a toilet and a tub

No that isn’t some clever title that really means something else. You asked for it, so here you go. The Japanese are serious about toilets and tubs. As you will see below, but require explicit instructions on use. (I apologize for the quality of most of the photos, but I figured an iPhone would do for the details.)

So, yes, this is my toilet in my bathroom. You know things are serious when there are instructions on the inside of the lid and there are indicator lights at the back of the seat.

But before we even get to the technology, let’s take a moment to discuss the tank. Can anyone explain to me why the tank filler would be outside of the tank? I’ve thought about this for a little bit. Maybe it’s so you can see the water? So you know it’s clean? Filling? There? Not sure what the purpose is, but I just see it as limiting my bathroom counter space. And what about the lack of a flush on the toilet? Well, if you look at that little label on the upper right hand corner, it says (in English) that the flush is on the wall. And so it beings…

Yeah…I don’t get it.

Here are the wall instructions. The top is the English explanation for all of the buttons below. From left to right the circular buttons say Stop, Wash, Bidet, and Dry. Yes. Those are you’re options. Please note that the Wash button is blue, indicating this is for men, while the Bidet button is pink for women.  Below the main buttons are two little screens with arrows on either side. These are for water pressure (Wash and Bidet) and water position. The Japanese are NOT messing around.

The flushes are the two tab-like things sticking out. Why two? Weak and Strong. No point in wasting water if you only need a little flush. And the big green button above the flushes. Oh, you know, just in case you need to call the living room. Because it’s a whole five feet away. But the Japanese do not yell, so this makes some sense culturally. That said, I made the mistake of testing this out the first night I got here and could not figure out how to get it to stop calling the living room. And by “calling” I do mean that it calls out…there’s a voice that actually says something over and over again in Japanese. It might have stressed me out a little. Maybe.

Back up on the instructions you’ll note there’s a little picture of another control panel just below the picture of the commode. This is located on the left side of the toilet (as you face it) and is the temperature control. For what, you might ask? For the seat, the water (you know, if you’re going to Wash or Bidet) and the air (if you’re going to dry). Cleanliness is a serious thing here. 
And that concludes our tour of the toilet. Did you know you could take a tour of a toilet? Now you do.
Up next? The tub. But first, I must go workout…
Okay, I’m back. The tub. 
Please note that the tub is contained in a room. This room is a sort of pod. There is a drain both inside and outside of the tub. The entire room is pretty well sealed. What you can’t see to the left is that there is also a mirror. Full length, no less. It’s a good time. What you can see is the shower head which is NOT in a position to shower into the bathtub. Another thing you can’t see? A shower curtain. There isn’t one. Because this room is entirely water proof, there’s not really a need for one. And because it seals completely (I mean, I don’t think it’s air tight or anything, but it’s pretty tight) the air gets and stays warm. 

And just in case it isn’t warm (or cool) enough for you, it has it’s own ventilation system. And that ventilation system doubles and a “dryer” for my “hang dry” items, circulating warm dry air for any where from 10 minutes to hours (not sure how many). And you can set where you want that air to blow, depending on what you need to dry.

And as if that wasn’t enough, here is the control panel for the water heater (there’s a control panel in the kitchen, as well). Here’s what I’ve managed to figure out. I have to turn the water heater on if I want hot water…and if I turn the water heater on, hot water comes pouring out of the a weird nozzle thing in the bathtub (where my American bathtub had a drain in case of overfilling). I’m sure there’s some way to get hot water without having to have water run in the tub, but since I have yet to figure that out, I’ve decided Japan is just trying to tell me I need to relax and take more baths…

And this concludes your tour of my bathroom. I may never leave Japan just for these two things. Well, three things, actually. I now have a washer and dryer (one machine that does both). Life. Changing.

Another quick note on toilets in general (not just mine): the toilets at work (public restrooms, mind you) are just as advanced. Unfortunately, this meant the first time I used one I sat on a hot toilet seat. It was not pleasant. And yes, I meant hot. Like, Arizona poolside hot. It was an interesting introduction to public restrooms in Tokyo…

5 thoughts on “a toilet and a tub

  1. How wacky! What I don't get is the difference between wash and bidet. I have a theory about the tank filler, based on my knowledge of African bathroom habits. They clean themselves by pouring water from a cut off water bottle or a teapot (the poor man's bidet) and getting rid of any stubborn spots with their left hand. So, perhaps the tank filler is on the outside just in case you need a quick hand rinse?

  2. Ummmmm, I want this stuff in my NY studio. For reals. AWESOME.And I totally chuckled out loud at the image of you pushing the call button and not knowing how to turn it off. Lol.Thanks for the tour.

  3. I'm loving the blog-it provides my daily chuckle or 2. Thanks for letting us be a part of your Japanese experience-especially the potty part-truly Andersen style

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