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Why aren't we all using Japanese toilets? (priceonomics.com)
402 points by rohin on Nov 14, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 371 comments



Toto's primary sales channel is "If you build a house or office in Japan and don't specifically talk to your architect/contractor about your post-bowel movement preferences we will take the liberty of using the most current model Toto has available and then invoice you cost plus labor plus 50%."

Toto does not have that relationship with the person responsible for picking your toilet.

Why does Toto have that relationship with the guy who picked my toilet? They've got a sales rep in Ogaki. His most important job is making sure they know of every business start for a construction company and that every time it happens the company gets a wreath (that's considered auspicious and is socially mandatory to buy when someone close to you starts a shop) and the principals get invited out drinking. Toto is, naturally, buying. The sales guy will not be so gauche as to mention "Say, apropos of nothing, do you do cost-plus projects? We have a proposition for you which will put $100 extra in your pocket for every bathroom you build."


Minus the necessity of the wreath, I assume construction managers in the US are equally willing to accept free drinks and an extra $100/per bathroom. Does this not work in the US because it can't be a reasonable default in those types of situations?


It's not a reasonable default because every visitor to your house would make a comment requiring you to justify having "fringe" bathroom habits.

Edit: Not every, of course. And the number would vary by region of the US. Excuse the universal quantifier :)


I saw this somewhere else, but it stuck with me: "if you get poop on your arm, do you wipe it off with a dry piece of paper - or do you wash with soap and water?"

I don't understand why bidets are fringe :(


The difference being I anticipate the future interactions of my arm and my butt with the surrounding environment to be quite different.


I realize there are serious health implications, but I can't read this thread without getting the giggle fits.

This would be such an awesome first-world problems meme :)


I just realized my earlier comment may appear trollish. That really wasn't my intention. 

I got a good chuckle from this discussion because I travel to Japan frequently. But no matter how many times I've encountered Japanese toilets, they still cause much amusement, confusion, and even some anxiety. (I say anxiety because sometimes it's hard to tell if pressing a button would cause the toilet to sing you a song or do something unexpected.) 

After reading this article and seeing the very lively and rather in-depth discussion here on HN, I'm pleasantly surprised that I'm not the only one befuddled and fascinated by this bit of Japanese technology.

On the other hand, I've also spent time in parts of the world where there's no running water at all for flushing toilets. Hence the fringe nature of bidets in our society and toilet seats costing more than $1k = first world problems IMO. Not that it wouldn't make a great gift for the holidays.


If I got poop on my arm, I wouldn't use toilet water to wash it off.

This to me is the #1 reason I don't want bidets and would never use it. Pretty much the most repellent idea to me is the concept of the toilet spraying me back.

How's this for an idea... a sink next to the toilet where I can warm a piece of paper with water and use it. Nice, simple, and works well.

Or baby wipes. Those work really well too. Replicate this with an "adult version".

Toilet spray? No thanks. Ever


The water comes from your water piping, not the toilet bowl.


Yeah, and that is the same water you drink, too. It goes through the same kind of pipes, they just end in different places. You could do a A/B test and most probably you would not be able to find any difference between water from the toilet pipe and water from the kitchen pipe.


Yes the water is clean, but that's only for sure until it comes out from what is basically inside the toilet bowl. If that opening is dirty, the water will be dirty.


The spray head doesn't stick around in the middle of the bowl for you to poop on it. It stays tucked away inside (or below) the bidet machinery until you activate it, at which time it extends only as far as it needs to. When it's done spraying, it automatically retracts to its former position.


Do you believe the dirty water coming out of the opening will leave more shit on your bum than the crude white paper you use to rub it off?


The water comes out of a little nozzle on the end of a wand that extends only when used. While you do your number 1 or 2, the wand is retracted inside the toilet seat (not bowl, above the bowl). Plus, after spraying, the nozzle will auto-clean itself before retracting.


If you poop on your arm, do you rinse it off under a drinking fountain? That is pretty much what a bidet does...

Anyway, why does that quote compare washing with soap and water? do bidets do this?


> every visitor to your house would make a comment requiring you to justify having "fringe" bathroom habits.

Wouldn't this have been the case in Japan in the early 80s too, when Washlets first came to the market?


I don't have the source handy, but I remember there were at least two very attractive features that started the trend of "advanced" toilets in Japan:

1) A seat heater: Bathrooms used to be unheated so without this it would be very cold in the winter. Adding a heated seated was much cheaper than adding a room heater. 2) An artificial sound to overlay embarrassing farting sounds: Without this feature, it was common for Japanese women to constantly use the flush in order to create a louder sound. This was obviously a huge waste water.

Once the ground was laid, it was natural to extend the number of features.


While we're knee-deep into the toilet conversation, you make an interesting observation. I'm originally from France and have lived in California for over 11 years but, to this day, I'm still astonished at how little embarrassment there is in American toilets (my experience is limited to the mens rooms) as far as unpleasant noise goes. It is obviously a fact of life but, where I come from, denial is king in that department.

My theory is that it's because American public toilets are usually made of 2 thin, low separation walls and a door with sometimes wide gaps which makes it almost inevitable to share the entire experience with everybody in the room.

Still not used to it...


I think it's just cultural: American men are not expected to be discreet or embarrassed in "practical" all-male environments such as locker rooms and public toilets. A loud belch or other powerful, resounding emanation signals manliness... and it was funny when you were 7, it's still a bit funny now.


"off-screen sounds" as they're called in entertainment, meaning sounds that have no visual cue to explain their existence, ignite a fleet startle response from ear to brain. The science behind the funny and the awkwardness of farting or belching. When expressed loudly, might not even be that far from the roar of a large carnivore.


a bit funny? Liar. It's hilarious! Who cannot but smile at a cubicle wall rattler, whether your own or someone elses?


For working class white American men, that is not limited to public restrooms. They're doing it at home too and laughing about it to their wives/girlfriends/kids - who probably call them disgusting to which they laugh even more.

People with more class and manners tend toward the French way of doing it.


You mean people who are snobs tend toward the French way where as people who are fun and warm hearted have no problem laughing at farts.

I would much rather be with a person that thinks farts are funny then one who doesn't. To each their own.


Funny or not (I don't think I'm any different from the natives in that regard), that doesn't explain why they would find it perfectly reasonable to share the joy in public where "fun" is certainly not the aim.


I wasn't passing judgement on either group, simply stating the facts as I know them to be.


Those are hardly 'facts' as much as they are anecdata. From the working class families I grew up in and around, I could assert with just as much first hand data how baseless your assertions are.


This is an excellent example of circular reasoning, as I see it.

"More mannered people are more mannered because they do not do things I consider ill-mannered."

A fart is a fart. Go to southeast Asia, it's still just a fart that people laugh at. Go to Europe and fart and now leave a bad impressions due to culture? I see which is the optimal setup for practicality and sanity.


