Wednesday, April 18, 2007


BLAZING TOILETS


The serene Japanese art of toiletics has always been something of an aesthetic experience for those who could afford it; as for example back in the 16th century, Takeda Shingen's lacquered box with gripping bar, set in the floor at the center of a large, calm tatami room (when his task was completed, Shingen shouted "Finished!" to a retainer just outside the door who in turn shouted the command onward like a voice brigade to another retainer who, holding a big bucketful of water, stood at the ready before a lacquered chute and upon hearing the word, dumped the water into the chute, thereby flushing the contents of the lacquered box out into the serene pond in the lovely garden, which may be one reason Shingen changed residences a lot.

Anyway, now that modern Japanese can fork over several thousand bucks for a top-of-the-line shoutless toilet that looks like it could get you to Mars and back (the popular Z series - not sold overseas; you don't know what you're missing over there - features a pulsating massage spray, a power dryer, built-in-the-bowl deodorizing filter, the “Tornado Wash” flush and a lid that opens and closes automatically), and now that so many households can afford at least a simulacrum of the Toiletship Enterprise "To boldly go," etc. (which topic I touched upon in a much earlier post regarding my foray into the Japanese toilet market -- we settled on a Model A), competition for multi-accessory toilet marketshare is steadily intensifying. Is it any wonder then, that in this mad rush to be first in the nation's bathroom - as though this were a house full of teenagers - a manufacturer might overlook a small safety problem that could lead to flaming posteriors?

In hindsight, so to speak, it's easy to criticize Toto, pioneer in hi-tech toilets and a name known to all toilet users in Japan (especially males, who get to stare at the logo) and the maker of the unfortunately blazing toilets, who are offering free repairs to 180,000 toiletships across the nation, after 26 of their sanitary craft overheated and three burst into flame, fortunately while not in use, but it's only a matter of time...

As for me, I'm really not interested in getting to Mars.

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2 comments:

Annette said...

If you feel like exploring the subject matter still further, you could try this episode of excess baggage:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/excessbaggage/index_20061209.shtml

Hope you're happy with your Model A!

Robert Brady said...

Will do, Annette; thanks. And yes, nothing like the good old trusty Model A!