Apr 16, 2015

The Japanese and the Sound Princess!

In many ways, Japan still remains a mystery to the rest of the world. For here, the ancient and the modern not only coexist but seem to do so in great harmony. The land of the rising sun is as comfortable with its bullet trains and cutting edge technology as it is with Zen and Geishas.

Japan has a unique culture, with its own peculiarities and quirks that seem natural to the Japanese but intrigue all foreigners.

I have already written about the Japanese love for the Hot Bath. Lets take things a little further today and talk about the Japanese Toilet ! 


A lot of things have shocked and amazed me about Japan but nothing has left me more flummoxed than the Japanese Toilet. 
On my very first visit to Japan, I stumbled off my flight half asleep and entered the airport loo, only to be confronted by a bidet that had so many buttons and controls on it; it almost rivaled an airplane cockpit. 

Scary. Especially when you come from the land of lota and running water! 

Once you have used a Japanese toilet, cleaning your butt will never be same again. Thanks to their fetish for using technology everywhere, they have turned the morning perch on the throne into a total pleasure ritual. 

The Japanese bidet literally spoils you for choice with its various butt cleaning options. By simply pressing a few buttons, you can choose exactly what part of your ‘tenderness’ you want the water to hit. You can also adjust the water temperature as well as the pressure by choosing between a low pressure setting, a high speed jet stream or a massage feature with oscillating and pulsating streams of water(ahem!). After you are squeaky clean, just press another button to let warm air gently dry your behind. It’s rather a surprise that a hand doesn’t shoot out to tenderly pat and powder the said area as well. 


Earlier the Bidet panel used to be only in Japanese leaving most of the foreigners totally baffled and intimidated. Fortunately most of the modern bidets now come equipped with rather graphic pictures or English explanations otherwise the non-Japanese speakers literally wouldn’t know what hit them and where! 

Even now, some of the hotels have signs in their toilets that request the user to make sure he is sitting on the seat before pressing any button. Or the poor unsuspecting, bumbling foreigner might just have water squirted all over him!

The more technologically enhanced washrooms also give you deodorizer spritzers, motion sensors that open the lid when someone walks in and a flush that will run as soon as you get up.

Another fantastic feature that I totally appreciated during winter was the seat warmer. This lets you adjust the temperature of the seat so that you have a nice, toasty warm place to sit on. Infact during the Japanese winters, the throne might be the most comfortable place to be on, since Japanese homes hardly have any central heating to speak of!

In most Japanese homes, the toilet is in a separate area from the bath. Such throne among thrones, you would think, certainly deserves its own space. The toilet enclosure however, is just big enough to accommodate a medium sized person. Anyone taller than average (and the rest of the world is usually taller than the Japanese average) will have trouble fitting in. I know of an almost 6 ft 4 inches tall Canadian friend who actually has to sit with the door open and his knees sticking out!

The Japanese save water as well as space in the most ingenious manner. Most homes have a toilet with a small sink mounted on the cistern. When you flush, the tap on the sink automatically releases water. As you wash your hands, the water goes inside the cistern, to be used the next time someone flushes. 


Something that speaks volumes about the Japanese aversion to anything even slightly indelicate is the ‘Oto Hime’ or the ‘Sound Princess’. Japanese women being the sensitive sort, hate the sounds that betray their activity inside the toilet. The solution till a few years back was to flush continuously to drown all other sounds. 
 Then an enterprising Japanese company thought of a small device that emits a sound whenever activated. So now by just pressing a button, the Japanese ladies can camouflage all noises and do their business in peace and without embarrassment. The camouflaging sound can be anything, a soothing tune, a song, or even the sound of a flush running.

In my humble opinion, along with eating Sushi, taking a dip in the Onsen and wearing a Kimono, using a Japanese toilet should rank as one of the greatest cultural experiences of Japan.

It takes a while to get the hang of such comforts, but once you do, you wonder about the primitive manner in which you have been using the washroom till now. It will make you forget about buying the usual camera and laptops, all you would want to do it is smuggle home a Japanese Toilet!

If you enjoyed reading this post, you might like to read more about quirky Japan !  Please click here to read the rest of my posts in the Japan and I Series. 

41 comments:

  1. Quite a luxury, so to say....when is the next smuggle in...I'd like to order :P

    ReplyDelete
  2. Haha!!! Truly a great experience, Ruch.
    and now, to confess. I've actually used one of these. Something very similar. A relative of my father's, actually had a couple of these imported and installed in his newly refurbished mansion.
    it had more or less the same options, except the sound camouflage;

    Love your Japan and I series. Waiting to read more

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading Sid. Using them is quite an experience isn't it !

      Delete
  3. UghI mean so eccentric they are. :-) I love the sound feature though. Quirky it may sound but they are truly ingenious folks. Another enjoyable post.