I don't think that "class" and "manners" are very healthy in this case. Farting is very natural and happens consistently. You shouldn't have to hide that or be embarrassed about it.

That said, I tend to look for bathrooms to relieve myself privately.


    2) An artificial sound to overlay embarrassing 
    farting sounds: Without this feature, it was 
    common for Japanese women to constantly use 
    the flush in order to create a louder sound. 
    This was obviously a huge waste water.
Was this an issue because Japanese walls are thinner? Or homes smaller? Farting isn't considered particularly appetizing here either but I don't remember a single time this has been an issue (or ever hearing someone farting from outside the bathroom).


The flushing is designed to cover up 'all' sounds. There's a lot of weird fetishes and taboos and hangups people have out here, so I wouldn't read too deeply into it. Diet is probably not a factor.

The otohime is a huge water saver, though.


A combination of a collectivist culture and crazy expensive real estate leads to more people living in smaller homes and in closer proximity to each others bowel movements.

The Japanese diet also probably plays a role......


There was a considerable increase in the number of dwellings in Japan with flush toilets from 45.9% in 1978 to 83.0% in 1998. This likely led to an increased acceptance of the new style of toilets because the North American & Western European style flush-toilets were not as prevalent in the home at the time and so an in-grained cultural use was not the determining factor for choosing new toilet styles.

* Stats from Statistics Bureau, Japan.


Not really. The Japanese have a hygiene tradition, so new cleaning devices are highly thought of.


I guess this doesn't extend to oral hygiene?


Japanese oral hygiene is fine. It's cosmetic dentistry, braces etc that they don't really get.


Uh, no it isn't. Every, and I mean EVERY train ride I take from Chiba to Tokyo is a mixture of fish-and-garlic-for-breakfast and cigarette breath.

If only what you said were true.


Cosmetic dentistry is an American obsession. the rest of the world does not get it.


They have notoriously bad breath and bad teeth. Travel guides for Japanese tourists even suggest they brush their teeth regularly and use mouthwash in America so as not to offend people.


Is this a joke? Japanese brush at least three times a day. Probably more than in most western countries. And they have tons of breath fresheners in convenience stores. You would not have such products if no-one was buying them.

This being said, I can certainly relate to the cigarette smell, but that's not only a breath issue, that kind of smell sticks to everything, from clothes to interiors.


Have you ever been to Japan? In my travels there I have not noticed any unusual halitosis, and I've spent plenty of time packed into the metro at rush hour.


[citation needed]


While discussions of what goes on in the bathroom may make most Americans uncomfortable, it certainly isn't so taboo as to point out a different toilet. Perhaps the Japanese culture is different, such that, while people may have wanted to ask why you have a fringe toilet, social norms kept them from doing so.

I'm not Japanese, nor have I spent any time in Japan, so that's purely conjecture, but, knowing what little I know about Japanese culture, that wouldn't strike me as beyond belief.


You're right, Japan has a long and very interesting obsession with poop, primarily due to their geography.

Japan is a series of volcanic islands with, historically, a very limited indigenous supply of large poop producing creatures like like cows, horses, and pigs. The result is that there was a great scarcity of fertile soil. To supplement their soil they instead relied on human feces. So valuable was it that back in the day you could sell your poop to professional manure collectors who walked around town with large pots.

The cultural legacy extends well beyond toilets. You may have seen recent articles about people creating meat from poop, and poop powered motorcycles. It's no coincide that those are Japanese inventions. Funny how a thing like geography affects things.


Speaking on cultural differences and American willingness to discuss bathroom culture...

I, personally, don't like the idea of a warm seat. All I'll be thinking about is "someone else just used this toilet".

Maybe one day I'll use one and it'll change my outlook completely, like the George Foreman grill nudged my outlook on the validity of infomercial products. But, until that happens? Nope, no thanks.


Warm seats seem like a pointless luxury if your bathroom is properly insulated and heated, but the vast majority of older Japanese housing is neither.


Well, it is still more economical to warm up ONLY the seat than insulating the whole room. Especially since you do not stay hours every day in the restroom.


Many cars nowadays have seat warmers, which can warm you up faster than turning on the heater. It's very pleasant in cold weather.


Anecdotally your conjecture is correct.


While that may be a tad arkward, it isn't as bad as it sounds. If I had one of these, I'd still leave toilet paper on the side for those who were uncomfortable with the concept of a Washlet.

Edit: After reading the other comments, it is apparent that this is probably a good idea for primary users too. Makes sure the job is done right.


The sales strategy is independent of the toilet model.


w1ntermute - That's a great question. We'll have to hope someone with better knowledge of Japanese habits and culture will respond to answer it.


Just the toilet seat is $750 (Disclosure: This is on my Christmas wishlist)!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0011YSEUC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?...

Although it does come with a remote (with LCD display), water temperature adjustment, volume control (for your iDevice), warm air-dryer, and air deodorizer.


What's with the affiliate link (littdidd-20)?


I'm genuinely curious to know why people have a problem with affiliate links.

If it doesn't harm you, and the info is good, why begrudge someone their tiny percentage cut?


I'm not particularly bothered by this case (or more affiliate links), but when I see them in a blog post saying "This article / service is awesome, buy it", and there's an affiliate link involved, I do generally think "Yeah and how much are you making for saying that?"

But then I've done the same affiliate link stuff on occassion myself, especially when there's a perk link extra free space - it's easy to do, and as you say, not any harm as long as the intention isn't to mislead.


It's copied from his Xmas wishlist, Amazon probably put it there automatically.


The company mentioned in the article seem to have comparable ones but are cheaper.


Yes, the contractor will make many decisions for you - unless your architect made the decisions first.


Why do you need to go through Toto? Installing a simple comod with a hand hold bidet http://handspray.com.au/images/retro-hand-spray-bidet/retro-... (or attached depending on your preference) can be done by a run of the mill contractor.

It looks like it's perceived as a modern, costly setup in Japan(and the thing shown in the article is expensive) but the simple comod-bidet setup is inexpensive. It's quite common in India.


Quite common in Thailand too, and as anyone who's ever used one knows, they are far superior to toilet paper. I've been meaning to install my own sink sprayer next to my toilet for a while now. Guess I should get to it.


Nice insight on the sales approach. Is there any particular reason that this technique doesn't work outside of Japan? American construction companies might not care about a wreath, but surely drinking and promises of additional profits would be universally effective.


>Is there any particular reason that this technique doesn't work outside of Japan? American construction companies might not care about a wreath, but surely drinking and promises of additional profits would be universally effective.

It does work outside of Japan.

The relationship of "enterprise" software company to partner VAR to enterprise works much the same way, drinks and all.


Steak and strippers.


Yes it does work, it's why trade shows are in las vegas and other "fun" places. A dozen cupcake and bottle of scotch once saved me $5k in a deal.


I know that this practice is outlawed for doctors and Pharma companies, the most they can give doctors these days are some free pens and drug samples :P


People don’t pick the toilets in their houses? I find that hard to imagine.

