a toilet story – part 1

When I came to Japan for the first time 15 years ago, I was mesmerized by the Japanese toilets, not so much by their design as by their functions. In Sweden I was growing up having a toilet with a pull up handle to flush; when I grew older we got a state of the art toilet with ecoflushing as well (using a smaller amount of water when flushing). Enough to say that I started to dream of having a Japanese toilet of my own. And as is sometimes said – dreams do come true; now I live in a house with not only one but two fancy toilets, and to give them their well deserved proper attention, I will need to focus on one part at a time, so today I will put the spotlight on the biggest luxury of our house.

We live in a well-built house with triple glass windows and insulation, meaning that it is possible to have a comfortable indoor climate with little cost for heating and cooling, weather it is 35 degrees plus or minus 2 outside. Before moving here, when we were living in our little one room apartment in Tokyo, my favorite place during winter was the kotatsu (read here), the table with a heater underneath and an oversized tablecloth to keep the heat under the table trapped for the benefit of cold legs and freezing feet during winter days in a single glass window room. Of course I still love the kototsu, but I must confess that our new toilet has taken its place as my favorite spot when it is cold outside.

In Tokyo we had no fancy toilet in our coldish apartment; here in Fukuoka we live in a warm house, except for the bathroom where there is no heating so it gets quite cold when the temperature outside creeps down towards the zero mark. In comes the toilet – the seat has heating. Living in an energy efficient house, caring about the energy we use, it feels a little bit strange to have a heater in the toilet seat, but considering the increased quality of life it has bestowed us (and there is an eco-mode), the toilet seat heater is the one luxury we do not want to give up.

The other night it was colder than usual, and when I sat down I landed on a stone cold toilet seat. So used to the warm seat was I, that I got a real shock and almost jumped up from the seat. Of course our little baby had been there pushing buttons turning off the heating without me knowing. It is a good thing that there is no water spraying from the seat if no one is sitting on it – otherwise we would have a constant flooding danger in our bathroom. But more on that next time.

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