I had my first encounter with the Japanese Wonder Toilet at the Tokyo airport. It was love at first sight!
It looked like any other toilet except for the plastic control panel dotted with big round buttons sticking out on one side. I stared at the options. The first featured a drawing of a curved line with a spray of water below it. I grew up in Europe, so the bidet ritual was no news to me. Who would choose to use it in a public restroom was another question. All in all, it seemed pretty standard toilet fare except for the music button. Now, that took the whole bathroom experience to another level! I pressed it, hoping for some Led Zeppelin to wake me up after the long flight but got the gurgling sound of a mountain brook instead. Looks can be deceiving alright!
Still, everything was fine and dandy until it was time to flush. I scanned the control panel. There were buttons for anything and everything one could imagine (and beyond) but none that indicated flushing. How could that be? It took all my strength to restrain myself from pressing on the buttons in a frenzy. Finally, I put the toilet seat down and discovered an old fashioned manual lever hiding behind it.
Oh, well, nobody is perfect.
Then I met the Wonder Toilet in my hotel room. Every time I walked into the bathroom, the seat would lift on its own with a soft purr, then close after I left. How sophisticated! How classy! And then there was the control panel. Whoever said size didn’t matter was one damn liar. Although, I agree—there is big and there is too big. This particular control panel had about five times as many buttons as the airport one did, including three for flushing. As far as I knew, there were only two functions that could take place in a bathroom, but I am not one to complain about extras.