Monday, September 12, 2005


Many Asian countries use squatting type toilets, where the user squat over a water trench and water would wash the bio-mass down into the septic tank. These types of toilets in China are called (feces trench) or 尿 (urine trench).

The character may also mean “tank”, “trough”, and “groove” depends on context.

I had a good laugh when a reader emailed in his friend’s tattoo (see above) and said his friend wanted “tank” (military type, not the toilet kind) on him because he liked military tanks and he is a big guy.

By the way, “tank” (military type) in Chinese is 坦克 or 戰車, and 戦車 in Japanese.


  1. Hahaha, quite silly....

    水槽(water tank)

    are the Japanese words that I thought of.

    I am surprised to learn that Chinese people use 糞槽/尿槽. To me, they both seem quite straightforward. In Japanese, we use 浄化槽(purification tank) instead.

  2. hey tian:
    i'm a first time visitor. love your site. reading your site proves my point why i refuse to wear anything with chinese characters on it. A chinese person with "love" on their shirt is just plain tacky.

    i showed your site to my mom and we couldn't stop laughing.

    Maybe i should just get a gibberish chinese tattoo as a joke... then again... my mom would probably cut if off with a knife.

  3. Ru,

    Thanks for the comment.

    I have received many emails asking if I decide to get a tattoo, what would it be?

    The only thing I think is suitable was an insipration from the movie Toy Story, where the plastic toys had "Made in China" on the bottom of their feet.

    I probably will have 中國制造 (Made in China) on the bottom of my foot.

  4. Ken,

    糞槽 and 尿槽 are not used often colloquially, as far as I know. Perhaps they are more common depending on the region. Generally, we refer to the modern toilet as , and the restroom as or .

  5. if the guy who got that tatt is in the military, he's gonna get clowned on for life when his friends find this site.

  6. Oh no...It's like the subbed documentary that had biologists releasing 'ikan goreng' (fried fish) into a river instead of 'anak ikan' (fish fry). ROTFLMAOZEDONG!

  7. heh. is the tattoo owner american?
    One nickname for americans here is "Seppos", short for "septic tank" (rhymes with "Yank".)

    em, random Australian

  8. Dude! Even I knew that was toilet before you told me! and it means mens toilet doesn't it?

  9. The guy had it done because his nickname is Tank. He's not American and he's not in the army or anything. He got the nickname from "He's built like a...".