People not picking the pipes or bricks that are used I can see, but the toilet? No way. Before I buy a toilet I want to at least sit on it and I cannot imagine anyone feeling any other way about that.


How many people build their own house, as opposed to buying one from a previous owner or a developer?

Also, remember that not everyone owns their own house. Many people rent apartments or houses from other people, or live with families.

Between all of those factors, I would say a very small percentage of toilets in this country were picked out by the person using them.


Hm, you are probably right. My perspective is probably skewed. My grandparents built their own houses (altogether three, actually), my parents built their own house – and they really picked everything down to the “Which toilets should there be?” detail level.


If you buy a house that is not new, and your toilet is working, replacing it will be definitely not on the top of your list. And since other renovations - which usually matter much more for people take priority. Add to that the fact that "we recently did a new kitchen" sounds much better in conversation that "we recently bought a toilet seat which costs only a little less than a used car" - and here you go.

The factor of the cost is important too. For $1700 I could redo a whole room - why would I spend this on a toilet when I already have a perfectly working one? Of course, if money is not an issue, it's different - but for most people money still is the issue.


Even in most custom built homes you only pick the fit and finish and not the actual product. This is mainly done for cost reasons since specific products means you need someone to take the time to review existing plans to make sure everything fits and is spec'ed out properly.


See, my perspective is completely skewed. I don’t even know what a custom built home is. I don’t have a house nor any plans to get one but my dad (a civil engineer, usually planning water supply systems) drew up all the plans for my parents’ house and my parents (including the extended family plus friends) really did nearly everything by themselves, and that includes picking out all the interior. Everything is custom about that house. In that context someone telling you which toilet to get is nonsense.


I hope the irony isn't lost on you that this means you did not pick the toilet in your house, just like you found it hard to imagine other people doing!


Ha, I guess you are right. Though my parents might well have taken me with them on one of their many trips to an untold number of stores and I might have actually been present when they picked a toilet. I don’t remember, I was three at the time.

What I wanted to say that I can’t understand not picking the toilet for a house when you build it (or if you decide to renovate a house), I obviously didn’t pick the toilet in my current apartment.


What i'm saying is the customer usually asks for a white toilet that looks like X. The builder says, "Manufacturer Y has something like that. Does this look good?" knowing that manufacturer Y works with his suppliers who will have the exact product at the exact time that they need it.

Sure you can go to a builder and say I want this, this, this, and this, but be ready to pay out the nose for someone to do all the work to make sure they show up correctly and at the appropriate time.


See, my parents are the kind of people who would micromanage that kind of stuff. I mean, I know they would, because they did when they recently renovated their bathroom. This time they paid people to do the actual work (everyone’s getting older), but they made sure to get the right kinds of tiles and drew a plan for the tilers on how to arrange the tiles. Which tiles to cut in which way, and where to, for example, put the patterned tiles.


In America or in Japan? I know for a fact if you are doing a new build or renovation in America your choice of involvement is entirely up to you. Some people pick out specific shower heads and toilets and tile (even on a $250,000 renovation or million dollar new build). Others let professionals pick and choose what they want.

There is an entire industry of show rooms for high end bathrooms and kitchens with salesmen to help you pick out the right bath tub or dishwasher.


Even those high end show rooms have a limited range of specific manufacturers. Like I said it's mostly fit and finish.


The situation for new builds / speculative construction which are then placed on the market, versus 'having a house built to your specifications', might be some of the difference. Or you (that is, not you or I, but "people") might select a "style" of bathroom or use a particular interior designer whom you trust to make appropriate decisions.

If you're not getting an incredibly detailed itemised bill, you might find it tough to spot ~1K extra in 'bathroom furniture and installations'


When I recently needed a new toilet I simply asked the plumber who would be installing it to swing by the shop and buy me one on the way over. I gave him a price range, told him to use his professional judgement and to bring me the receipt. Having to spend my Saturday schlepping all the way across town just to look at toilets is far too much a waste of my precious weekend.


People tend to have strong preferences about things they don't like in their current place. Like the kitchen layout, or the appliances, or the showerhead. People don't really have that much of a beef with a normal American Standard toilet, so they don't care.


Are these popular anywhere else besides Japan? That would be interesting to know.

Maybe it's a Japanese thing. It's like asking why we don't use arabic toilets...


Every one of these articles gets the pitch of these toilets completely wrong - for every person, and in every scenario, these are not universally better.

Consider the following experiment:

Smear some mud on your arm. Now, using a jet stream the power of a squirt gun and very low precision, wash it all off in 10 seconds. Not so easy. Then - imagine if you put mud on a place with hair! Not only will it not be clean without some actual washing, we haven't even gotten to the drying part yet.

Fact of the matter is, these do not replace toilet paper. I thought they were OK (Google) until I decided to use toilet paper after - and I was shocked and disappointed. My routine simply got longer and more complex, with a small value add of washing with water instead of dry paper.

Sorry about the grim detail - I think the 'squeamish about bathroom routine' point of the article is right - just in the wrong way!


This is pretty insightful. I used them at Google as well and discovered similar variabilities. Doing some A/B testing (trust me testing on the toilet is encouraged there :-) I did find that I used less paper, but not 'no' paper. And it wasn't just for 'drying purposes' it was to insure everything had been taken care of.

Another observation was that you got better with the wash over time. Once familiarized with the placement controls of the unit and the 'feel' (sorry) of the action you could achieve better results. There was some interesting speculation on what a 'complete' fix might entail, and one of the hardware engineers put a 'watts up' meters in line with the seat to get a read on its actual usage (about .037 kwH per month),

My take away was that it was an improvement but not a $1,500 improvement (or $4,500 if I wanted to do it to all three toilets in my house). It also increases water usage, albeit modestly, which is sort of anti-california but that was before I talked with the toilet guys who said the water saving toilets only save water on urine flushes since it it typical for solid matter to require more than one flush cycle. (it still saves water but still).


I read a version of this argument in some US newspaper a while back. It completely misses the point.

These ass-jet toilets are not intended to replace toilet paper. They are for getting your asshole (and ladyparts, but I can't testify on that topic) much cleaner in much less time than with conventional American toilets and dry paper alone.

You use the ass-jet, then paper. That's how they work. (For a heinous bowel-movement situation, you might do paper, ass-jet, paper again.) You aren't supposed to skip the paper!

Using your mud example, if you got mud all over your head, would you rather just keep scraping your head with dry paper towels, and use up a couple rolls worth and still have some mud left over, or use some water too? Same principle.

If you take a perfect shit (love when that happens), then sure, it just slides out and leaves behind minimal debris. Great. But let's say you ate a plate of Uncle Jim's nachos the night before, along with a twelve pack of PBR, and you definitely didn't achieve shitting perfection this time. That is when these toilets really shine.

