After arriving in Japan for our preview trip, I had to make a pit stop in the airport bathroom, and oh was I surprised to see this:
It looks like someone got confused and stuck a urinal in the ground, right?! This is a traditional Japanese squat toilet. The bar at the front helps beginners (and foreigners) maintain their balance. According to Wikipedia, it is known as a "grunt bar."
I had a flashback to a conversation I'd had with M & D after M's first trip to Japan. D said that she'd heard that there were holes in the ground in the bathroom, and M said that there certainly weren't.
I stomped out of the airport bathroom and over to a surprised and very caught off-guard M, and exclaimed, "They do so have holes in the ground," while wondering what I'd gotten myself into.
That was four months ago, so I've seen a lot more of them since then, but they won't go down as my favorite thing about Japan. Did I mention that some public bathrooms don't have toilet paper, so it's common practice to carry your own pack of tissues...?