Saturday, April 17, 2010

Will Miss #156 - bodily function free talk

In one of my earliest experiences in Japan, a student told me that she was not feeling well because she had had "loose bowls" (meaning "bowels", or diarrhea). I was surprised to hear her tell someone who was, but mere moments ago, a total stranger, that she was spending a lot of time in the toilet. It turns out that Japanese people are not squeamish about such things. I'm freely told about menstrual cycles and cramps as well as bathroom-related issues on a regular basis, and sometimes on a first meeting.

While I don't necessarily hunger to hear this type of information, I find the frank and matter of fact way in which these things are dealt with very mature, and I'll miss it.

(Note that this free discussion of bodily functions is curiously juxtapositioned with the squeamishness about being overheard in the toilet.)