The traditional toilets that are still common throughout
Japan are a narrow bowl in the ground (not shown above) that you
can straddle and crouch over when doing your thing. This style
is also common throughout Asia, it makes sense since the Japanese
didn't usually use chairs a lot in homes traditionally either.
It can be strange and awkward to westerns trying to keep their
balance, maintain the squat position, and keep things on target,
but here is a little animation
to go over the basics.
Beyond the basic concept, these toilets have some
creative features. The flusher has two directions to allow for
a small flush or a big flush to help conserve water. Amazing how
this simple concept hasn't been figured out in the west. Another
interesting thing is that the new water that flows into the bowl
for the next flush does so through a small faucet, allowing people
to wash their hands with this clean water that will later be reused
on the next flush. Similarly some decorations with fragrances
can be placed in this area to keep the bathroom smelling fresh.