Have you ever seen a toilet with a control panel and a user’s guide?

Have you ever seen a toilet with a control panel and a user’s guide?

A few years back as a tour director, I took a group of seniors to Tokyo. In the past, I had traveled by cruise ship. This time it was different; I had a group of seniors, and we were doing a land tour. This time I flew in, and of course after hours of sitting in airports and the plane, all I wanted to do was get my group settled into their rooms and me in mine. A comfortable bed was waiting for me, but before that, I had to meet my group for a welcome dinner.

I wanted to take a quick shower and change my clothes, so I rushed into the bathroom,  clothes flying everywhere, and sat down on the throne. I stopped short at what I saw in front of me: a control panel for the toilet…all in Japanese. Oh crap! I thought. What is this? Where’s the TP?


There I was, naked on the throne without toilet paper and with a user’s guide to figure out — and I had a group of seniors waiting for me in the dining room.

As I sat there panicking, believe me, I was not thinking about the engineering that went into making this contraption. There were eight buttons on this marvel of science — but which one was I supposed to push to just flush it? I took a guess and pushed the first button. A wand appeared and shot a stream of water straight up at my private area…and it had a massage setting. After sitting for so long on the plane, if I had had the time, that might have actually felt good. But I had a group of seniors to think about. So, I pushed the next button. What else could you need? Oh yes, of course: hot air to dry your butt.

There were six more buttons. So I went down the line. How about a … No. It couldn’t be.

By this time I was so intrigued with this space-age toilet that I forgot about my seniors. There were just too many buttons to push, and I still hadn’t found the flush button, but now thanks to this gadget that had more programming than my TV, I did not need the toilet paper.

Now there were five other buttons,  so I still had five choices. My eyes darted back and forth, and finally I decided to go with the only square button. This had to be it. With some measure of anxiety, I pressed it. HOLY SHIT! Now what I do?

Much to my horror, a bright red flashing light came on. I jumped up and grabbed my glasses, and there it was — the only clearly visible word in English: Emergency. I realized with a panic that it must be connected to the front desk. I  jumped up in my birthday suit and rushed to the phone and dialed the front desk. I was greeting with the lulling tones of elevator music, but no one picked up. I could just see it now in the headlines of our Spirit magazine: “Tour Director Found Naked in 5-star Tokyo Hotel.” With the phone still humming in my ear, I heard banging at the door and voices asking, “Mrs. Raney? Are you ok?”

I dived for the bed and grabbed the extra blanket that way lying on top. Just as I was wrapping it around me, the door opened wide and there stood three men from my group who had stopped by to see what all the commotion was about.

With smiles on their faces, they decided it was time to use the brand new Sony camera that they had just bought with my help at the airport and gleefully snapped my photo. I guess it could have been worse: What if the bed had not had the extra blanket? Yikk.

road side bathroomOut of curiosity, I had to find out what the last two buttons did. Plus, I still hadn’t discovered how to flush the damn thing. As it turns out, a flush is not just a flush in Japan.  No no. You can choose a full flush or a half flush, based on the deposit you made. And that last button? It sent a burst of warm scented air infused with a perfume to make your bum smell as fresh as a rose (or was it lilac?). And when I looked at the panel with my glasses on, I could see in teeny tiny letters the instructions in English. Better late than never, I guess.

For anyone interested, now you can purchase this toilet that really is a marvel of science for anywhere from $5000.00  to $20,000 per seat.  I know, I know — it seems like a lot of money. But just think what you get for that $20,000:

  • You can get a seat that senses what you are going to do: stand in front of it and the seat will go up.
  • When you leave, the seat will go down when you are finished. Think about that ladies — no more falling into the toilet.
  • How about a thermostat that controls the temperature of the seat?
  • A built in bidet — Push the appropriate button while sitting, and a wand appears and shoots a stream of water straight up at your butt.
  • Push another and you get a rinse just like a car wash .
  • How about a massage?
  • Push another button and you get a blast of warm air to dry your hiney.

Basically, 20 grand gets you an on-demand spa for your hind quarters. Feeling good!

I guess I wasn’t the only one who had a problem with this modern day wonder. There were a lot of late comers who also did not wear their glasses in the bathroom who had a similar life-changing experience like I did. At dinner, however, no one said anything. But I did see a camera going around the table and people hovering around the screen to look at the pictures. If I’m not mistaken, it was a certain Sony camera.