The Japanese Toilet (Toire)

No, stop thinking in French! It’s pronounced “toy-ray”, an informal way of saying toilet in Japan, and is quite the phenomenon. Starting in the 1980s, the automatic bidet toilet seat was invented and rapidly gained popularity. Travel to Japan (outside of pandemic times) and you’ll find a high-tech toilet in most homes and hotels. These toilets are equipped with multiple nozzles which come out to wash the nether regions, a concept foreign to many Westerners, but more widespread in Asian countries. These things come packed with seat heaters, deodourisers, blow dryers, and even music players.

The nozzle on a Toto Washlet (Robert Basic, Wikimedia Commons)

Once you’ve tried one, it’s hard to return to civilian life. They really are the future of toilet technology. And precisely because of our experience in Japan, we were compelled to get our hands on one. The company we bought from is Washloo who are based in Holywell, North Wales. They had a reasonable reputation and were purported to have a good customer service record. This is helpful whenever you run into issues during installation – there’s almost always a snag, even minor, and having a responsive point of contact in the company always helps.

The toilet seat came well packaged alongisde a box of hardware and accessories for installation. The principle is straightforward: tee off the water supply to the toilet cistern and connect it to the seat, then plug in the RCD-protected power supply. This sounds easy, but who has a plug in their bathroom? They need to be located three metres from baths/showers and that’s not possible in my bathroom. I considered drilling through the wall into the adjacent bedroom, but it would have required a junction box, trunking, and wouldn’t have been very neat. I put that thought aside as I struggled to plumb it in.

Access under the sink was awkward (plumbing always seems to be more awkward than any other process) and required some trial and error before…it started leaking. I fitted the tee between the cold water pipe and the water tap but I could not stop a leak from the joint. It should have been a simple process but I tried again and again and couldn’t fit it. After a phonecall to Washloo they suggested a few further things to try, but after a further failure they posted me out a replacement part which worked swimmingly. I have no idea why it was causing such a problem but replacing the tee for a different kind seemed to do the job.

With the water supply fitted, the next step is getting the electrician to come and hook it up. I’ve got it running on an extension at the moment, but hopefully the final setup will be a tad neater.

It’s not going to be for everyone, but it is a fantastic piece of kit, and proof how far ahead the Japanese are in this field. The proof is in the pooping? I’ll stop…

The perfect addition to a gadgety house.

5 responses to “The Japanese Toilet (Toire)”

  1. It’s intriguing that the West seems not to have realised how far they are lagging behind on toilet tech. šŸ˜ What our ancestors will think of our primitive ways…

    Hope you’re keeping well, Adam, and weren’t too adversely affected by recent events.

    1. It’s odd that we welcome gadgets in all the other parts of our lives, but not the bathroom!

      I’m keeping fine, thanks. Just busy with jobs around the house as usual. How are you?

      1. We’ll catch on eventually I expect.

        I’m well too, thanks. Spending more time than ever at home, because my job switched to remote work for the time being.

      2. Would you rather be in the office or working from home? I’ve only spent a few days working at home – it’s sort of difficult when all the stuff you need is not readily transportable.

      3. I think I’d like to split between remote and office work. Working remote does reclaim a lot of lost commute time, but one does definitely miss seeing colleagues and all that.

        I imagine non-desk jobs are not so amenable to remote desktop connections. šŸ˜ Has your work schedule been noticeably busier with recent events?

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