The number of times you have to wipe your ass to achieve that comforting pure-white-no-residue final wipe, that tells you your asshole is clean, is astronomically higher with paper only than it is with an ass-jet plus paper. I mean, have you ever had one of those wipe-it-ten-time-and-dammit-it-still-isn't-clean kind of shits? You just never have that happen with the ass-jet. The water helps wash your doody-hole AND that moistens the toilet paper (for the first post-jet wipe). That makes it work better, just like a wet dishrag is more effective at cleaning a dish than a dry one.

I personally would be surprised if populations that lack ass-jet toilets didn't have a higher incidence of hemmhorrhoids from all that wiping, over a lifetime. I don't think we have that long-term data yet.

But from personal experience, they have saved me thousdands and thousands of asshole-wipes over the years, and I could never go back to a the barbaric American toilets of my youth.

(When I moved back to America several years ago, I brought a Toto washlet toilet seat with me. And the new apartment that I just bought in Tokyo had many options to specify, but the toilet wasn't one of them--just as patio11 suggests above, the place came with a brand new whiz-bang model featuring the latest in shitter technology from Toto, complete with not only heated seat, ass-jet, and wall-mounted control panel, but also sensors that allow it to raise the seat automatically as I approach, and flush for me when I am done.)


I'm laughing my ass off... Great and insightful post!


You're thinking either/or instead of "finishing the job".

When you dive into a mud pit, do you wipe yourself off with paper towels until you're done, or do you use a bit of soap & water?


I think you completely missed his point.


I can confirm @aptimpropriety's claim after having tested this in bidets in multiple countries. It doesn't matter how high you turn on the water pressure, if you grab a piece of toilet paper afterwards it seems to always find some... remainders.


I believe those are referred to as "Klingons."

I've never had the opportunity to use a bidet, but on top of the lack of a thorough cleaning, aren't you dripping wet after?

Even in a half squat after the fact, I would expect this unsanitary water to run down one's legs.


The article states "Even still, many users of bidets use some amount of toilet paper, especially for drying purposes."


Sure, but now you are chasing rivulets of fecal water running down your legs. That is some shit I'd rather not deal with.


Perhaps you are one of the stand-to-wipe types, but if you remain seated throughout the drying operation you will not have to deal with any rivulets.

Also some toilets have an air-dryer.


Air dryers are incredibly bad. Hand dryers are practically a waste of time since they barely do anything IMHO.


Having used a toilet with an air dryer I will say it worked, although toilet paper is far quicker.

It is kind of nice to have hot air blown up your ass though.


Hand dryers are very efficient! They don't seem to do anything for the first ~20 seconds, but in the last 5 seconds you feel all the water evaporating. That's because only the water surface evaporates, until your skin is exposed dry. You are probably like most people who I see use them in public bathroom, using them only for <10 seconds.


Relevant TED talk:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2...

tl;dw: thorougly shake, the wipe with one paper folded once


You're probably right. But I can wipe with a towel in 2 seconds. 20 seconds is far too long to be any use.


When using hand dryer, spread the moist all over your hands as if you were washing them. It isn't instant, but they sure work well.


Tried the Dyson ones? They're amazing.


While my mom was in home hospice, someone purchased these for us to help her:

http://goo.gl/9YcQh

After she passed, my Dad just threw them in the guest bathroom. Using both paper and these (preferred order is up to the user) seems to fit the bill for just about any, uh, circumstance, and I've had numerous people make positive comments on it which is strange in and of itself.

At first I thought it was a bit wasteful, but I think many times you can get by with less total paper. YTPMV.


Use the paper first. Then some soap & water.


Or just take a shower afterwards.


With Bidets you may be correct because you have less water flow and also less control of the direction. A hand held bathroom bidet sprayer is so much better than a stand alone bidet and this is why:1. It's less expensive (potentially allot less) 2. You can install in yourself = no plumber expense 3. It works better by providing more control of where the water spray goes and a greater volume of water flow. 4. It requires no electricity and there are few things that can go wrong with it. 5. It doesn't take up any more space, many bathrooms don't have room for a stand alone bidet. 6. You don’t have to get up and move from the toilet to the bidet which can be rather awkward at times to say the least. Available at http://www.bathroomsprayers.com



Very informative post. Thanks for getting into some details that were bouncing around in my mind.

The article makes it sound as though you don't need toilet paper and that didn't sound quite right unless the jet was pretty significant and included some kind of soap.


The article actually states "...many users of bidets use some amount of toilet paper, especially for drying purposes."


But it's confusing. It also says washlets "render toilet paper obsolete."


Drying purposes != Cleaning purposes.

The only thing worse than cleaning feces paste off my butt with paper that shields my hand would be cleaning diluted feces water off my butt with paper that soaks the water through to my hand.


I would like to point out that women use washlets when they urinate and they are, especially with a built-in dryer, infinitely better than toilet paper alone.

Further, they shouldn't require much precision as the area we are talking about isn't all that large. Of course, until you get to the high end models, you generally don't get position adjustment or oscillating cleansing.

Maybe the Google ones you used were just poor? The ones I used in Japan ranged from excellent to ok.


Congrats on introducing the female 'angle' as it were. A group of male engineer types discussing the merits would tend to completely forget that a huge percentage of toilet visits are by females for no 1 purposes only, and perhaps a light wash followed by a quick blow dry are more than sufficient.

I have tried these in Japan and the first time I hit the squirt button I got a shock-inducing surprise at how accurate they are. It's like they are laser guided or something, such is the accuracy of hitting the target.


Hello, I've lived in Japan for about 3 years now and I find these toilets indispensable. For the situation you described, I have experienced the same thing but I have found that there are a few ways of getting around it. The main way is the "move" function, which oscillates the nozzle back and forth. Usually you can activate this by pressing the spray button twice or pressing a dedicated button. You can also usually manually adjust the nozzle position to better suit your needs. Additionally, some of them have dryers which further negates the need for toilet paper. My routine is usually spray, oscillate, check with one or two TP squares, and then dry. This saves me from a lot of hassle and saves a lot of toilet paper. Excuse my vulgarity, but I've had times where what would otherwise turn out to be a "nightmare shit" became a relatively pleasant experience. It's those times where I can really appreciate modern technology. I think Toto did a good job to try to get it to fit the majority of people's needs, but it seems some manual tweaking and button pushing is still necessary sometimes.


Sounds like your hairy ass is the real problem. Ever considered trimming down there? Dry paper might afford you the illusion of cleanliness, but I guarantee you your bum remains dirty without a thorough washing.


shattaf's (North American salad sprayer but for the restroom) work much better then the Japanese toilets, however I would only want to use one in my residence not a public/work restroom. They are common in Brazil and the Middle East, I think the heat makes being "unclean" a bigger issue.


Both shattafs and bidets (which is the whole separate ceramic apparatus, not just the spray) are common here in Brazil. I always though it was because of bigger French/Islamic influence.


Are bidets really that common in Brazil? I had one in my old home but I don't recall spotting them in new houses or apartments.


That may be right. Maybe the Portuguese brought them over after being influenced by France.


