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."
Edit: Not every, of course. And the number would vary by region of the US. Excuse the universal quantifier :)
I don't understand why bidets are fringe :(
This would be such an awesome first-world problems meme :)
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.
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
Anyway, why does that quote compare washing with soap and water? do bidets do this?
Wouldn't this have been the case in Japan in the early 80s too, when Washlets first came to the market?
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.
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...
People with more class and manners tend toward the French way of doing it.
I would much rather be with a person that thinks farts are funny then one who doesn't. To each their own.
"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.
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.
The otohime is a huge water saver, though.
The Japanese diet also probably plays a role......
* Stats from Statistics Bureau, Japan.
If only what you said were true.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Although it does come with a remote (with LCD display), water temperature adjustment, volume control (for your iDevice), warm air-dryer, and air deodorizer.
If it doesn't harm you, and the info is good, why begrudge someone their tiny percentage cut?
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you're not getting an incredibly detailed itemised bill, you might find it tough to spot ~1K extra in 'bathroom furniture and installations'
Maybe it's a Japanese thing. It's like asking why we don't use arabic toilets...
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!
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).
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.)
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'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.
Also some toilets have an air-dryer.
It is kind of nice to have hot air blown up your ass though.
tl;dw: thorougly shake, the wipe with one paper folded once
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Is incredible aim required, or does it just spray all over and go through a drain in the floor?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. :)
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.
This was on a western toilet.
From the parent.
You stand with one foot on either side of the bowl and squat
You just lean to the side, while seated. Just try it once, and keep an open mind.
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.
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).
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...
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.
All you need is the "spray head" with flexible hose , 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.
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.
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.
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.
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..
But I wouldn't want to use these on a person, the water pressure and flux area are too large.
>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.
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.
Maybe their brand hasn't earned enough credibility to command the prices.
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?
(My current apartment has four: two in the bathroom, two in the kitchen.)
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.
If you want to protect an entire circuit with one GFCI outlet, it must be the first on the circuit.
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.
Am I the only one here who would install it myself?
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).
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.
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.
Not if you consider the time value of money, which you should do when making any cost comparison.
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?