Up until two days ago, like the vast majority of Americans I had never used a bidet. Our machiya in Kyoto has two modern-style integrated bidet toilets, a Panosonic and a Lixil model. Over 80% of Japanese households have a bidet toilet. I can’t find reliable data on how many American households have a bidet toilet, but I’m confident they are a rarity in my home country.
And it only took one experience using a bidet toilet to convert me into an enthusiastic–make that obsessed–fan of the bathroom appliance. I am now determined to install one in our master bathroom at home. Here is what changed my life forever…
It looks innocuous enough. Plain, low profile, innocent. It is anything but(t). In fact it is a seductive, technologically sophisticated and almost hypnotically compelling piece of equipment that lures you into its embraces with a heated seat, a warm spray of water just where you need it for as long as you want it, followed by a gentle blow dry and even a deodorizing finis or a derrière massage.
A wirelessly connected panel offers fingertip controls so your fingers don’t have to go anywhere else. Toilet paper is obsolete.
The controls are intuitive. Except when they are labeled in Kanji like the upstairs toilet controls. Then one must rely on the somewhat mysterious and/or mildly entertaining pictographs on the buttons.
This is something I must have back home! Remarkably, when we remodeled our house over a decade ago I had the foresight to have had an electrical outlet placed within inches of the toilet base in our master bath. So I’m ready.
Except…there is one remaining issue. Our bathroom is dark: black slate tile floor, slate tiled shower, dark bamboo wall paneling, black glass sink, and a dark grey toilet. A white toilet will ruin the aesthetics. And in American there are very few choices when it comes to modern integrated bidet toilets. They are all white! In the minds of many, white is the color of cleanliness and purity. Not in our house. I need a black bidet toilet. Like this Lixil model, which is not sold in America.
But(t) I have a plan. I can buy a white Kohler Karing bidet toilet, which is just as sleekly modern as the black Lixil that I lust after, and then take it to one of the many San Francisco Bay Area auto detailing shops that “wrap” cars in protective vinyl film. For them it will be a simple job to wrap a white Kohler in matte black vinyl. Voila!
Next post about our Kyoto trip >>> Kamibentencho, Our Neighborhood