Wow, I've never hear of a shattaf before.

Is incredible aim required, or does it just spray all over and go through a drain in the floor?


It is a fairly simple process, you do it while seated so the water falls into the toilet.


They have more useful features than just the bidet/water stream, such as the heated seat and how they won't slam when you close the lid.


Just an FYI, Toto sells regular toilets in the US. They come with seats that don't slam. I think Toto also sells seats separately that do that.


There is something wrong with your jet/mud/arm analogy, because it doesn't translate the real life results. The size, location, mobility, etc. make a difference.

Also, these toilets come with a warm air dryer as well.

I also saw them for the first time at Google, and then I bought one for home. It saves a ton of waste and you'll be and feel cleaner afterwards.

Granted, it does take a little more time to exit after you are done. But, if people were really in a hurry why would they keep a magazine/book by the toilet?


I must disagree -- in my experience, the jet/mud/arm analogy translates precisely into real life results.

Also, should you find an additional paper pass to be necessary, you'll find it complicated by the fact that the area to be wiped is now wet. Toilet paper notoriously doesn't hold up well when soaking wet.


Dunno, perhaps the brand makes a difference. Ours is Brondell. You need just a couple of pieces of toilet paper after the warm air dryer if any.

Also, the warm seat, warm water, warm air changes the whole thing, especially in winter.

For something that you will use every day, if you appreciate the advantages, I think $500 is an acceptable price.


Then - imagine if you put mud on a place with hair!

Sounds like you just answered the question of why these are popular in Japan but not in America.

Doesn't explain their popularity in Europe, though.


No, they definitely don't replace toilet paper. But they can make it so you don't have to use nearly as much.


you're doing it wrong.


Americans, by and large, are quite bizarre when it comes to discussing anything that takes place below the belt.

When I mentioned working at Google, I have had multiple people say to me, "I heard the founders at Google are OBSESSED with toilets and import special models from Japan." As if one has to be stark raving mad to use a modern toilet from Japan, instead of the old fashioned toilet which was probably imported from China anyway.


From what I read on the internet 25-40% of people out there seem to stand up to wipe.. and I have to believe that's largely due to people never discussing how they use the restroom.


No, they stand because that part of the world is used to squatting when they go to the bathroom. The "toilet as throne" model is from the west. Over there, historically, toilets are built into the floor. The toilet bowl is a rounded-rectangle depression in the floor rather than something that sticks out of it. You stand with one foot on either side of the bowl and squat while you do your business.

I prefer Western toilets (I'm American), but think the squat-strategy has a lot of sense to it: you never touch anything, and the squat position angles your body "just right" if you know what I mean. It's just a bit awkward for us (Westerners) when you're not used to holding that body position, though.

There, now I can cross off "get into public internet discussion of pooping strategy" from my life goals list. :)


Squatting is the anatomically correct position for a bowel movement; it straightens out the kink in the colon and makes the whole process more efficient. It's also supposed to be better for bowel health -- leads to less straining and fewer hemorrhoids and such.

To that end, there are several companies out there that sell stepstools designed to allow squatting with western toilets. The first one I saw was the Lilipad, made in New Zealand, and more recently a company called Squatty Potty has started making them in the US.


When I first started using toilets on my own I stood to wipe. Eventually I figured out that I could remain seated.

This was on a western toilet.


I've transitioned into a bit of a hybrid strategy. Sit for the broad strokes, stand for the detail work.


HN is truly insightful today ;).


Leg and arm fat is also part of this equation. Many people can't really to a full job while sitting.


I've never personally used a Japanese toilet, so I'm genuinely interested: if you say your feet are to either side of the bowl, where do your lowered pants end up? Won't they be in the way?


I've been using them for a year in Japan, so there: You don't sit squarely on them (I don't know where you got the notion that your feet are on either side of the bowl), your feet are in front of the bowl, with the lowered pants in between. The pants are obviously below the opening of the bowl, so they don't get in the way.


I don't know where you got the notion that your feet are on either side of the bowl

From the parent.

You stand with one foot on either side of the bowl and squat


This has been discussed many times on Reddit, and there are many, many people in the USA who stand up to wipe.


Is there an easier way to wipe?


Easier is subjective. The alternative OP is suggesting is sitting on the toilet and reaching between your legs. Personally, I find it easier to stand up, bend over and reach from behind.


Nay. Reaching between your legs? I'd honestly never even thought that was an option.

You just lean to the side, while seated. Just try it once, and keep an open mind.


But that will put asymmetric stress on the toilet seat. As an engineer, wearing out one side of the seat more than the other bothers me.


Rotate your tires, as it were.


Well it's my understanding that it's more hygienic for women to wipe front to back, which is easier to do when you're not still sitting on the seat.


Lot's of people also don't look at the toilet paper after they wipe, to be sure they got everything. I believe this also stems from people not discussing their bathroom habits.


While I agree that Americans are especially prude, its not like these toilets are noticeable more common in Europe. Of course the French have their bidet...


>Of course the French have their bidet...

I'm French- there's a bidet at my grandparents' house which is never used, and there used to be one at my parents' house but they removed it when they remodeled the bathroom because they never used it (it was there when they bought the house).

I've only ever used a bidet to wash my feet (or as kids, we would put our swimsuits in it to dry). I'm not even sure what its original purpose is.


Spanish here. I agree, we use the bidets basically for washing our feet too.

The original purpose was for women and their period... those kind of things on a time in witch using large quantities of water inside the building(for shower) was not that common(shower needs high water pressure too).


It's for washing your nether regions.


The original purpose is to squirt water at your anus to loosen any left over faecal matter.


The bidet becomes increasingly rare, although there's an obvious reason why: it takes real estate.

In india, they have a dedicated cup and tub near the floor. A godsend for the many visitors catching turista: you can only sustain so much dry wiping before getting a serious rash...


Here in Uruguay most houses have a bidet too (since we copy the Spanish model), and I find it very useful.

It's purpose is similar to that of the Japanese toilet, though way more primitive - the Japanese solution takes less space and is more advanced generally, but way more expensive.


Regarding prudishness, there is actually some stuff up thread about how Americans are less shy about bodily noises.


$15 in parts from your local hardware store gets you the basic tools you need to build a water-powered hygiene system.

All you need is the "spray head" with flexible hose [0], plus the adaptor to make a kitchen part fit the bathroom piping (for some reason, kitchen and bathroom have non-interchangeable parts).

You hang it on a hook next to the toilet, and you use it to clean yourself. I cannot live without these, and I intensely regret any overnight trips to a hotel or other place that does not have such an amenity. I regularly recommend and sometimes even buy and install these for friends and family.

The USA is still living in the dark ages when it comes to some parts of self-hygiene.

0: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21PJ48yqYmL._SL500_AA3...


This is how they do it in Thailand, at least. Basically, imagine the sprayer in your kitchen sink attached to your toilet.

