|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
One, Two, Poo in Your Shoe; Three, Four, Wee on the Floor 2006,07,21
Sunday Mainichi 7/30 By Ryann Connell
It may seem like a piddling problem, but increasingly large numbers of Japanese children, especially little boys, don't know how to pee properly, according to Sunday Mainichi (7/30).
It's kids way of wee-weeing that's surprising some, with one elementary school first grade teacher saying that half the 18 boys in his class dropped their trousers around their ankles and exposed the lower halves of their bodies every time they spent a penny.
"Up until a few years ago, you'd get two or three kids a class like that every year, but I'm surprised just how quickly the number of kids who urinate that way has proliferated," the teacher tells Sunday Mainichi.
"And, you know what, there are so many kids who have no idea how to use a urinal and will only go about their business on a Western-style toilet. Some kids don't like urinals because they feel exposed, but I really do get the feeling that most of these boys simply have no idea how men are supposed to dispose of their bodily wastes."
Many young school children refuse to use bathrooms by themselves.
Others don't know they're supposed to flush toilets after they use them because they're so used to having a parent, nurse or teacher do it for them.
"There are some girls who dislike using toilets because of fears about whoever may have sat on the seat before they did, which is kind of understandable. Some of the other reasons kids give for refusing to the toilet aren't, though, like those who hate the seat being cold," the teacher says.
"Our school only has Western-style toilets but, unlike a lot of homes, the seats aren't heated and because of that kids won't use them because they don't like the feel of cold hard steel on their butts."
Fastidiousness about cleanliness, to the point of obsession, is driving kids almost potty and ensuring they don't use the, well, potty.
Others with a keen sense of smell become standouts at the slightest whiff of an unpleasant odor.
Still more feel the need to use an entire toilet roll to wipe their butts after each sitting in the hope they'll remove any last vestige of poop remaining.
Kindergartens, too, are bogged down by problems caused by bogs, and these troubles are compounded in one way by toilet doors deliberately made with large gaps at the top and bottom in case something untoward happens and teachers can peer in to check on their charges.
"Some kids start crying, saying their embarrassed that somebody might see them peeing, while others are scared because of the gaps in the doors. They make all kinds of excuses not to use the toilets," one kindergarten teacher tells Sunday Mainichi.
"Of course, we realize there it's only natural there'll be some troubles involved in toilet training children as the kids adjust to being in a different environment, but these should only be temporary matters. From the point of view of a childcare worker, we're dealing with problems that should be pretty easy to solve."
But the solution comes from the home, which many childcare workers blame for being the root of the problem.
Parents, however, say they're doing everything possible to get their offspring in the right mood, but it's just not working out right when they try to bring things to a, well, head.
"When I see my (3-year-old) daughter squirming around, I know it's time for her to go, but when I suggest we head to the toilet, she stubbornly refuses, saying she doesn't need to go. If I forcibly take her into the toilet, she kicks and screams and rants and raves until I give up. By that time, she's already soiled herself," one beleaguered mother says.
"After that, she hides behind curtains or in cupboards and races around so I can't catch her."
Parents are hardly helping each other, either, with successful toilet trainers accorded an exclusive status that allows them to lord it over their still struggling peers.
"Women who've got their kids toilet trained quickly all boast about their success. That leaves me feeling like a failure because my kid still can't use the toilet properly," the mom says.
"I realize everybody's different and some kids take more time than others, but I still feel under enormous pressure."
Another mother points out a different problem caused by living in a land where parenthood is still largely left in the hands of women.
"It's really hard to show a little boy how to pee," the 34-year-old mother of a 4-year-old kindergartner tells Sunday Mainichi.
"It's not like moms know how to piss standing up. We don't know the right way for boys to get rid of their wastes. Guys don't wipe themselves after having a pee, right? It seems kinda dirty to me. I really, really hate it when I see undies with skidmarks in them."
Some experts say the little ones' laxity in the loo may be their way of sending a message to their parents that they need a little more tender, loving care.
"Some children deliberately urinate all over the place or defecate in their parents' shoes," a consultant on childcare for new moms tells Sunday Mainichi.
"By doing this, they're trying to attract their parents' attention. I think it's a sign from the kids." (By Ryann Connell)
July 21, 2006