September 16, 2015
It has been 25 years since we last visited Japan, and 31 years since we lived and worked in this lovely land. So it has been wonderful to spend time with old friends and see what has changed and what has not.
What has not changed is the beauty and graciousness of the country. The gardens, the houses, the streets, the food, the clothes, the traditions, the people, all have a visual beauty and a sense of order to them. My eyes are open wide trying to soak it all in again.
And as often happens, the most basic of things intrigued me the most! The toilets! When we visited Japan 25 years ago, the “washlet” toilet or “shower toilet” was just being introduced to the Japanese market. This high-tech toilet with its wide variety of bidet-style features, seemed to me, at the time, to be one of those trends that would quickly fade. So imagine my surprise when I found a country that has completely embraced this technology. The public toilets at Meiji Shrine, at Narita airport, at every restaurant are no longer ‘squat toilets’ with porcelain footsteps, or ‘sit toilets’ with side flushes (that is the norm in Canada), but sit toilets with heated seats that may lift and close automatically, controls that will spray your bottom from many angles, deodorize the air, blow you dry and then wash the toilet.
When I asked a friend if he could imagine life without this technology, he said ‘Never’!
What he couldn’t understand is why it has not been adopted in Canada.