In areas without (edit: running) water, they'll have a bucket of clean water nearby with some sort of cup to use. I've heard this is pretty common in SE Asia.


Yup!

And people eat with their hands a lot too. This is why its considered disgusting to eat with the left hand in many places. Right hand for eating, left hand for washing your ass.

One of the benefits of having travelled a lot in Asia is you will never again be phased by running out of toilet paper.


People in SE Asia don't eat with their hands, you must be thinking about Central/South Asia. Spray cleaning really isn't that bad, you should be washing your hands after anyways.


No, we (Thai, Laos, and Cambodian) do eat with our hands. Chopsticks were a cultural import from the Chinese.


Really? I never saw anyone eating with their hands in SE Asia, well, anything but street food. Its hard to eat a rice or noodle dish with your hands, especially without bread!

Genuinely curious.


Rice based dishes are remarkably easy to eat by hand (it is extremely common in South India, see http://migrationology.com/2012/01/how-to-eat-with-your-hands... for a video), but your point holds true for noodles.


I know people eat with their hands in south/central Asia (including Burma), as well as in Muslim areas (Malaysia/Indonesia), I just never saw that in Tai areas of SE Asia. Well, you learn something everyday I guess.


We usually eat using our right hand when it involves rice. Otherwise we use spoon & fork.


Nice to know! Too bad I'm left handed :(


Go to more rural areas and villages, such as north east thailand (Issan, etc).


My wife grew up in Malaysia, eating mostly with her hands. Hand, rather, normally the right, but the practicality of this is not (no longer?) related to toilet hygiene -- more just that it's really useful to keep one hand clean to pick up your glass, hold serving dishes and implements, etc.. She was raised to be rather more hygienic than I was, interestingly, and has rules that I still forget and break occasionally.

Nowadays many people are westernized enough that they have switched to eating w/ utensils (either chopsticks or fork/spoon, depending on type of cuisine, and the Chinese segment of the population have been using chopsticks all along), but eating with the hands is still quite common.

The houses where I've spent time in Malaysia had western toilets but often with a bucket & cup or sprayer for cleaning; toilet paper sometimes also present, but not always.


Fazed. Sorry, it's not spelling, it's a different word.


Thanks for clearing that up. Apparently, it is a common misconception that it is 'phase' and 'faze' is the incorrect spelling: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/faze


Can someone point me to a product (preferably on Amazon) that's exactly like the sprayers in Thailand? One that can be screwed into a toilet's water supply, not a kitchen sink's.


As long as it says "bidet" and mentions the toilet and sells in the US, it'll have the connections for the toilet's water supply. Basically, these kind of bidets "man-in-the-middle" the water output from the wall to the toilet reservoir.

In my estimation water pressure seems to be higher in the US (maybe just because I'm in a big apartment and pressure is higher to compensate for altitude). What this means is that it will take some time to adjust to the.. um.. high pressure cleaning. Also beware that pressure cleaning yourself in the middle of january with near freezing water is an experience that will.. wake you up in the morning. It'll be awkward for the first week, but after then you'll be a pro.

EDIT: I think it's worth mentioning that the bidets in thailand tend to be kitchen sprayers. For a more ideal situation you want something with a more focused and narrow beam width, so to speak. The bidet I have is like that, but I haven't been able to find it on amazon after a quick search..


The kitchen sprayers work well for me because you can adjust the pressure by squeezing. The best situation would obviously be to have it hooked up to a heater water supply with the ability to adjust the heat (like a bath/shower). I was able to have this kind of setup rigged in our bathroom in China where it's not uncommon to have random pipes coming out of the walls.


It sounds like people are describing what are caller diaper sprayers:

http://www.amazon.com/bumGenius-890077002003-Diaper-Sprayer/...

But I wouldn't want to use these on a person, the water pressure and flux area are too large.


The handheld toilet sprayer is called a "shattaf" in the Eastern world.

http://brondell.com/blog/washing-with-water-around-the-world...


I saw a lot of those in Dubai. I have used a toilet such as the one in the article and the "UI" was less than intuitive. Because there were so many buttons, it took me a few tries to figure out how to turn on the water and the drying fan, and it had too many moving parts. Sometimes simple is better.


You aren't feeling like doing this yourself, several companies make systems like this for cleaning cloth diapers before dropping them in the pail.

http://www.handyspray.com/Cloth-Diaper-Sprayer.html


It should also have a vacuum breaker, which is required by code. Massachusetts plumbing code is typical:

>Approved backflow preventers or vacuum breakers shall be installed with any plumbing fixture or equipment, the potable water supply outlet of which may be submerged and which cannot be protected by a minimum air gap.


very common in south asia and the middle east too.


How does one go about cleaning these? It always seemed to me that, if the nozzle got dirty, then they could cause more problems than they solve. Especially (to quote the article) if it's spraying the "female genital area." If there's any bacteria on that nozzle, and since it's been in a toilet for any number of years I'd guess there might be, surely there'd be a risk of it causing UTIs and the like?


Ever since I tried a Toto in Japan, I've become fascinated with these bidet seats, and have since become an expert on them, after building my own bidet seat review blog and bidet seat store to resell Brondell products (which are among the top brands). I've learned that most of the top end bidet seats have complex nozzle retraction and sanitization systems. The Brondell Swash 1000 we sell has stainless steel nozzles treated with "silver oxide nano particles" that resist bacteria, and most models have systems that rinse the nozzle before and after each use. The nozzles typically retract when not in use so that they're not in the line of fire of human waste.


A friend of mine has one of these toilets, and the first thing I did before sitting down was look at the nozzle. It was covered in tiny bits of feces. I stuck with the toilet paper.


IIRC some of them have self-cleaning mechanisms. Anyway, I would imagine I would still want to clean once a week with the rest of the toilet.


The US is a notoriously price-sensitive market. For a lot of folks, they wouldn't consider paying $1000+ for a toilet when the most basic American Standard can be found for about $125. A lot of people would find it hard to justify an order of magnitude price increase.

I know Boston has a Toto showroom in its North End, but I really cant consider it due to the rules of my apartment building.


I bought a crazy expensive Toto when rebuilding the master bathroom because it was advertised to be quiet. Flushing sounded like you were using depth charges. A stream of plumbers, contractors, and sales reps came to look at the installation and eventually decided Toto must have changed something in that model, and swapped it for a mere mortal toilet that won't wake the entire household at night.

Maybe their brand hasn't earned enough credibility to command the prices.


According to the article, there are devices that could be attached to existing toilet seats that cost 100$ or less. If they do work well (article claims that they have good reviews), then cost is not an issue.


If you read the full article, only the cheapo, probably ineffective solutions cost $100, you're looking more at $500 and up for a good unit.

And if you want a warmer, you'll need a GFCI outlet installed next to the toilet, which most US homes do not have. You'll want a warmer in many areas of the US during the winter.

So you're looking at quite a bit of cash there.

