I knew the West was done for when my wife emerged from a bathroom at Tokyo’s Narita Airport and described a toilet technology so advanced as to make me ready to bow down to our Asian masters the moment they decide it’s worth their while to conquer us.
As referenced in episode #14, I give you the future:
This is a close-up shot of the toilet’s control panel. You read that correctly: a toilet with its own control panel!
Upon closer inspection you will notice that the user can control both a built-in bidet, as well as a “spray.” I’m not sure what the difference between the two is, but suffice it to say that after using either, one will not walk away with dirty bits, especially as there is another button that allows one to select one of five increasingly pressurized streams of water.
Yet another button allows the user to turn on a “flushing sound” that will mask any embarrassing bathroom noises or provide peace-of-mind to those who suffer from bladder shyness. Preventing further embarrassment is a button marked “powerful deodorizer,” which, when pressed, causes a pungent fragrance to be emitted into the air.
Of course, when it comes to toilets in Japan, one won’t always find the future. Sometimes one finds the traditional. To wit, a “Japanese style” squat toilet:
I wasn’t adventurous enough to try one, though it is said there are many benefit to using squat toilets. And apparently I’m not the only Westerner who is wary of these contraptions. Indeed, many bathrooms, like this public one near my hotel in the Ginza neighborhood of Tokyo, aimed to entice Westerners inside with the promise of a little touch of home:
It really is the little things in life that make one happy.
— Dandy Will