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James May on the wonder of Japanese toilets

‘You can judge a nation by its toilets’

Toilets are the great leveller. The great leveller. From the mightiest Pharaoh to the lowliest peasant, who doesn’t enjoy a good trip to the toilet? That bastardised Mr. Burns quote aside, toilets are universal.

We’ve all used one, regardless of how high tech the toilet in question was. Some people care a little more about the kind of toilet they use however, and place a large amount of importance on them.

One such person is James May, presenter of The Grand Tour and host of a brand new Amazon Prime show called Our Man In Japan, which sees him travel to the country for three months to learn as much as he can about it.

One thing he learned about, and loved, was Japanese toilets, which he told JOE about in depth.

Japanese come from a very clean culture.  And what better way to stay clean, than to use water to clean yourself?  A Japanese toilet seat (also known as a bidet toilet seat) is an electronic toilet seat which uses water to wash you after using the restroom.  But they come with a lot of other features too such as:

  • Built in water heater
  • Warm air dryer
  • Heated toilet seat
  • Auto open/close lid
  • Night light

Japanese toilet seats can be found all throughout Japan.  They are in approximately 80% of homes, and are also very common in hotels, restaurants, train stations, and other public places.  It’s activated by pressing the WASH button on the control panel (or remote control). This will extend a wash nozzle beneath you and start the wash feature. When done washing, press the STOP button – the wash nozzle will then rinse itself off and retract back into the toilet seat.  Nothing touches you except water.

There are several advantages of using a Japanese toilet seat.  For one, using water to wash yourself is certainly more effective and more hygienic than using dry toilet paper.  Did you know toilet paper is dyed to make it white in color, and often contain perfumes and other chemicals?  Not to mention it’s abrasive.  Using a refreshing stream of water is the best way to clean your body.  Water is also a lot more comfortable.  And because these high-tech seats come equipped with a warm air dryer, it can be a totally hands-free experience.

 James May: Our Man In Japan will be available on Amazon Prime Video on Friday 3rd January.

Click here for more information about “Our Man in Japan”.

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