Having never been to Japan nor China, I'm writing this as a completely anecdotal story told to me by a middle-aged Japanese masseuse whom I have been seeing recently. She and I were discussing the differences in Japanese and Chinese culture, a topic which came up based upon some movies I had seen recently. One I had seen for the first time, even though it was first produced in 1953, was Tokyo Story. This is a black and white movie directed by Yasujirō Ozu, and I found it to be one of the most moving things I had seen in years. She suggested that I should watch Departures, a 2008 Japanese drama by Yōjirō Takita. Again, I found this film to be one of the most moving things I'd seen in years. It centers on the bond of marital relations as opposed to "Tokyo Story" which is more about relationships in a fairly large family.

Then she shared with me an experience her father had had which I found very interesting. She began the story by telling me that she still felt uncomfortable in American public toilets because there was a space near the floor where you could see the feet of the person next to you and it was very easy to hear them doing their business. She said, in contradiction to some of the previous writeups, that Japanese toilets were very much private affairs.

So she said her father was in an executive position with some company in Japan which did a lot of business in China. At one point he and some other executives from Japan were invited to a weekend in China for some sort of seminar. When he arrived in China, he felt the need to visit the restroom. When he looked at the setup, which was just a row of holes at floor level, he decided that this was going to be impossible for him and he would just wait until a time when he could be alone in there. After everyone got settled in for the evening, he lay uncomfortably in bed until around midnight. Thinking everyone else would be asleep, he went back to the so-called bathroom. Much to his dismay, almost every one of the Japanese businessmen had exactly the same idea. So they all just decided to bite the bullet and adapt to the situation at the same time. A shit-in, so to speak.