Apr 12, 2019

Using your phone on the toilet

I've been in Japan for some years now so the international protocol regarding talking on the phone while on the loo (in a public toilet) is not so familiar to me. However, here in Japan I find that men do it quite a bit and it always surprises me. OK, so the dexterity is impressive (especially in the case of No. 1s) given the potential for an embarrassing mess, but when I see it, I always wonder if the person on the other end is aware of what's going on, and how they would feel about it. Especially if they are a member of the opposite sex. I'm yet to do it myself (I'm rarely keen to speak to anyone on the phone, let alone while I'm doing my ablutions) but I'm wondering if it's the norm over here, or, indeed, anywhere else in the world. Thoughts?



Traveler, surfer, and scribe. Based in Tokyo for six years.

5 Answers

  • genkidesu

    on Apr 12

    OMG! I'm laughing! I wouldn't think it's a normal thing, but I'd be horrified if I answered a phone call and could clearly tell someone was using the facilities on the other end! Gross! Maybe shows the clean-freak in me but now you've got me thinking about all the germs that are going to be over people's phones...bleh! So I can only comment from a female perspective but no! Not normal and not courteous!

  • Tomuu

    on Apr 12

    @genkidesu - As I suspected. I'm pretty sure it's not the norm back home either.

  • Jackson

    on Apr 19

    I have yet to encounter them often enough in Japan to consider it common, but holding and checking their phone and do the rest of their business with one hand is quite common. Talking in the washroom as both parties face the wall is definitely a thing here though! All the nodding of konnichiwa while going was for sure new to me. Side-note, I am very surprised by the amount of Japan men NOT washing their hands after!!!!!!!!!

  • helloalissa

    on Apr 23

    In the US I was always irritated when women used their phones in the stalls, which is possibly why they often play loud music in restrooms now. Considering Japanese women hate if anyone can hear them pee, I doubt this is a thing for women in Japan, never noticed it. I suspect it's related to phone addiction in general - if people can't stay off them while driving I'm not surprised they use phones in the toilets. The thing I'm most surprised about is that they're using their phones for talking at all.

  • Tomuu

    on May 23

    @Jackson Another side note - I'm quite surprised by the number of dudes I see over here who wash their hands before doing their business, rather than after.


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