Saturday, June 15, 2013

Japan's toilet technology bows to no nation

Japan is obsessed with cleanliness. They hand out wet ones before every meal (no matter how modest). Their subways are so clean they have legit restaurants in them. And they care a lot about their restrooms. Here is a gallery of typical toilets that we encountered:

 (Above) This is a pretty typical Japanese toilet. You can see a zoom in on the control panel below.

As you can see, it's much more than just a bidet - which has excellent usability via the picture of a rear end with water shooting up at it. It also plays music to cover the embarrassing sound of a natural body function shared by all humans. There's also a seat warmer.

 Here's another control panel that offers not one but TWO ways to rinse yourself.

 This is a rare low-tech version, but it at least still was motion sensored.

 Another rare low-tech version but notice the foot-operated flusher. It'd be a shame to touch anything with your hand, after all.

Here's what appears to be another standard-ish model, except that the control panel is on the wall. I believe there was a few options - noisemaker, flusher and maybe bidet controls.

 This was a highlight. We went to Tokyo's Akihabara district, famous for video game parlors and six story buildings dedicated to anime and manga. We went to one of the many Sega stores and finally found this: a video game built into a urinal! The game I played was basically just to see how long you could... um... relieve yourself for. The animated cherub below...
 ...would encourage / taunt you. When you were done it would tell you how many millileters you were able to... umm... release? It was free - you just went.

So after all of this impressive porcelain, you could image my surprise when I found this: a literal hole in the ground. Dianna said they were called "Eastern toilets" and that she had found them before in Italy. You squat over it and hold on to the railing (if provided) and just go. There's a high pressure water jet that shoots horizontally after you're done to clean it out. It was pretty brutal. We saw Japanese people enter these stalls, take one look and then turn around and find another. This one was in a metro station.
 It wasn't until our final night in Narita that we found this: an actual, 100% electronic-free toilet. Ironically, this is the guest toilet in our suite that we somehow lucked into. The other toilet was a typical "Bidet Deluxe."

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