Why do some bathrooms in Korea (western-style ones) say that you should put used toilet paper in a trash can next to the toilet instead of the toilet itself? I would think that a trash can just sitting around full of fecal used toilet paper would be a big health hazard. The flush on the toilets seem to be perfectly strong and don't jam up, yet many bathrooms still have big notices telling people to put their waste paper in a trash can instead.
If It's Brown, Flush It Down
Dear Bathroom User,
You just never know if the toilet would jam up with excess amount of toilet paper. Some people definitely go completely overboard with the amount of paper required for the act. In fact, this is not unique to Korea either -- the exact same problem happens in America, especially in skyscrapers with complicated plumbing systems. The solution for the New York skyscrapers apparently is to use single-ply toilet papers (possibly because of the health hazard that you mentioned.) So we have this hilarious consequence of all these Wall Street bigwig banks and law firms using single-ply toilet paper.
Speaking of Korean public bathrooms, until the late 1990s very few Korean public bathrooms (ones in subways, etc; bathrooms in restaurants and shopping centers are not included here) had toilet paper, because people would routinely steal them. People generally carried their own Kleenex for emergency use, but almost all Koreans (especially men, who don't carry a purse) experienced a situation in which he was forced to contemplate the next step after he has relieved himself. So a very popular series of jokes in Korea involves a situation in which someone runs out of toilet paper in a public restroom. The Korean's favorite one is the following:
Two guys were sitting in the public bathroom stalls, when the first guy talks to the second guy:
A: Er, excuse me. Do you have any toilet paper?
B: I'm sorry, I do, but just enough for myself.
A: Oh come on, can you please help me out?
B: No way man, I'm sorry.
A: Look, I'll pay you $10 for that toilet paper.
B: I'm sorry, I really need this.
$10 bill is slipped into B's stall from A's stall.
A: Alright then, do you have ten $1 bills?
Do you have any good no-toilet paper jokes? Send them over this way, and the Korean will post them.
Got a question or comment for the Korean? Email away at firstname.lastname@example.org