Edit: Please read what I wrote. I'm not saying most US homes do not have a GFCI outlet, period. I'm saying most US homes do not have a GFCI outlet next to the toilet.

Think about what you're saying before commenting. Are you going to permanently run an extension cord from the toilet over to the GFCI near the sink?


It's part of the international, federal, and most state building codes to have GFCI in all bathrooms and kitchens (any place where there is a water fixture). You're right though that most homes do not have an outlet near the toilet.


Most? Maybe it's just because I live in the Northeast, but I've only very rarely seen a bathroom that did not have a GFCI outlet.

(My current apartment has four: two in the bathroom, two in the kitchen.)


And most of them are usually not near a toilet. While the parts are cheap, it's not a trivial matter to install an outlet where one hasn't been planned in a finished room.


I don't think I agree with that. Every home I've lived in has had a GFCI outlet within four feet. (Usually on the side of the sink, next to the mirror. Also usually adjacent to the toilet.)


That, plus they cost about $10 and can be self-installed.


I have the cheaper, no-electricity model ($35 on Amazon) pictured in the article:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001KKRCFA

It gets the job done just fine — I’ve never felt the need for heated water or a blow drier. The head is spring-loaded and retracts when water pressure isn’t being applied. Happy to answer questions if, er, anyone’s curious.

Interestingly enough, they offered to ship me a second one if I wrote a review, any review, on Amazon (I did). I’m guessing they’re trying to raise awareness of these things.


Is it possible to use this without damaging the toilet or any extra issues? I'm thinking about apartment situations in particular.


Yeah, definitely. You install it between the toilet seat and the bowl and connect it to water with a tee between the supply hose and the toilet tank. No permanent changes. It should take about ten minutes to remove it and put everything back to normal.


A single GFCI outlet on a circuit protects all outlets on that circuit: it will interrupt the circuit on a ground fault at any outlet wired in parallel. It is customary if not universal for the GFCI outlet to be closest to either the entrance to the room or the sink (often both). In such a case the fact that the outlet nearest the toilet doesn't appear to be a special GFCI receptacle isn't actually a problem.


Correction: a single GFCI outlet on a circuit protects all outlets on the load side of the GFCI outlet. A GFCI cannot sense a ground fault on the line side.

If you want to protect an entire circuit with one GFCI outlet, it must be the first on the circuit.


This is an important correction; I upvoted.

However, it does confirm that the normal outlet by the toilet, protected as it is by the single GFCI outlet in the restroom (assuming the electrician wasn't as foolish as I was above) doesn't need to be replaced by a new GFCI outlet in order to plug in a fancy toilet seat.


And if you want a warmer, you'll need a GFCI outlet installed next to the toilet, which most US homes do not have.

Am I the only one here who would install it myself?


I would love a Toto toilet... but I cannot comprehend the price. We're talking about some tubes and pipes. That's doesn't cost $1000. Why someone can't produce their $1200 washlet for $50 is beyond me.


Sounds like a good market to tackle, let us know when you're done. :)


How long does a toilet last? Ten years?

Then we are talking less than the cost of your internet connection (and we won't mention the cost of food, which is way more than that).


Well I don't think people spend enough time on the toilet to justify an extra cost (save maybe IBS and toilet readers/surfers).

And right now toilets are fully functional for most people, mine aren't uncomfortable to me and are easy to clean and most repairs can be done quite easily yourself. Adding technology to that sounds like trouble and would likely require calling out a plumber to fix things.


Ten minutes a day on the toilet is 60 hours each year. Over 80 years, that's 200 days of your life.


The tank and bowl itself will last 30-40 years no problem. There are no moving parts to the porcelain.

The valves and seals may need replacing, and the bowl should be kept clean to avoid staining, but I've never heard of someone replacing the entire unit every 10 years.


In California most toilets are newer- water shortages compelled upgrades.


>Then we are talking less than the cost of your internet connection

Not if you consider the time value of money, which you should do when making any cost comparison.


You can say that about almost anything, then. Your bedroom door: why not throw a thousand at it? You open and close it frequently, and that tiny squeak is ever so annoying. If you greased the hinge it would go away for a few months, but still, how long does a door last? Ten years?

Now substitute toilet for door, and wiping for greasing. Or sink, and running out of room or not having the nozzle high enough or having scratches. Do this a couple times and congrats, you've just paid enough for most Americans to buy a car - which is more important?


The problem is that most people really don't think a fancy toilet would be any better than a normal one. Maybe even worse, based on the fancy and expensive low-flow toilets they've seen that don't work well. It's not a "pain point". So why would you spend any money on it at all?


That's mostly irrelevant. What you have to consider is the opportunity costs of forgoing food or internet compared the opportunity cost of settling for an 'old-fashioned' toilet. For me, at least, the former are much cheaper.


But we focus more on the up-front costs rather than the cumulative costs. Think about the cell phone market - how many people will be happy to get a free phone, only to be subject to $50-100 monthly bill for 2 years.


Hey now, I'd have a Toto toilet if my apartment would let me install one. Problem is, they won't, because they don't want to deal with it when I move out.


I might in the paranoid minority on this, but here are some concerns I have:

* How does the toilet know that everything is clean? With toilet paper, you can just wipe with new toilet paper until there is no more residue.

* What is the algorithm for the toilet's spraying? Does it end up spreading diluted feces around, or is it careful to spray outward-in?

* What happens if feces end up on the nozzle? Is there some kind of auto-cleaning mechanism? Otherwise it might end up spraying old feces back to me.


- It's like washing your hands vs. wiping them off with a paper towel. You should wipe clean first, then you water clean.

- The sprayer is manually controlled: when you're done using and flushing, then you wash & dry. It doesn't just stick out the whole time.


When I was a child (living in an Asia), we had a separate toilet and a bidet (side by side). The awkward part was moving between the two. Even with that separation, accidents can happen (i.e. feces in the bidet). I wonder if the single Japanese toilet is superior to two separate seats (toilet + bidet) in regards to hygiene.


Oh man I feel your pain. My family had one of those here in Brazil and I hated when this happened. Anyway I do not live in the house I was raised anymore and now every modern apartment in Brazil only have a toilet, this is sad for me.


Got it, thanks. I can see how it'd be cleaner, but I suspect most people are in blissful denial as to their filthy ways :)

Is there a cover for the sprayer, so that it's protected from splatter while you're excreting?


I am not sure of the exact bidet mentioned in the article.

But yes, the SPRAYER is protected from the SPLATTER by a plastic housing. It(the sprayer) kind of lowers to spray only when you turn the knob.

This is the one that I have and it works suprisingly well: http://www.amazon.com/LUXE-Bidet-Vi-110-Non-Electric-Mechani...

Having said that, The plastic cover housing of the sprayer itself might get soiled in cases of extreme explosion (i.e after mexican lunches etc haha) in which case I had to use some TP to clean the mess up.

I found this bidet (mentioned above) the easiest to use.

