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By Pam Burke 

View from the North 40: We're flush with philosophy today

 

February 28, 2020



Do you ever wonder if your priorities should be in the toilet?

In a piece written for National Public Radio, Greg Rosalsky extolled the virtues of Japanese toilets, which are, apparently, miracles of modern technology.

First, and foremost, the toilets have an integrated bidet that, if you don’t already know, gently hoses down your privates after you’re done with your business. They also come with a blow dryer, in case you were puzzling over the same issue I was.

For extra amenities they use water economically; have heated seats; deodorize the air, have white noise machines to sooth your spirit and mask any unsharable bodily noises with the sound of rainfall or waves crashing on a beach; and have optional night lights and music. I don’t know if they have surround sound speakers, but I don’t think it matters because of the one really important thing: The toilets are self-cleaning.

Meanwhile in America, we think having two different flush buttons for two different water amount needs is top-shelf thinking. White for light and blue for poo.

Rosalsky said that Japanese culture places a premium on cleanliness — and going to the bathroom is one of the more germy and disgusting things humans do, so the toilets are luxurious and thorough. Very thorough. He went on to say that in 1980, a toilet manufacturing company called Toto started cashing in on the Japanese people’s obsession with cleanliness by marketing the first dual use toilet-bidet. A full 80 percent of Japanese homes have one of the Toto toilets.

The craze didn’t catch on in the U.S., though, even after Sears & Roebuck stopped printing catalogs in the ’80s. We’re Americans, we’re tough. We don’t need to be washed and fluffed “back there.” We’re content scraping our backsides clean with two-ply wood pulp and pressing a handle or button to pass go.

Besides Rosalsky said a premium Toto toilet in the U.S. would cost upward of $17,000. That’s more than I paid for my pickup.

To really put this bathroom-related cleanliness into perspective, though, we need to take a four-hour flight southwest of Japan to Hong Kong, now the red-headed stepchild of China, where they — I kid you not — still squat over a hole in the floor to do their business. Oh, sure, they have some modern toilets for the tourists, but if you’re going traditional be prepared for the hole in the floor and a trench of flowing water to wash your carefully aimed deposit away.

The residents of Hong Kong have been experiencing shortages of all kinds in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, AFP News said Feb. 17, and two innovative masked men wielding knives stole hundreds of rolls of toilet paper from a delivery van.

This might have been their idea of emergency preparedness, but one woman told AFP that she would’ve stolen face masks. I think I have to side with the TP thieves, though.

There are lots of substitutes for face masks. In fact, I saw a photo of a guy with a feminine napkin stuck over his nose and mouth for protection. Personally, I would’ve chosen a towel, maybe a T-shirt, to tie over my nose and mouth, but I’m not going to knock initiative. You do you, man.

On the other hand, in the age of modern sewer systems, there is no substitute for toilet paper.

Ultimately, though, the Japanese probably have it right.

Give a man a truckload of toilet paper and he’ll wipe his backside for a month, but give a man bidet and he’ll have his backside washed, rinsed and blow-dried for a lifetime – limited lifetime warranty applicable.

——

All I can say is that the water shooting out of that bidet better be warm at 3:30 in the morning at http://www.facebook.com/viewfromthenorth40.com .

 

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