It’s not openly discussed, but many of us can feel a little stressed on how regular we are with our ‘bathroom visits’ especially while travelling because most of us think that travelling equals constipation. We might even miss our house bathroom because it is usually the most familiar –hopefully the most comfortable- place we can think of in terms of relieving ourselves. There, we know what to expect in terms of our privacy and comfort. I am no different. When I travel, there is a small sense of nervousness about regularity. This all changed when I came to Japan.

Hibiscus Flower. Okinawa, Japan. Photo by T. Magno

Japan is a country built on quality and top-notch technology. It is an enriched culture of history and delicious, original cuisine. With having such high standards, it would seem obvious that Japan would not leave out or neglect something as essential as toilet functionality. I soon realized how much of a perfectionist society Japan really is!

My nervousness quickly changed when I arrived in Japan. The airport, to be exact. I had a layover waiting for my next flight when I needed to use the facilities. When I walked into my first public bathroom there, I was completely stunned. The bathroom was immaculate! White and spotless! It smelt good too. I was even more aghast when I walked into the stall and saw a beautiful, button-gadget, toilet paradise. And the toilet itself was a shiny, sanitized porcelain image of toilet perfection.

Japan successfully added their modern twist on a unique, state of the art adaptation of a western-style toilet, equipped with all the essential comfort needs when using the bathroom. No joke: this was my epitome of ‘toilet heaven’.

Women’s toilet at the Aeon Rycom Mall. Okinawa, Japan. Photo by T. Magno

The buttons can be seen on the side of the toilet or mounted on the wall, always within reach. They have buttons for water pressure, water temperature, a deodorizing button, a sound machine button as well as a ‘stop button’ for the music, and a separate one to stop the ‘butt sprayer’. They even have two kinds of ‘butt spray’ positions, depending on your preference of the water spraying either more forward or more backward. If you abruptly get up, there is a sensor that will detect that and will immediately stop spraying when you move.

Most of the toilet facilities even have little shelves to place your small pocket items like cell phones, wallets and keys. There is always a wall-mounted toilet sanitizing gel or spray that you can use to wipe down the toilet before and after use.

Ledge and wall-mounted toilet sanitizer. Photo by T. Magno

When I first saw the layout of the toilet, I quickly understood the process. It’s pretty easy to follow. I grabbed a piece of toilet paper and sprayed it with the sanitizer on the wall, wiping down the toilet. Then I sat down and instantly the toilet seat warmed up. I looked to my right and pressed the ‘sound’ button with the ‘whole note’ musical symbol on it. It played ‘spring water’ nature sounds. I adjusted the volume. I did my business and then flushed. Then came the part I was waiting for: the ‘butt relaxation therapy’ process, or so I call it. I chose the positon I wanted the spray to go, the water pressure and adjusted the water temperature. When all the settings were where I wanted them to be, I just relaxed there for a while and let the toilet do its work. I had time. My flight was not due to board for another hour and what better way to pass the time than giving my derriere some attention? It was not only a wonderful hygiene experience, it was also relaxing. I was getting the best free pampering of my life!

As I sat there getting a pampering, I thought of all of the benefits these toilets could bring: it was relaxing, it was cleansing and it was free! In my opinion, those are the three best things in the World all incorporated into one essential piece of bathroom hardware. I kept wondering why this was not a best-seller all over the World? I would certainly buy one!

When you visit Japan, even if it’s a layover in one of the airports, try their wonderful Japanese toilets. Be adventurous! You won’t regret it.

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