Commentary: Luxurious lavatories in Japan a sign of innovation

Most people, including myself, enjoy those five, 10, or even 20 minutes of sacred time we have each day in that small, bright room accented with mirrors and cleaning supplies. Whether it’s reading the newspaper, cutting your toenails or the usual business, the revered time in the bathroom is nothing less than amazing. But what if our bathrooms had remote-controlled televisions, climate control, heated toilet seating, cellular and internet technology and other neat gizmos? Way over in the land of the rising sun, Japan, bathrooms have many of these luxuries.

There is more to this than luxury. It’s a sign that the American economy needs to be more innovative in an increasing global market. The creativity of the competing foreign concepts is on full display in the washroom.

The Japanese bathrooms feature a “Washlet,” a wireless control panel that offers basic features such as blow dryer control (yes a blow dryer inside the toilet), seat heating, massage options, water jet adjustments, automatic lid opening, flushing after use, heating and air conditioning for the room, included either as part of the toilet, in the seat or on a wall nearby. Even the water temperature can be adjusted, so next time you get that splash back, it may be a smile-inducing, happy awakening. Lastly, toilets come standard with a soap cleansing system that always keeps the toilet Mr. Clean Fresh.

The research and design put into this Washlet isn’t at a standstill; they are currently adding a urine analysis system that measures blood pressure, body fat content, pulse and other medical information based on the chemical analysis of the urine. So next time you’re in a bathroom, think about how nice it could be with an air conditioner and music playing to enlighten your bathroom experience.

The American economy could learn a thing or two, such as the improvement of existing products to better the human environment. With its mechanisms, the Japanese toilet leads to greater health awareness through a solid use of materials. Perhaps we would be better off using our resources on small improvements, such as the toilet, to make life a little easier.

Anything else would be like flushing money down the toilet.

– Jesse Chase is a junior marketing and

finance and insurance major.

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