In the hot seat?
April 19, 2007 5:06 AM   Subscribe

"Fortunately nobody was using the toilets when the fire broke out and there were no injuries," a company spokesman said. "The fire would have been just under your buttocks." The flaming toilets of Japan! Of course, if these kinds of problems with new-fangled techno-toilets continue, people might be advised to go back to the traditional Japanese toilet. In which case, this refresher course in How to Use Japanese Style Toilet Bowel [sic] might come in handy. Happy squatting!
posted by flapjax at midnite (24 comments total)
Here's a traveler's perspective on the traditional Japanese crapper.

And you'll no doubt want to know where the World Toilet Organization stands on Japanese johns.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:23 AM on April 19, 2007

Actually they were bidets, not toilets. Get yer facts straight!
posted by delmoi at 5:29 AM on April 19, 2007

I feel very reassured that such a thing as the World Toilet Organization exists. Reassured of what, I do not know. I'm just glad they're out there. Organizing the worlds toilets. or whatever.
posted by bobobox at 5:33 AM on April 19, 2007

Uh, was that a joke delmoi? Cause you do know that we're talking about toilets here, with built-in bidet functions, right? I mean, I know you can't spell, but I guess you can read, so that must've been a joke, right? Please tell me that was a joke.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:33 AM on April 19, 2007

Flapjax: I'd seen a segment on these on the Daily Show, where they called them bidets. But you're right, they are bidet toilets. My mistake.
posted by delmoi at 5:39 AM on April 19, 2007

Although technically it was the Bidet feature that actually caught fire.
posted by delmoi at 5:41 AM on April 19, 2007

I have a friend working up at Misawa who informed me that strange things happen at onsen (public baths) as well.
posted by pax digita at 5:46 AM on April 19, 2007

Yesterday amongst my daily news alerts was one of my fabvorite headlines in a while: Toto to fix buttocks-scorching bidets. I was sort of bummed when I found out it wasn't a story about late 70's/early 80's soft rcok band Toto.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 5:56 AM on April 19, 2007

The Z series features a pulsating massage spray, a power dryer, a "tornado wash" flush, and a lid that opens and closes automatically.

The Japanese (or some of them, anyway) entrust their bare bits to automatic/pulsating/power/tornado/flaming technology much more than I would.
posted by pracowity at 6:23 AM on April 19, 2007

See also.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:35 AM on April 19, 2007

I'd seen a segment on these on the Daily Show


These are not bidets, nor are they toilets. I have one in my bathroom, my office has them, they're everwhere here in Korea, and I assume in Japan as well.

What they are isindustrial strength superduper toilet seats, with which you replace your ordinary toilet seat. They have rocket science butt-love control module Captain Kirk arms on the right side, with all the spritzy, heated-seat whee buttons on them, and a retractable arm that extrudes to bathe your post-#2 butthole in warm water then hide away again.

So, yeah, there's bidet action, and they do get attached to toilets, but they're actually neither.

Bonus link: my first, angelic-choir-descending experience with them (Part 1, Part 2 (bidet bit in Part 2).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:45 AM on April 19, 2007

These are not bidets, nor are they toilets.

Holy christ, I'm starting to wonder if they even exist at all.

But seriously folks, stav is right. And these bidet functions are damn nice. Almost everyone I know who's visited Japan has at first eyed them with suspicion, but winds up singing their praises. And yes, stav, they are very, very common here in Japan. Hey, they were invented here! At least, I'm pretty sure they were...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:56 AM on April 19, 2007

You know, there really is no clean cleaner than cauterized.
posted by The Straightener at 7:01 AM on April 19, 2007

One of my favorite blog posts from one of my favorite bloggers is about the cultural context of these toilets, or "washlets."

Momus says: "Had I just put a real poo in a 3D virtual toilet? How could I link up the dimensions in such a way that my virtual poo got carried away by a virtual flush, or my real poo by a real flush? I left the bathroom in confusion, my clumsy gaijin turd still floating in the bowl. Only later did I realise that there was a "real" flush on the tank, and that the "virtual" flush on the control panel was just a sound effect to cover embarrasing noises."

More at Japanize your ass! And don't miss the post's comment thread ...
posted by ourobouros at 7:02 AM on April 19, 2007

Holy crap!
posted by Wonderwoman at 7:10 AM on April 19, 2007

I hate those hole in the ground toilets. Usually it seems they put them in bathrooms they'd rather see less traffic in.

The washlets, however... ah I'm saving for one of those. You can really appreciate that heated seat in the winter.
posted by damo at 8:17 AM on April 19, 2007

Fun story flapjax. Wish I had a squatter here in Hell's Kitchen!

Anecdote: In the 1970's in Nepal at a small monastery there, Kopan, the outdoor toilets were used to harvest methane gas for lighting. A young novice monk was playing with matches in the toilet and noticed the flame was higher in the toilet stall than out of it and threw the match down the hole. It exploded. Poop everywhere, boy flung through the air but he survived. Don't know if they stuck with the methane project though.
posted by nickyskye at 9:11 AM on April 19, 2007

Man, the toilet situation in Japan is great (when they don't catch on fire). Squatters allegedly have colon cancer prevention benefits, but the kind with a row of buttons on em can be all kinds of awesome once you figure out how to use them. I wish I could find a toilet like that for my home.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 9:30 AM on April 19, 2007

does anybody know where to get one of these futuristic toilets in the USA?
posted by subtle_squid at 10:09 AM on April 19, 2007

Just barely apropos of toilet discussions is my current choice for bathroom reading material.
posted by pax digita at 10:24 AM on April 19, 2007

subtle_squid: here is one place, scroll to the bottom for the washlets. Search for "toto washlet", there are lots of places that sell them.
posted by vorfeed at 10:57 AM on April 19, 2007

What do handicapped people do when the only toilet available is the traditional "squat" toilet?
posted by Justin Case at 11:49 AM on April 19, 2007

@ solipsophistocracy,

yes, the east asian style "squat" bowls are actually much better for you health wise. if you think about it, human beings have been squatting for millions of years before the invention of the modern western toilet. and colon cancer is much higher in countries that use traditional modern toilets.

its pooptastic!
posted by cazoo at 2:22 PM on April 19, 2007

When I was in Japan, I used the toilet at my host parents' relatives' home. It had a touch pad and I had no idea what to do. I pressed buttons. Music played. A hot fan came on. THe seat warmed. Then water (bidet?) strated spraying and would not stop. I had to hold the lid down while it sprayed for several minutes. I couldn't get it to flush. I finally mopped up the room and fled in terror.
posted by acoutu at 2:54 PM on April 19, 2007

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