Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Our toilet

Control panel on our toilet

Cute penguin on water faucet attached to our toilet

Okay, so here's a topic I haven't really given much attention to in my blog, and I really should have, but it's such a HUGE topic that I don't even really know where to begin---Japanese toilets.

Before I came to visit Zach the first time, I stressed out really bad because I had heard that the public toilets in Japan consist basically of a hole in the floor. I have since learned that not ALL public restrooms are outfitted with the squat-at-your-own-risk variety. Most have standard Western-style toilets too. I have had to use the squat toilet, and while it's not my idea of a fun time, I am proud to say that I can use one without peeing all over myself.

Anyhoo, enough about my skills. Back to toilets. As with so many things in Japan, they add improvements and features to everyday objects that would blow your mind, and the Western-style toilet is no exception. Our toilets in our house here are the Cadillacs of toilets. I am not kidding. Zach is already talking about buying one at a home store and taking it back to the States with us!

So what can these toilets do? Well, my favorite feature is the heated seat. There are also bidet options for both men and women, air ventilation, and all kinds of other features that I don't know because the control panels are in Japanese and I haven't translated them yet! Check out my photos if you don't believe me. At the top of the tank is a water faucet. When you flush, clean water comes out of the faucet and refills the tank through a small hole at the top of the tank. I think this is so clever, because you can conserve water by washing your hands with the water that is used to refill the tank. Our faucet happens to have the cutest little penguin attached to it, as you can see in the photo. Carlina gave it to us. The water flows through it and spins a little lever, and it makes the penguin flap his wings. So cute! And no, Carol, I'm not getting rid of it.

Wikipedia has a huge entry on Japanese toilets if you want to learn more and see a picture of a squat toilet---

Many public restrooms have really crazy features that we don't have at home, like a button that you can push that makes the sound of flushing. And an anti-bacterial soap dispenser that you can use to wipe down the toilet seat.

Well, I think this is enough toilet talk for one day. Bidet to you! Ha! Ha!


Anonymous said...

Okay, so why would you want a button that you push that makes the sound of flushing? Does it only make the sound and not flush? I am confused. If a toilet flushes in the forest, does anyone hear? If the toilet flush is silent, do you need a button to make the sound for it to be a real flush?

The butt image cracks me up on your toilet control. And the whole thing looks a little bit sci fi, like when the aliens suck you up to their ship and loom over you with sharp objects and cut away pieces of your body all in the name of science and you can never quite remember what happened and you have a vague fear of dentist chairs forever after. Be careful.

No comment on the penguin. Bidet to you, too.

Anonymous said...

Love the cute penguin!

Anonymous said...

Woah, you got a fancy toilet! I knew they had them in Japan but I didn't realize they were in normal family homes. Once in an airport I encountered a toilet that wrapped the seat in new plastic between users. I think it was in Chicago. Carol, I believe the flush sound is to give the toilet user privacy in case anyone is listening at the door. Seems like they might as well branch out and give the option to hide behind more interesting or festive sounds. Thunderstorm? Theme to the Banana Splits?

Anonymous said...

Ellen Ellen Ellen, what is happening to you in Japan? The Ellen I worked with would NEVER have blogged about bathroom shenanigans/humor! ; )

How interesting, I'm really into Karen's idea of the Banana Split theme though (for flushing sound options).

I too have experienced bathroom awe in Morocco, however it was not like I wanted to bring one home to the states, it was more like "people use toilets like THIS everyday?""!!
Morocco's version is also a hole in the floor, but you get an outline of a foot on each side in case you weren't sure where to put your feet. Crazy world.

Tami Aderrab

Anonymous said...

Interesting, Karen, I never ever would have thought of the sound being used to mask the sound of what you're doing in there. Hmmm. That ought to confuse those blasted door-listeners! Banana Splits is a good one. One banana, two banana, three banana, four...

I've seen the plastic toilet seat wrappers before, too. Not sure where, but I know I was surprised when that happened.

I encountered Tami's toilet version in Rome. That was when I had a full backpack on my back, had been up all night on the train, and didn't realize that the flush would come from behind and flood my shoes. Again, I say, be careful.

Anonymous said...

I'm partial to the theme from Scooby Doo.


Anonymous said...

I've been enjoying your adventures in this blog site that Laurel had forwarded to me. Wow has your life changed since I last saw you! The question I have today is--why of all your entries so far has the one about toilets created the most comments? Hmmm.
Julie K.

Jennifer Blackburn said...

Ha ha, I love how the Wikipedia article notes that the faucet feature on top is "not a drinking fountain"! Brilliant! And apparently it is possible to get a toilet that greets you... I don't know about you guys, but I really have no desire to have a conversation with my toilet. Although I would definitely buy one that would wash my dishes.

Anonymous said...

Yikes, Jen. If the toilet faucet feature is "not a drinking fountain", I don't think I'd want it to wash my dishes either, no matter how much I hate doing dishes. I get an interesting image in my head of you conversing with your toilet, though. Or maybe if Ellen learns enough Japanese, she can talk to her toilet. ---Carol