Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The GGG Essential Guide to:- Japanese Techno Toilets and Other Ingenious Innovations.

Welcome to part 2 of Norman's series of informative and tongue in cheek guides to the quirkier side of Japanese life.

The GGG Essential Guide to:- Japanese Techno Toilets and Other Ingenious Innovations.

The Japanese are well known around the world for having a real flair in developing novel and unusual gadgets - and for me the one device that demonstrates this highly innovative spirit most keenly is the (previously) humble toilet seat.
Cold winter weather in Japan often makes for a decidedly chilly atmosphere when visiting the 'Smallest room of the house'. This is especially felt where the Japanese, through adopting an entirely different philosophy towards heating the home, will put much emphasis on keeping the individual person warm rather than the entire house. Therefore, rather than employing a grand central heating system that can easily leak heat away to the outside environment, localised heating of some rooms or areas within a room is often used instead. For example, an electric heater is often found permanently attached to the underside of the dining table to keep your legs warm while you are sitting eating meals, this is combined with a thick table cloth that covers the table and also reaches to the floor all around the diners thus acting as a very effective blanket around your legs to keep the heat in.
Alternatively, an electrically heated rug stretched out on the floor can also help to keep your feet warm (as remember of course, you have no shoes on inside the house or restaurant). Further, rigid corrugated metal hot-water bottles (though now being replaced with more user friendly hard plastic variants) can be used to preheat beds.
However, the quiet, reserved, no nonsense toilet seat remains my favourite example of this philosophy in action...as to have a pre-warmed seat waiting for you before sitting down on a cold day is very much appreciated indeed!
This being Japan however, to only achieve the desired warming of the seat with an integral, fully embedded, fully adjustable, thermostatically controlled heating element would simply be a waste of a great opportunity to showcase some real innovative thinking in the design process. Once a 'Chief Techno Toilet Designer' (CTTD) has committed his manufacturing company to developing an easy reach control console, to be positioned alongside the seat (and one which Captain Kirk would be most happy to see attached to his Commanders seat on the Bridge Deck of the USS Enterprise) then the full gambit of other 'must have' items can also be accommodated and factored in as further luxury upgrades.
You then get a plethora of available options...full seat temperature control (as standard)), big flush - little flush (the Eco option). water pressure and temperature settings for an integral bidet shower unit (complete with hot air drying - which is a feature perhaps not for everyone's liking!), volume control for background running water soundtrack and/or music (presumably some suitably pleasant 'Chamber Music') And as if these were not enough extra features, not only the actual seat gets high tech makeover treatment - one techno loo that I happened to encounter while visiting Kyoto had an additional sensor that both turned on the light and then made the seat lid flip up as you entered the room! Such attention to detail!!

Hair Today - Gone Tomorrow...

Whereas the UK has brought us fantastic innovations such as the Dyson Vacuum cleaner to sweep the floors of your local barber shop, the Japanese have once again outshone the competition with this very handy gizmo for catching hair as soon as it is cut, thus eliminating the need for even getting the Dyson out of the cupboard!
In the UK this product would no doubt have a trendy techno name such as the 'Hair Catcher 3000' or the ,Catch-All-O-Matic'.

You Have A Spare 5 Minutes?

Once you have your hair nicely trimmed what better than to be able to also give your face a bit of a massage, perhaps while you are standing in the busy bus queue in town, waiting to go home from the barber shop. You would be the envy of your fellow bus passengers if you were suddenly able to produce the 'Face Roller-O-Matic' from your inside pocket for a quick 5 minute workout.
Alternatively if a bit of bothersome cut hair has sneaked down the inside of the neck seal of the Hair Catcher 3000 while at the barber shop, you could also quickly whip out your 'Back Scratcher-O-Tron' to scratch away that irritable itch...

Sushi and Satin...

Not to be left out, innovative products for the animal kingdom have also been well catered for in Japan. What about a nice Kimono style leisure suit in which your cat can lounge around the house? No problem sir! The zoomed image on the right features a nice pink shoulder padded neckline (that is assuming a cat has shoulders!), a lovely satin finish and on the left picture the highly appropriate Lucky Waving Cat logo. Any unfortunate Mice that would happen to meet this 'at home' cat would not necessarily risk being caught and eaten, rather, they would be at far greater risk of being invited in and offered some sushi or a fishy canape washed down with a Martini cocktail...Miaow!

See you all for another 'GGG Essential Guide' for use in everyday Japan very soon...

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Norman will be giving us another look at the quirkier side of Japanese life in the very near future. Keep watching the blog, website and Facebook pages for the latest news of the resumption of the flight. We will post any updates as soon as we get them,

The Gyrox Team.

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