[caption id="attachment_112" align="aligncenter" width="369" caption="no bathtub, no shower stall"][/caption]
There are "western" bathrooms in Korea in the more upscale apartments, probably more common in Seoul, and bigger cities with more westerners. For the most part, though, there are bathrooms like ours (though ours is pretty big comparitively).
The main difference between the two is the lack of bathtub or shower stall. In the picture below, you can see the little cradle thing that we're able to hook the shower head into on the wall. However, our shower head (as well as all those we've seen so far), tends to shoot straight out at the mirror, instead of down... So, we just keep it off the wall. The whole bathroom is usually tiled, as it's assumed it will get wet, and there's a drain in the middle of the floor (ours is hidden by our pallets).
Our bathroom is big enough that we were able to put a shower curtain up to cordon off the toilet and medicine cabinet. That's also really nice because then we can hang our towels behind the curtain, too, instead of outside the bathroom, and they stay dry. Plus, our shower curtain reads, "heart full time when i see you it calms my heart you are my most precious treasure," just like that. And then, "have a nice time". We got the shower curtain, because in the picture at the store, the shower curtain said, "have a nice tim," and we thought it was funny. But I guess they got a spell check between printing the label and the last batch of curtains. Either way, I think it's funny.
[caption id="attachment_113" align="alignright" width="225" caption="I should have hung the shower head for the picture, but I wasn't thinking. Can you sort of see it?"][/caption]
On the floor, we have those pallet-looking things to keep people from having to step on the floor. Since you take your shoes off when you come into a Korean home (it's just a good idea after seeing the streets -- and what's done in the streets), you wear slippers around the house -- clean slippers. And you don't want to get them gross. So, you can have pallets, like we do, or shower shoes like those pink ones (so cute!). Most shower shoes are made with holes in their soles so they don't fill with water. Mine cost 2,000 won, which is less than $2.00. Rock on. But since we got pallets, they're my veranda shoes. I just put them in the picture because they're so cute.
The pallets are also nice if you have a slightly slow drain (like ours is sometimes) and water pools around it -- gross! The pallets lift you up off the ground so you're not in the grossness.
Because the whole bathroom is the shower, they've had to be creative about how they store things in the bathroom. The medicine cabinet is plastic, so it's immune. There's generally no wood in bathrooms (apart from pallets which can be picked up, cleaned, and eventually easily replaced) for the obvious reason that wood holds mold, bacteria, etc.. You can't really tell, but our toilet paper holder is plastic, too, and has a flap that moves up and down to keep the water off.
Another thing I think is cool, is that they have all these hooks and things for the bathroom, like our towel hook, that are all stuck to the wall with suction cups. Some come with hard, plastic, industrial strength stickers that you put on the wall where you want to suction the hook, and then you press the cup to the sticker and then twist a little knob which sucks the cup out a little and creates a seriously strong suction. It's kind of hard to explain, it took me a little while to even figure out what I was supposed to do. But, once one the hooks is on the wall, it's really on there until you unscrew it.
Also, there's no bathtub ledge or built in little shelves anywhere, so you get these little shelves that suction to the wall, too. We have one, but it's not in the pictures.
We don't have a bathroom fan because our apartment is older, so we keep the tiny window open to help dry things out and vent steam. Hopefully that will still work in cold weather.
And I think the only other thing is that there's a threshold about 4-5 inches high at the door to keep the water in. Probably in case your drain is blocked, or if you have a sick one like we do.
That, my friends, is a Korean bathroom. And, let me tell you, it may seem annoying, but once you get used to it, it's kind of awesome. There's so little bathroom cleaning to do (not that it would make any difference in our creepy bathroom!), you just spray things down with the shower head and it all drains.
Soon, I will run out of rooms in the house and then you will be free of my explaining posts. Regarding the house anyway.