City skyscape photo that I took from Odaiba

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Japan has awesome toilets.

The one in my apartment (the first picture) has a heated toilet seat, big flush/little flush option depending which way you turn the handle, and a faucet on top where the water that comes out to refill the tank when you flush doubles as the water for you to wash your hands.

Many toilets have various bidets and extra features, including the one we have work. Squat toilets are also common.

Additionally, public restrooms sometimes have motion sensors that make flushing sounds while you are in the stall in order to cover up "toilet noises." Apparently, too much water was getting wasted by people flushing the toilets only for their audio effects. And many stalls also have "emergency buttons;" I haven't completely figured that one out.

I think the toilets here can be a great analogy for Japanese society. You find a mix of traditional (squat toilets) amidst the Western styles. But then the western styles take on a uniquely Japanese form. Cool gadgets are added to improve the design and overall customer satisfaction. Some aspects of the design seem very environmentally-conscious (like low-flush options, using the water for washing your hands before it fills the tank), while some of the more flashy features seem like unnecessarily energy-wasting additions (like motion sensors to automatically lift the lid or continuous loud flushing audio while you are in the stall) -- but even so, they're still cool features to oo and ah over. :)

One of the first things I noticed (audibly even) when I went home for New Year's was how cold the toilet seats were.


Rose said...

This is such a good idea. Why don't we have that in North America??

Anonymous said...

You can buy them in America. My mom even has one -in Texas.