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7 of the World’s Most Picturesque Places to Poop

Barafu Camp, Tanzania. Image Credit: © Jørn Eriksson / 500px 

As any seasoned traveler knows, while everybody poops, not everybody does it in the same way. Confronted with foreign toilets, you may be baffled as to what those extra buttons mean, or by the fact that it looks like a shower stall with foot grips. But in some cases, vacationing means a toilet with an incredible view. 

The expert jet setters at Lonely Planet have combed the world for the most picturesque lavatories on the planet. The resulting book, Toilets: A Spotter’s Guide, is a collection of more than 100 glorious lavatories from Alaska to India to Antarctica. We can’t guarantee they smell nice, but they certainly make up for it in ambiance. 

Perhaps the book’s synopsis puts it best: “In these pages you’ll find porcelain pews with fantastic views, audacious attention­-seeking urban outhouses, and eco­thrones made from sticks and stones in all sorts of wild settings, from precipitous mountain peaks to dusty deserts.” 

See six more of these breathtaking commodes below: 

Thiksey Monastry, Ladakh, India. Image Credit: © Bernhard S. / 500px

Red Woods Toilets, Rotorua, New Zealand. Image Credit: © Fran(E)K S / 500px

Monument Valley, Utah, USA. Image Credit: © Jure Kravanja / 500px

Log outhouse, Chena Hot Springs Resort, Alaska, USA. Image Credit: Sunny Awazuhara- Reed / Design Pics / Getty Images ©

Eco-toilet, British Columbia, Canada. Image Credit: © Susan Breau / 500px

The toilet on Silk Caye, near Placencia, Belize. Image Credit: © Tomas Mahring / 500px

These would make a great "wish you were here" postcard set. The book is $12 here.

[h/t Co.Exist]

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Yoshikazu Tsuno, AFP/Getty Images
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Design
Better Sit Down for This: Japan Wants to Modernize Its Squat Toilets for the Tokyo Olympics
Yoshikazu Tsuno, AFP/Getty Images
Yoshikazu Tsuno, AFP/Getty Images

Culture shock abounds in every foreign country, but few experiences can be as off-putting to an international tourist as walking into a bathroom and encountering a toilet you don't entirely know how to use. Perhaps that's why, in advance of the influx of tourists headed to Japan for the 2020 Summer Olympics, the country is looking to modernize its traditional squat toilets. According to Lonely Planet, the Japanese tourist ministry is trying to encourage municipalities to update their public restrooms with the Western-style toilets that visitors might be more accustomed to.

Though Japan is known for its elaborate, high-tech toilets with built-in bidets, seat heaters, and other perks, many of its public bathrooms have more simple accommodations. According to the country's tourist bureau, out of the 4000 public toilets near Japan's major tourist hot spots, around 42 percent are of the squatting variety rather than the kind with a raised bowl and seat. Now, squat toilets aren't just holes in the ground—they're usually made of the same materials most sitting toilets are and have flushing mechanisms. Except with a squat toilet, the flat ceramic pan is placed at ground level so you can crouch over it to do your business.

To make international visitors who are particular about their toilets more comfortable as they tour Japan, the Japan Tourism Agency has started offering subsidies for local governments that want to renovate their public restrooms. These grants are also available to private businesses and councils, according to Lonely Planet. The money can be used to either add more Western-style toilets or update existing models. (We can only hope some will take the opportunity to buy the kind that plays music.)

It's a bit of a shame that the Japanese government is so invested in getting rid of the country's squat toilets, because squatting is probably better for your health, at least when it comes to hemorrhoids. But at least it will be a welcome change for people with bad knees.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

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History
A Very Brief History of Chamber Pots

Some of the oldest chamber pots found by archeologists have been discovered in ancient Greece, but portable toilets have come a long way since then. Whether referred to as "the Jordan" (possibly a reference to the river), "Oliver's Skull" (maybe a nod to Oliver Cromwell's perambulating cranium), or "the Looking Glass" (because doctors would examine urine for diagnosis), they were an essential fact of life in houses and on the road for centuries. In this video from the Wellcome Collection, Visitor Experience Assistant Rob Bidder discusses two 19th century chamber pots in the museum while offering a brief survey of the use of chamber pots in Britain (including why they were particularly useful in wartime).

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