram is taken from the toilet related ailments website they say that you can not completely empty your bowels in the sitting position because this muscle pinches. And that by squatting, your leg muscles press against your intestines helping things to naturally move along. Check it out if you want more information on all that. You can even get plans on how to retrofit your home toilet with a platform that allows you to squat - I’ll be passing on that one!

If I were to ask you how many of the pictures I already showed you in these slides had trash cans in them, I bet you wouldn’t be able to tell me!
If you were in a Korean bathroom however, you would not be able to miss it.  The smell would give it away!


That trash can in the corner - THAT is where your used paper goes - this one actually has a lid - most do NOT!
YEP, sorry, you may NOT flush your used toilet paper.
The sewers can’t handle it.

Thankfully, there are many Western style toilets available
When in doubt, look for the McDonalds!

I never was stuck in a position where I had to use a squat style one - although now, I’m kind of wishing I would have tried - just to say that I did.

So, you finally found a “regular” toilet to use. Where you can sit and flush your toilet paper (still not recommended - but quite common in these toilets) but wait - where is the toilet paper???

You mean after all that you forgot to BUY your toilet paper?
Thats right, TP is NOT free. Pack some in your bag or look for a tp vending machine outside the stalls. 

This photo is of a tp vending machine in Japan - I couldn’t find a Korean photo - but its quite similar to the Korean ones.

OK, now that you never want find yourself in Korea when you need to use the bathroom, Lets move to Germany.


I arrived in Germany in Sept of 2004. Where I was stationed at Spangdahlem AB for 3 years. During this time I lived off base in a town named Biersdorf AM SEA - which means “beer town on the sea (or lake) - Right about  here on the map.

After Korea, I thought I was prepared for anything.
No one else would do strange toilet things - would they?

Oh -Yes they would!

In Germany, Whether you are a "Damen" - Female or "Herren" - Male
Look for these signs:


W.C. is the most common - it stands for Water Closet
Here are a few other examples you might see:


Upon locating the WC In Germany, you will be pleased to find that,
it is now okay to flush your tp and sit.
Which is great for us girls. However if you are a guy,
You probably won’t be so happy to find stickers like this:


Thats right - please don’t stand up to pee!

Why? Because the Germans have a crazy toilet design that makes it pretty impossible to pee standing up with out splashing everywhere!

While the typical american toilet is shaped like this:
The German one is like this:


With a shelf! WHY WHY would they do that?

Apparently, Germans are in the habit to checking out their waste to make sure they don’t have parasites. I’m perfectly fine NOT doing this!
If I don’t feel well I’ll see a Dr. thanks!

So yeah, its a bit odd but not too bad - when you flush, the water washes from the back and pushes the waste down the small hole in the front.

Just make sure you use the brush after you flush, sorry to say, you probably will need to unless there is great water pressure - which is unusual. - and YES you can flush your TP. All for free!

Well almost! Don’t be surprised if you are out at a restaurant or at a fest and see a little table with money on it in the bathroom.

Thats right, you are expected to PAY to use the bathrooms.

At least you know its clean - since there is usually someone there cleaning it - which yes you will have to wait on sometimes. Which can make the line take even longer!

So as you can see, bathrooms around the world can be a bit awkward. Whether you sit or stand, don’t forget to keep some change in your pocket, you never know when you might be required to buy your tp or even to be allowed access!
But if you have an open mind and do a little research ahead of time, everything will come out all right.


Ingram Family said...

That was a great speech! I loved it. I would have given you an A+ for sure. When I did my informative speech I did it on all the different ways you can braid your hair...pretty dumb and not funny and cute like yours! Good Job!

Stacey said...

Wow I am really impressed. I am so glad you posted this after you told me about it. I think I learned something new today. I will have to ask my MIL what she has encountered. Love you friend I hope you got a good grade cuz that was a great speech!

Jolene said...

I got my score back last week and I actually got 100% on this speech - I would NOT have given myself 100 - at least on the actual "speech" part. So I'm debating if I should say anything to the instructor or just be happy with the grade !?!?!?