October 30, 2008
Somebody please, please explain this to us! We’ve noticed that all of the toilets in our schools and other public places have wastebaskets beside them. For some reason, these wastebaskets often have used toilet paper in them. We asked people about it, and this is the best explanation we’ve been given so far: the Korean sewage system is different than the sewage system we’re used to in North America. It can’t handle toilet paper, for some reason. And so, to prevent the toilets from deeply clogging, it’s best to leave our poopy papers in the wastebasket. This is the main reason why so much Korean toilet paper is scented, to mask the scent that can’t be flushed away. Is this really it? This was the explanation that was offered to us from a Korean coworker, but it doesn’t really make sense to us. The toilet can handle big logs of poop, but not the paper itself? Surely there must be another reason. Anyone? Someone?
Anyhow, since we’re in the business of being informative on all things Korean, this also has to be said about Korean Toilets: good luck finding toilet paper beside them. Every toilet in my (Simon’s) school is paperless, and the same could be said about just about every other public toilet we’ve visited in Bucheon. It’s quite annoying. I had to bring in my own roll. I left it in the mens washroom. It was stolen after a couple of days. I brought in another roll and it was stolen again. This could be the main reason why you’ll never find toilet paper laying around: there are very efficient toilet paper thieves who make regular rounds. Your best bet – and supposedly common practice here in Korea – is to have pocket packets of toilet paper, sold in all convenience and grocery stores near you.