I happened to see this instructional video that may interest some of you, especially if you plan to visit. Or it may answer a few of your questions - including yours Gretchen from a few months back. I couldn't get it to upload so you'll just have to follow the link. Sorry. As far as the Western vs Japanese toilets go, you usually have your choice, unless you are at the park, but at least there is a toilet there. When we were visiting the Buddha in Kamakura there was a man in the ladies room sending people into stalls as they became available. But when he saw me and my mother-in-law he made us wait until there was a Western style toilet available. He wouldn't let us use the Japanese toilets. Now there are a few things wrong with that scenario. First of all, what is a man doing in a ladies public restroom? And was he being kind and respectful or discriminating and assuming we couldn't squat? I'll never know. Finally this past weekend, I had another new toilet experience. Pardon the graphic explanation, but there really is no other way...as I began to 'relieve' myself, I heard this waterfall sound. I turned around and there on the wall was a motion sensored noise maker. When I finished, it stopped making noise! Is that for my comfort or to mask the sound for my neighbors next door? Maybe both.