One of the most valuable features of our humble blog is keeping you up-to-date on the latest news in toilet technology. Our last post on this topic was Hey Discoveroids — Here’s Real Intelligent Design, about dazzling developments in Japanese bathroom facilities. A year before that we wrote The Latest News in Toilet Technology, about the Toilet Fair in New Delhi, India.
Today, at PhysOrg, we read No loo-sers as Japan holds toilet design contest. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Japan is holding its first ever toilet design contest, with organisers looking for “most comfortable”, “cheapest for the developing world” and “safest for women”, officials have said.
Worthy goals indeed! Then we’re told:
In a bid to find the nation’s loveliest lavatories, a government panel is seeking applications that prove designers are thinking big about the littlest room. The initiative comes as Tokyo appears to have grasped the soft-power potential of the country’s high-tech toilets, whose seat warmers and pinpoint bidet jets amaze foreign visitors.
Jets? M’god — who wants a toilet that offers a two-way experience? Let’s read on:
“I hope efforts to make the world’s best restrooms in Japan will spread broadly,” Haruko Arimura, minister in charge of women’s empowerment — who is overseeing the project — said in a recent press conference.
We applaud Japan’s efforts to spread broadly. The news continues:
A 145-page report on improving quality of life claims the drive towards better bogs will “empower women” because by “improving comfort, cleanliness and safety, the quality of work and leisure can improve dramatically.”
Your Curmudgeon is embarrassed because until now, we didn’t know that bathrooms could be a source of empowerment for women. If we can get a copy of their report, we won’t make that mistake again. Here’s more:
As well as looking for ideas on how to make environmentally-friendly toilets for use in natural disasters, the competition is asking for ideas on how to make toilets easier for “foreigners and physically disabled people.”
We’re heard of natural disasters in the loo, but the article tastefully doesn’t provide any details. Hey — what’s the problem that foreigners have with toilets? The article tells us:
A leaflet produced by organisers … does not specify which part of using a toilet foreigners might have trouble with.
That’s best left to the imagination. Moving along:
The competition will be judged by a panel of seven, including architects and an official from the Japan Toilet Association, using five criteria — cleanliness, safety, comfortableness, novelty/creativity, and sustainability. Applicants have until the end of the month to submit their designs. Minister Arimura will announce the winners in September.
The Japan Toilet Association sounds like a wonderful organization. One last excerpt:
Toilets in Japan have been raised to something of an art. … The bog-standard version simply warms the seat — an under-appreciated luxury among the uninitiated — while top-of-the-range models offer an array of options, including warm water jets, blow-dryers, deoderisers and masking sounds.
This is a wake-up call for other countries. While Japan is, ah, plunging ahead in this vital activity, the rest of the world is — ahem! — dropping behind. A generation ago, America beat the Soviets in the Space Race. Can we afford to sit back and let Japan take the lead in toilets?
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