Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I’ve mentioned before how very seriously Japanese take their bathroom activities. From the ubiquitous Toto Washlet found in so many homes with heated seat, bidet, and blow dry, to toilets in even the most run-down mall that serenade you with chirping birds while you do your business (or, rather, serenade the people sharing the bathroom with you), to Starbucks loos that are more luxurious than my Japanese apartment ever was, Japan has the market cornered on toilet tech.

If you are as fascinated with this as I am, check out the future wave of toire in today’s Japan Times.

A Toto darling is the advanced Apricot F5A featuring a fragrance dispenser, a light sensor so you know where to aim (an innovation for male users fumbling in dark bathrooms), a spotlight for reading (if you plan on a lengthy visit), and naturally, an embedded MP3 player.

A frikken mp3 player, yo. That cannot be good for you.

But watch out Toto!

Toto isn't the only Japanese firm hawking fancy toilets. Manufacturers like Matsushita and Inax have joined the battle to provide the most beneficial, hygienic, and luxurious lavatories. Some toilets take your blood pressure or conduct urine tests, then send the information to your family doctor. Other repositories blast cool air in summer and heat in winter. And still other highly superior sandboxes allow you to set the pressure of jet sprays designed to massage the rear.

I always thought the sexy toilets were only limited to “Western” style. Nope – this last trip I hunkered down in a train station WC over the traditional personal trough in the floor and lo and behold – soft music came out of nowhere to mask my tinkle. I looked around frantically to figure out how I triggered it, and my eyes finally settled on a metal plate anchored to the bottom of the trough. Stop tinkle, stop music. Genius! Well, except for what happens if it’s not a tinkle. And oh my, those poor repairmen.

Anyway, for future reading, Wikipedia has the BEST article on Japanese toilets around. Learn about toilet slippers and Otohime, and why no one seemed to care when some dude peed into the bushes next to where my hubby was sitting, in broad daylight in a crowded shopping area.

EDIT: OMG! You must see the Toto Washlet US website from the beginning. "Washlet is the bathroom feature with one fixation -- your happiness." Awesome.

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Blogger Mark said...

Always liked how the public toilets in Amsterdam have a little picture of a fly etched into them to give you something to aim at, and therefore cut down on sloppy misses/cleaning. Those guys sure know human nature.

August 21, 2007 at 2:56:00 PM PDT  
Blogger saudade said...

Ha! That's the way to do it.

I wish I had the option of aiming. If I had one of those things for a day, it would be chaos!

Nah, who am I kidding -- I prolly wouldn't leave the house.

August 21, 2007 at 7:46:00 PM PDT  

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