There was some anime ruse involved, but essentially, today's blog post at 2DT is about the trench toilet. Usually this topic elicits balanced discussion, but somehow it grew extremely lopsided in this instance. The blogger himself set the tone by refusing to use the "barbaric" device, and it snowballed from there, down to anonymous commenters calling Japan "uncivilized" etc.
So I guess it is down to me to redress the balance a little by reminding everyone how horrible the American toilet is, the one with the standing water. Due to the height from which a man necessarily has to drop the natural product into it, one is virtually guaranteed to have the butt splashed with the freshly produced mix. With the Japanese trench, you are completely free to vary the height and aim with a precise offset, therefore staying clean.
Oddly enough, Russians found an elegant solution to the problem: they built a toilet that is just like the American one, but includes a ramp that allows your log to slide gently into water without splashing. So their souls may be dirty, but their butts stay clean.
The second worst feature of American toilet, although fortunately not present in every instance, is how bizarrely short the bowl is, front to back. This is mostly an issue of private residences, but if every available rental house in town is like this, you are in trouble. Move forward, and your penis is pressed against the front of the bowl (better clean it very well every day and never let your guests to use it). Move backward, and there is no way to take a dump inside. Again, not an issue in Japan.
No matter how you look at it, the Japanese toilet is easier to use and is more hygienic, and that is civilized. If 2DT's commenters have some other definition of civilization, that is only sad.