They say you’ll spend about three years on the toilet over the course of your life. If that seems excessive to you, then a) you aren’t paying attention (which is understandable!) and b) you’re likely the North American owner of a boring commode. The basic, utilitarian design of the flush toilets we use today hasn’t changed much since they were invented in 1775.
But in the Land of the Rising Sun, they’ve mastered the art of the bog. Since leading brand Toto introduced its Washlet in the ’80s, technologically advanced toilets have been the norm in Japan — maybe you’ve tinkered with one on a work trip to Tokyo. They’re in over 75 per cent of households. They boast heated seats, bidet functions, and built-in massagers. Some even come with air purifiers. Now, Toto — armed with a new line of miracle toilets called Neorest — is stepping up efforts to civilize Western washrooms with its latrine-based hedonism.
It’s a wonder we don’t all own smart toilets already. They should be a no-brainer on this side of the pond, given how much money we gladly spend automating every other corner of our homes. Bill Strang, president of operations for Toto USA, blames the West’s late adoption on its general squeamishness about all things excremental.
“When it comes to talking about visiting the bathroom, people here get hesitant,” he says. “But the minute you sit down and test drive this thing, you’ll never go back to just toilet paper again.”
He’s got a point: after trying the Neorest 750H, the notion that a dry wad of two-ply is enough seems ass-backwards. Once you’ve done your business, the Neorest’s spray nozzle gives you a thorough rinse, while a remote control allows you to adjust the stream’s temperature (from spring-rain cool to Jacuzzi hot) and pressure (from gentle to invigorating). For extra comfort, you can make the water oscillate and pulsate, or turn up the seat’s warmth. The toilet then gives you a soothing blow dry, lubricates the bowl (to prevent staining), and flushes automatically. It even closes the lid behind you (i.e. saves your marriage).
Consider it an opulent spa for your behind.
Lately, more North Americans have been going with Toto’s flow, from famous athletes (Steph Curry) to famous bullshitters (the Kardashians). The company says toilet sales, in the last few years, have grown in the West by 20 per cent annually.
Perhaps it’s got to do with a growing cultural acceptance of discussing our bathroom habits, the same way we track and talk incessantly about our diets and fitness regimes. More likely, we can chalk it up to the obvious: using a hands-free, Jetson-ized john feels damn pleasant. It’s the kind of thing you won’t want to live without.
Three years, after all, is a long time on the can. Might as well be a good time.
Leave The Rest(room) to Us
Here’s how to automate everything else in your bathroom.
Withings Smart Body Analyzer
This Wi-Fi scale gives your weight, your BMI, the weather, and enough guilt to hold off on that Egg McMuffin. $150
Kohler Moxie Showerhead
Equipped with a built-in Bluetooth speaker, so you can get your shower showtunes on. $210
Crosswater Digital Duo
Lets you operate your shower and bathtub remotely, so the water’s nice and scalding when you get home. $520
Tech2O Cyber Mirror
Part mirror, part 46- inch HD TV, part touch- screen Internet portal, so you can flip through emails while combing your hair. $6,600