Thursday, September 23, 2010


Yesterday was officially the first day of autumn. It was rainy and chilly the entire day, and last night, I had to wear long sleeves and pants to bed for the first time in months.

I realized that pretty soon, it will be time to plug in the toilet again.

Most toilets in Japan (or at least in Nagano-ken) are actually Warmlets, a toilet with a built-in seat warmer. You plug it in, adjust the heat level, and enjoy.

At first, I thought that a toilet seat warmer sounded like some superfluous luxury, like something a lazy king would have in his palace. But then I lived through a winter in the Japanese Alps. There is nothing quite as unpleasant as sitting on an icy toilet seat when it`s so cold in your house that you can see your breath.

Most places in Japan don`t have air conditioning or central heating. In the winter, you dash from the warm-ish area of your house, usually heated by a kerosene heater, to the bathroom, where your only relief is the warm toilet seat.

The Warmlet is a way that they try to compensate for the fact that the rest of your house is freezing. At least your ass can be warm for a moment, even if the rest of you is shivering. It`s just another example of how the Japanese perfect inventions that you didn`t even know you wanted.

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