Out of all cultural obstacles that have ever existed between two peoples, this one is, for many people, the most difficult to overcome. Those from the west find the eastern way perplexing; those from the east find the western way horrific.

Yes, that's right; there exist to this day old-skool japanese style toilet purists who find the western toilet to be unsanitary and disgusting. They have a point: You are touching your bare ass (well, legs anyway) to a seat that thousands of anonymous people of indeterminate cleanliness have touched in the same way. You have no way of knowing how long it's been since this seat was last cleaned. Westerners allow themselves to become accustomed to this idea, sacrificing that peace of mind in the name of convenience, but someone who was not brought up expecting to make this trade-off tends to find the idea rather hard to accept. (Westerners faced with japanese toilets, meanwhile, have a much less psychological boundary to cross-- generally they're literally unable to figure out how to work the things without falling over, since they are unused to having to use their leg muscles and balance that way.)

In the early 70s (and this kind of thing may still continue today) there were cases of Japanese businessmen in the west who, upon being first confronted with The Western Toilet, would literally raise the seat and *stand on the rim*-- precariously balancing themselves into an awkward squat-- because they could not bring themselves to touch their bare undersides to that seat.

Unfortunately for these kinds of people-- as Tem42 notes-- they are on what appears to be the losing side of this cultural war. Pit toilets are virtually nonexistent outside Japan, but a westerner in Japan can always find a toilet that accommodates them. (Most places in japan-- for example, McDonalds-- now follow an equal-representation policy whereby each bathroom has at least one stall of each type..)