Sunday, 3 February 2013

A seat at the future

A recent edition of The Economist hypothesised that the human race had failed to invent anything as useful or significant as the indoor toilet.

Maybe so,  but Japan has taken the humble loo and innovated it to a whole new level of ingenuity.

The toilets found in Japanese homes and hotels, usually the Toto Washlet, have been tricked out like a souped up Ferrari, making my humble home toilet look like a 1980s Chrysler Sigma.

Taking to these thrones is like sitting at the Captain's chair on the Starship Enterprise.   Beside you is an array of flashing lights and buttons which elevate the restroom experience.

A Toto Washlet: have humans ever invented anything better?

Like many others, upon first sighting these bewildering plinths I thought: "that's ridiculous!"

A seat warmer?   Deodouriser?   Music, including the option of different genres, which strikes up when I sit?

What about the automatic flush and cleaning functions?

And do i really need a bidet function with varying options for water temperature, angle and pressure?

After just a couple of days of being treated to this smorgasbord of lavatory delights, it seems the answer is "Yes! Yes I do!".

And let's just say that whoever thought of putting toilets with seat warmers on ski fields is not only a genius, but a great humanitarian as well. Instead of an experience which I imagine is only slightly less uncomfortable than having a prostate exam by Jack Frost himself, cold skiers in need of relief are embraced by a warm cocoon.

And clearly I'm not alone in this restroom revelry.  Others have seen the benefits of washing rather than smearing.

It's enough to make you have latrine envy.  Compared to the toilets Japan is flushed with, my home toilet feels like a pit in the ground which I throw sawdust down when I'm done.

But has water closet civilisation arrived in Australia?  On the flight over to Japan, the Jetstar magazine boasted that a number of these flashy toilets were now available in Australia. Not sure how Bruce the Plumber from Moorooka would go installing these triumphs of toilet technology in Australian homes, but you would soon know if he had done it correctly or not.

Even more bizarrely, I was at a meeting with a Japanese company in Brisbane the other week and in the corner of their boardroom was one of these toilets. Just sitting there. I have no idea why. More importantly, did it get there of its own accord? Do they now possess the power of flight?

Regardless, these toilet marvels are clearly the way of the future and I say I'm ready to be seated!

And when my Toto Washlet arrives, I'm going to program it to play Rhianna whenever I approach; she's been giving me the sh*ts for years.


  1. Hey Matthew, you know how I love pics of both good and really bad toilets!! It puts some of those "Toilets" in Morocco to shame. No squatting and holding on for dear life, where's he fun in that?!

  2. Haha! I do remember that one in Meknes! Wow, some visions and smells you can't get out of your memory. Hope you have had that photo enlarged and put on a wall! Or perhaps you could create a unique coffee table book of crappy crappers across the countries?

  3. Matt (or is it Mark?) when you are next in Melbourne, you are in for a treat! Eat plenty before you visit and try our very own Toto!