by Cort Willoughby

Toilet paper - Wikipedia

This episode finds me in Japan heading to Korea with my Great Shipmate Willy.

We were being sent there by the CAPT to get, of all things, Cruise Jackets for the sons of crew members.

We were in the train station near Sasebo. Sitting in a restaurant on the second floor of the station looking down, I spied a public toilet which reminded ne that I really needed to go.

The need for the facilities became stronger as I went down the stairs. the first mistake I made was to rush into the ladies toilet and scare the shit out of the women in there. I quickly backed out of there throwing “Gomenasai’s” left and right.

I rapidly corrected myself, the pressure in my bowels becoming stronger, and ran, like a sprinter going for the gold, into into the men’s room. As I was preparing to drop trou, I noticed that there was no toilet paper.

There is a box mounted on the bulkhead by the doors to the toilets. I could see it cost 80 Yen to get paper from the dispenser. I didn’t have 80 fucking Yen. I was on the verge of shitting myself because I was short a damned copper looking 10 Yen coin.

Willy is looking down at me from the restaurant. I mimic holding coins up and he gives me a positive head shake . By this time I’m drawing a crowd . I’m getting desperate and run topside to get change from him.

I run back down and do a fucking tap dance trying to not shit myself. The crowd has grown to about 50 and the big smiles only increased my anxiety that I might not smell so good if I didn’t take care of business. Fumbling, I insert the coins and twist the knob and out slides a pack of tampons .

Giggling and outright laughter are coming from the Locals. They are really into it by now. I’m panic stricken . Look topside and Willy is holding up the napkin dispenser.


I scorched the stairs to grab the stack of napkins and barely made it in time . The JAPANESE gave me a standing ovation with big smiles and hand clapping. It seems I was the star of the show!

This is just one of the many awkward incidents in the life of a Westpac sailor and one of the many times a SHIPMATE has been there for me.