It’s not like I pretend to know everything about Japan or Japanese culture or Japanese people. But, on the whole, living in Japan isn’t so different from anywhere else.

And then again, sometimes it is.

Every culture has weird hang ups, usually stuff that they think is TOTALLY NORMAL to be all hung up about even when everybody else is left baffled and scratching their heads. Case in point, I have no idea what my own hang ups might be.

Japanese women, on the other hand, have this crazy thing about other people hearing them pee. Which is not to say that I want other people to hear me pee, but let’s face it: if I’m in the restroom, there is a very limited list of things I am scheduled to be doing.

Japanese ladies don’t seem to see it this way. Instead, they will flush the toilet repeatedly from the moment they enter the stall to the moment they leave, just to make sure that nobody can hear them pee. Clearly it is not a gender issue, because the only other people who might be in there are also ladies. I have no idea if they maintain the same privacy standards with their families at home, but it’s true in public toilets and at school.

And I find it completely random and obsessive and wasteful of water.

Some places even have a button that imitates the flushing sound, so ladies can keep their business private without actually using five times the amount of water. I wish more places would put that in, actually.