For what will be the last in the series, I have saved my absolute favorite feature of my mansion to share with you. This might be my favorite thing in all of Japan, and for those that know how many cool things there are in Japan, that is a pretty hefty statement.
Japan is a vast land of gadgets, and its love of buttons, colors and sounds extend to even the most mundane but essential commodity in one’s house. I am referring to one’s toilet, and while you may not think your toilet needs any particular features other than a flush lever, I am here to inform you that couldn’t be more wrong.
When you flush the toilet, you can rinse your hands using the water that will fill the tank. How cleverly ecological! When you sit down for a session, an automatic deodarizer begins operating inside the toilet bowl. How wonderfully practical! But my favorite feature is the heated seat, which so nicely warms my bum in the winter. It’s oh-so-relaxing.
Our Toto toilet has a handle on the side with a variety of buttons. These buttons control the bidet, with separate buttons for boys and girls. You can even control the water pressure and water temperature, if you can manage to read the control panel. Neither I nor Jose have seen fit to employ this feature, mostly because I am afraid of toilet water spraying in my face. From the testimony of knowing friends, the spray can be quite strong. Even public toilets exhibit Japan’s love of buttons, to the point that you can not always immediately determine which button is the flush button. One feature that my toilet does not have but that is frequently seen in public toilets is a music button. It is a button with music notes. When pressed, it plays the sound of rushing water to disguise your use of the toilet. I think Japanese women find it incredibly embarrasing to think others can hear the sounds of them urinating. Before this little feature was invented, women used to instead flush the toilet while going, wasting gallons and gallons of water in public toilets all around the country. Toto, an innovator of toilet technology, saved the day!
Thus, after having become accustomed to such luxury in one’s bathroom, I can never return to the ignorance of a mere plebian toilet. Every other toilet in my lifetime will be compared to this one. And I can easily say that while I strive for a simple lifestyle, my zeal for Francisican living wavers when I think of my beloved Toto toilet. I’ve never found a more underrated comfort than this.
It’s one of the bittersweet moments of moving, leaving things behind that you’ve grown to love. Our mansion was a wonderful refuge, and I’ll always love it as part of my time in Japan. All the little details about the home that confused and delighted me will stay with me – the talking doorbell, the tiny fridge and washer, the balcony view of Yokohama. But somewhere in my future is a Toto toilet. I know it.