We had a culture bump with American people.  We went to the restroom and noticed that there is a lot of space under the bathroom stall.  There were some Americans who opened the door, entered the stall and locked the door.  We were shocked, embarrassed and confused about what was happening.

In Japan, restrooms are covered up on all sides and guarantee complete privacy.  The open space was unusual.  It’s not usual in our daily lives, so we were very surprised.  Furthermore, to absorb the sounds of their business, Japanese have  “Oto-hime” – a machine to absorb the sounds of business while we go the restroom.

American people wondered why Japanese people don’t care about bath privacy, but are very particular about privacy in the restroom.  When we asked about the difference between American restrooms and Japanese restrooms, we learned that American people ensure privacy by closing the door and making sure not to contact with others.   Likewise, in Japanese public baths, people ensure privacy by hiding their bodies with a towel.

As we discussed this culture bump, we found that the universal situation was understanding the different ways that we humans guard private space.  We believe it is very important for us to accept one another’s cultures – even in such a little thing.

Be sure and check out our videotape on the HOME page entitled  Bathroom Bump!

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