There are a number of little niceties and services that make Japan a very comfortable place to live. Personally, my favorite has always been the folded toilet paper ends that can often be found in public restroom stalls everywhere. I don’t encounter them especially often, but when I do it brightens my day just like having a robin land on my window sill.
However, you can’t experience such joy without leaving yourself vulnerable to extreme disappointment as well. A prank has recently emerged in Japan which, although seemingly mundane and simple, completely shatters this sense of pleasure and leaves the victim a desolate shell of a person, just like having a robin land on your window sill and start projectile vomiting.
Aside from being totally unnecessary gesture of politeness to the user, folding the end into a triangle sends a message loud and clear that “this toilet has just been cleaned and you, sir or ma’am, are the first to use it since!”
And so as you sit relaxed on your freshly scrubbed porcelain throne you reach for a piece of fresh and sterile toilet paper to prepare for your exit when…
“I tasted defeat in the toilet… please stop this kind of simple prank.”
セルメル (@G_OO) October 14, 2014
Some of you might be expecting something else like the piece of paper to be smeared with some icky substance or having a scary message like “I’m behind you.” written on it, but actually this is it. In a way, doing one of those aforementioned things would at least give the victim a sense of closure.
Instead they are left not only with their illusion of a clean bowl shattered but also a secondary fear that the other shoe may drop at any moment. Pretty much everything about their life at that precise moment sucks.
Some net users called the prank the “Fire Hold Trap.” According to legend, back in the late 1800s, American firefighters used to fold the ends of toilet paper into a triangle so that it would be easy to grab if they were suddenly called upon for an emergency. In the mid-1900s the technique was picked up by Japanese hotels under the name “fire hold,” a name and tradition which still stands to this day.
As disappointing as it may be, the bright side is that if you live in an area with clean enough public toilets that the Fire Hold Trap may be successfully executed in the first place, things are going pretty well for you overall.
Source: Twitter via Hamusoku (Japanese)