Bathrooms in Japan are kind of interesting, and might surprise the unsuspecting westerner.
For example, there are two types of toilets, the western-style throne, and the traditional hole in the floor. To be honest, I haven’t tried the traditional model yet, but I’ve tried similar designs in France, so I don’t feel like I’m missing anything.
As in Europe, toilets here have two flushing modes marked in kanji “big” and “small”. When will we figure this out? I come on, we have droughts all the time, and when you need to do a little flush, you waste all of your two gallon tank. Seriously, why are we living in the toilet stone-age?
Meanwhile, the Japanese are living with George Jetson in the toilet future. Most throne toilets have a series of buttons to control everything from seat temperature to boudete (sorry, my english spelling is bad, but my French is worse) features like amount of water, water temperature, water pressure, and area to squirt. I was kind of afraid to press the buttons for fear of buring myself, or spraying all over the room. However, with the Japan segment drawing to a close, I got adventurious.
I’m not sure how it works, but the device is smart enough to figure out where to aim, and is quite accurate. I don’t know if it’s for me, it was like being shot with a squirt gun.
Once you’ve done your business, and you’re going to wash your hands. If you’re looking for soap, there’s better than a fifty-fifty chance that there isn’t any. Water is clean enough right?
And once your hands are wet, you’ll want to dry them, well, I guess the Japanese wander around with wet hands all the time, because there are almost never any towels (paper or otherwise). Sometimes you’ll luck out and find a hand dryer.
Forget the crappy hand drying technology we use at home. Those things never work and take several button presses to get your hands even close to dry. Japan, however, has the jet dry version. This thing rocks, you don’t have to touch anything (and risk getting your hands dirty again), you merely insert them into what looks like a small trash can hanging on the wall. In the next instant, highly compressed air rushes out and blows the water right off of your hands. It takes about the same amount of time as using a paper towel, except that no paper is wasted. If I ever get a bathroom I need to remodel, I’m getting one of these babies installed.
Look forward to next time when I talk about baths and showers.
Here are some pictures. First the hand dryer, and second a store display for the various seat models. I hope you can make out the prices to get an idea about serious the are about their seats.