- Easy to install (5 - 10 min) - Small footprint (doesnt include the cover so a lot cheaper) and fits most of the commodes - Pretty much no touch mechanism - turn knob and you are done ( drying with TP optional)


Regarding the sprayer, the question is not necessarily what happens to it when it's not spraying water... when the nozzle is in the process of spraying you, it's unavoidable that some of the contaminated splatter goes back into the nozzle.

Anyone who uses that toilet will inevitably share the germ cultures from one another's feces. That doesn't strike me as very sanitary.


Unless you can poop at a higher pressure than the stream of water exiting the nozzle, the poop isn't going to work back in there.


You ever spray a hose away from you and get hit with the splatter? Imagine spraying the hose up to clean the underside of a gutter. Can you imagine getting hit with splatter? Can you imagine the hose getting hit with splatter? Can you imagine the rim of the nozzle getting hit with splatter?


Sure, the outside of the nozzle/arm will get by splatter, just like the rest of the toilet bowl. But the nozzle rim and interior will remain splatter free because of the jet of water. Any surface where particles can touch the stream will be washed clean by the stream.

This is no different to the splashback that can occur when poop hits the bowl water (water that's been touching the splattered sides of the bowl).

It's no grosser than a regular toilet, and your butt will be cleaner.


The wands that spray you are almost always are self-cleaning.


So they have some sort of disinfection process like a chemical or heating element? UV? What does "self-cleaning" mean?


Meaning that cross-person fecal contamination should probably not be one of your major concerns. The nozzle does some sort of intense rinsing. I don't know about sterilization.


I love that half the comments here say to wipe first, and the other half say to wet first.


When I went to Japan and used the public toilets there, the nozzles would first go through an auto-cleaning process when you sat down.


Good, that would help with my fear. But then again, what's the algorithm of their cleaning. How does it know for sure it's clean? Honestly us Americans can be messy. I can only image what it would be like using one of these at Walmart, a public rest stop or even your infamous Gas Station restroom (if you want to even call those restrooms).


Algorithms for the toilets spraying, Only on HN :D


They explain it at least the first part, saying most people still use a little toilet paper for drying (and presumably checking)


Ah, missed that - thanks.


* What happens if urine splatter ends up in the nozzle? How easy is it to clean urine splatter off the controls?


My wife dragged me to an appliance shop in the Mission (SF) and they had a toilet like this in their bathroom. At first I was shocked and appalled at how forceful the stream of water was - especially as I had it on the 'low' setting. Then I became aware of how long it was spraying because after 30 seconds I had to turn it off. With the combination of these two (and the heated dryer), I didn't have any problems.


Most of the ones I used had two settings for temp and two settings for power of stream. A few of them had an angle setting as well. You just press and held a button until you felt clean, then used toilet paper to dry off.


I thought about your last question the moment I tried these washlets. It just seems (to me) physically impossible to design a mechanism to prevent that from happening.


The odd thing is, in Turkey we universally have a nozzle on the back of the toilet that just is a stream of water that falls in an arc forwards. You control it from a tap on the side, on the wall. You turn on the stream and then angle yourself onto it, or wet your toilet paper a bit when wiping.

Way less toilet paper (just to wipe&dry at the end), cleans way faster, your bum is not itchy, and it costs nothing. The toilet bowls come with this.

I hate American toilets. This can't just be a Turkish quirk, right?


Nope. Reading the comments, anywhere BUT the United States you can get some form of water cleaning - Southern Europeans and South Americans have Bidets - Northern Europeans have Bidet Showers (well, Germans have the shelf thing) - Asians have these toilets (saw posts claiming about Korea, India and Japan)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bidet http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bidet_shower


The US population seems rather stubborn regarding toilet habits. This is anecdotal, but I knew a guy who interned about a decade ago with a company that produces a lot of toilet paper here in the US. He told me that they had internally developed forms of "wet" toilet paper that were pretty much superior to the dry kind in every way (think of the difference in trying to clean off your hands with a dry paper towel and a wet wipe of some kind), and IIRC they thought they could produce them in a way that wouldn't cause a substantial price hike, but whenever they did tests consumers almost universally hated the feeling, and regardless of how much better/easier they cleaned, they basically refused to consider them. Which is a shame, since dry paper really isn't the best cleaning tool...


One obvious problem: room temperature wet things are kind of cold when you put them down there.


Bizarre. I always first wipe with some wet toilet paper and then use dry for the finish.


I recently started using a squat toilet. Never has number two gone so well. Apparently it's the position we're best designed for. Provides a great hip flexor stretch too.

I use a lillipad: http://www.lillipad.co.nz/

It converts any normal toilet into an optional squat toilet. I don't think it would work with these warm-water jet toilets though.

If you have any issues with your bowel movements (constipation, diarrhea, both), you owe it to yourself to try a squat toilet.


I already posted about this upthread, but now I'll post with a link:

http://www.squattypotty.com


Here's another similar product http://www.naturesplatform.com/


They sent me a 'sorry, we have to much business to sell you anything' message.

I suggested they raise prices to a level that would let them sell more. Never heard anything back.


While I find bidet toilets incredibly useful, I don't understand why this is such a sudden revelation. The French invented these toilets in the 18th century: they were/are in wide use in Europe, middle east, and I've even encountered a few in Canadian hotels (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bidet). Is there something fundamentally different about Japanese bidets (other than integration into the toilet itself)?


I think the main difference is that the Japanese toilet is paperless. From the wikipedia page:

> In 1980 the first "paperless toilet" was launched in Japan, a combination toilet and bidet which also dries the user after washing.

The bidet often required something separate to dry after cleaning, so the difference seems to be integration with the toilet plus the dryer (heated seat optional).

On another note, on a recent trip to Korea, I noticed that many homes had these toilets (mentioned on wikipedia article). The article seems to imply that they are unique to Japan, when they're actually popular almost everywhere outside of the US.


Eh, they're not popular in Europe either.


Try using a toilet in Germany. Without being too crass, you deposit your excrement onto a dry shelf, whereupon it may be inspected, or not, and then a rush of water slides it off the shelf to its destination.


They have really advanced toilet seats in some public bathrooms, though! Totally different angle to the Japanese - some of the toilets I used in Germany rotated the entire seat 360 degrees through a cleaning mechanism. Very hygienic!


1. Uses less water 2. No splash back


Also it is designed to facilitate stool examination, as it was invented when huge dysentery epidemics spread through Europe.


3. Smells worse.


This cannot be understated. They smell really bad. Have a friend who lived in Prague and his bathroom wasn't ventilated and he had a german shelf-toilet. Day after a big drinking session, it was unusable since the room smelt so bad.


Double plus for no splashback. I don't get how people can suffer through this. I hate so much being splashed by dirty toilet water. And this happens like 50% of times for me while using non-german style toilet.



Thanks. Up until 10 seconds ago, my memories of those had been nearly completely purged.


You only find those toilets in many decades old bathrooms.


I never understood the point of those things...


I saw that in Spain, too.


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