Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Toilet!

Introducing the greatest achievement in technological history (or just a freak over-complication of something inherently simplistic, depending on your point of view)--the modern Japanese toilet (not to be confused with the old-school Japanese toilet, which is a totally different story, sure to be told later on). From far off, it appears like any ordinary old--oh, who am I kidding--the thing is a monstrosity! It's a freak of modern science, born from the crazed mind of a crap-driven mad man. Alright, enough intro, let's get to the meat and potatoes of this thing. Here is the toilet in its entirety:

It's probably too small to see in this picture, but I assure you that it says "Toto" somewhere on this toilet--and any other toilet in this country, for that matter. As far as I can tell, Toto has a monopoly on toilets and toilet supplies. I've seen infinite variations of toilets, but all, the old and the new, have the Toto brand name on them. Also, almost all new toilets here are made of plastic, not porcelain. No more praying to the porcelain god! You'll also notice that the water is blue, as though someone had just put toilet bowl cleaner into it. Well, in a way, they did, thanks to the handy dandy tank refill system, pictured here:

You see, in American style toilets, when you flush, the water is released, and a pipeline fills up the tank with fresh water, so it's ready to flush again. The same is true here, only the pipeline that fills up the tank opens above the tank, into a faucet, where fresh tank water runs through a hole into the tank. This allows the water to flow through a pretty porcelain ball, which contains a gel of toilet bowl cleaner. The water runs through it, and turns blue and clean before filling the tank again. It's pretty clever, really. Okay, you probably also noticed that this particular toilet is also equipped with an arm rest. Good eye. Let's take a closer look:

Ooohh, gadgets! That's right. I bet you wish your toilet had adjustments. It took us weeks to figure all this crap out. The orange button on the left is the stop button. This is very important, because you never know what kind of trouble you might get into on this thing, and this is your failsafe. Okay, it should be fairly obvious what the blue button does. Yes, that is a picture of water spraying some nether regions, and that's exactly what that button does. I'll now point you toward the dial on the far right. This is a power adjustment knob. It controls the volume and velocity of water flowage. Trust me, you don't want to accidentally turn that up to full blast if you're going to use the blue button. It's not--comfortable. As for the red button, well, the Japanese think of everything. Once your butt is sprayed clean, you need some way to dry it, right? The red button is a heated air blower to help dry your bum. The power knob also affects the amount of air you get. The yellow button with the wavy lines is to turn on the heated seat--I think. There is also a little plastic door you can open that hides three more adjustment knobs, but I haven't really bothered looking into those. I still haven't decided whether the Japanese motives for the heated toilet are so that you don't sit on a cold seat (they're plastic, remember) or that they just don't want to know whether somebody else was just sitting there or not. In more fancy/business buildings, the heated seat mode is permanently on. I actually can't stand the heated seat when it's hot and humid outside. As if your butt doesn't get sweaty enough, right? Anyway, for the first two weeks we lived here, we couldn't figure out how to shut off the heated seat, so we just unplugged the toilet when we didn't want to use it. That's right, this toilet has a plug. So that's the modern Japanese toilet, in all its glory. And now I know what Captain Picard must feel like, when he takes a crap on the starship Enterprise.


Unknown said...

That is the fanciest toilet I've ever seen. Seriously. If they found a way to have that toilet make sandwiches too, I would so move to Japan. So, keep me updated on the sandwich-making-toilet advancements.

Unknown said...

I'm not sure I would feel comfortable eating a toilet sandwich.