    ReplyDelete
  4. UghI mean so eccentric they are. :-) I love the sound feature though. Quirky it may sound but they are truly ingenious folks. Another enjoyable post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rachna. Yes quirky they are ! I love the sound feature too, as well as the seat warmers !

      Delete
  5. UghI mean so eccentric they are. :-) I love the sound feature though. Quirky it may sound but they are truly ingenious folks. Another enjoyable post.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I first heard of these features in the Japanese toilet after my husband's first visit to Japan. They are truly intelligent, yet humble. Enjoyed the post. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading Rekha. Yes, whoever visits Japan ends up having a whole lot of toilet stories !

      Delete
  7. Totally loved reading it before ascending on my humble throne. Such discontentment after reading this. Chuck your job, let's begin importing these. Though the idea of a hand patting dry the unmentionables sounds creepy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am telling you Alka, using the "normal" throne after this is so depressing ! You know I was wondering, with our water shortages and electricity cuts .. is the Japanese toilet going to be successful in India !

      Delete
  8. I definitely want to experience the use of Japanese toilet. Wow they have made their lives so easy and ick free. It's just amazing :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes ..everything is totally easy Rajlakshmi. And hands free as well :-P

      Delete
  9. Well, well, I have always wished for a warmer toilet seat in the winters and this post gives me some hope. Rest all the features are 'good to have' but a warmer seat is something I am dying to have :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I absolutely love the warm seat concept !

      Delete
  10. Replies
    1. Sure ! I'll smuggle some in when I visit Tokyo next !

      Delete
  11. Oh I want one....Your posts always leave me with this immense yearning for Japan, to see it atleast once in my lifetime

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tell you what, the next time I am there .. just come along ! Seriously speaking though, it's a beautiful country. Add it to your bucket list !

      Delete
  12. I love this post, Ruchira. But I would have expected no less from the Japanese. They have made going to the toilet an experience. And you've explained the entire experience with such humour. Thank you for this fun and educational post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading Cynthia ! Yes, using the washroom there is quite and experience as you can see !

      Delete
  13. I was wondering of exporting Japanese toilets and it would flourish so well...Would you get one for me on your next visit, plssss??? :) Out of everything, I like the way they are using the sink above the cistern...such an awesome idea...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The sink above the cistern ... such Fantastic use of space ! I read somewhere that the biggest toilet manufacturer in Japan is all set to export to US now. So may be you will get to use on soon !

      Delete
  14. Wow...this is a loo-dream come true! Ur posts always enlighten me with things I never knew about Japan! Be it ur post on the Japanese tiffins ( forgot the term) or their toilets :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you enjoy my Japan posts Shaivi. Thanks for reading !

      Delete
  15. So awesome. Now when are you relocating there so I can visit and experience this first hand?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I look forward to that day Shachi !

      Delete
  16. I definitely want one, epecially coming from the land of toilet paper!! Yuck!!
    I'm laughing at the blue button with the bum illustration!! hehehe!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know ! The illustrations can be graphic at times !

      Delete
  17. Oh wait, you mean those dainty Japanese ladies fart and poop and do all that just like the rest of us? Japani me hi sahi, par keh do ki yeh jhooth hai!

    ReplyDelete
  18. The husband had the pleasure of experiencing this luxury in a hotel in Taipei and was so excited that he clicked pics and shared it with all his friends :D

    It was fun reading this post while having my breakfast :p

    ReplyDelete
  19. "It’s rather a surprise that a hand doesn’t shoot out to tenderly pat and powder the said area as well" ...lol....that would scare me .... One day I will definitely visit Japan, lust for the toilets :)

    KHOJ

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks for reading. And welcome here !

    ReplyDelete
  21. Woah ! Amazing ! I am getting a ticket to Japan just to experience this contraption !! Can you import this amazing thing :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. right just to experience that I think I shud make aplans to visit Japan :)


    Bikram's

    ReplyDelete
  23. I read this when you wrote it first, but the darn phone doesn't take to comments. I re-read this today, after my umpteenth sabbatical. I tell you Ruch, this is the future. Matlab, technology ke mai-baap. Why must anyone know of our business? Say it with a song. I envision an Indian version that plays Aaati Nahin - when you are constipated. Or perhaps, Rang barse - when the faucet plays Holi.........darn, I am almost thinking of a counter post.

    BTW, your Japan and I series, have I told you, a fantastic idea............. :D

    ReplyDelete
  24. Haha... We ARE going to Japan in 2018 for sure. Totaly enjoyed reading this! ��

    ReplyDelete
  25. Haha... We ARE going to Japan in 2018 for sure. Totaly enjoyed reading this! ��

    ReplyDelete

 

Nirjharini Copyright © 2011 - |- Template created by O Pregador - |- Powered by Blogger Templates