On a recent trip to Japan, I had multiple opportunities to use their bathrooms.
Now, I think we’ve all heard the stereotype about the Asian squat toilet. However, not all of them are like that. Some of them were Western-style sit-down toilets. No matter what variety I found, there was a single common element.
Many of them were laden with many nice tech features.
This makes a lot of sense in a cultural context. The Japanese are obsessively particular about cleanliness, to the point where the toilet and sink are separate rooms from the bathtub. The tub, in turn, is in the same room but distinct from the shower.
The cultural hang-ups about cleanliness rather explain so much about the features of their toilets and bathrooms. Sadly, looking into it, it’s harder to get my hands on them for my master bathroom than I thought.
One of my favourite features is a series of buttons to the side. One of them controls a bidet built into the bowl, with two buttons close by that controls the spray angle and intensity.
Not too far from that is something that heats up the toilet seat or bowl. Given how cold it can get in the winter, it seems like an excellent idea to implement. I mean, how many of us dislike that chill we get when we sit on it, and it’s cold?
In some places, I found that you could flush toilets using a Bluetooth command. These were usually in public places, which probably see a lot of people over the course of a day.
The toilets I saw in private homes also had this sink-like thing on top of the toilet tank. When you flushed, water would flow out so you could wash your hands. I was assured that the water for that was separate from what was used to flush.
This does it all automatically, so you can clean your hands without touching anything!
When it comes to the bathtub, it seems normal. At least, until I started fiddling around with the digital controls, I found. There was temperature control for the water, including for the shower. What impressed me was that there was a TV there.
The TV was positioned so you could watch while soaking in the tub. I asked some local friends about it, and they said it was mostly because Japanese people tend to relax in bathtubs. The shower is where you get clean, but the tub itself was for relaxation, not bathing.
After some more fiddling, I found that the temperature controls could be used to alter the heating in the room itself. At first, I didn’t think too much of it. After a while, I started realising how it could be useful to warm the room up before going inside if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing.
Now, I’m not saying that all of these things are necessary. However, they are useful, and some of them might be good additions to a home bathroom if you’re in the mood to add a little tech to it.