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Posts Tagged ‘Otohime’

So as I wrote previously, Four Seasons Hotel in Tokyo had to place a little message card on the bathroom vanity, “Don’t Be Afraid of Our Toilet” to explain to the hotel guests about the sophisticated toilet system.

Lately I’ve spotted the TOTO Washlet or similar product in American homes as well, though it still seems to be a rather exclusive amenity unlike its popularity in Japan.  Besides, I have yet to acquire one myself for my home in Los Angeles.

Then on my last trip to Japan, I noticed something else in public bathrooms:  yet another TOTO bathroom “gadget” or perhaps I should call, an “amenity.”  It’s the “Otohime (音姫),”.the literal translation of which would be, “sound princess.”   I had seen it probably more than a decade ago in bathrooms of some private offices and such.  It is a simple device to create camouflaging noise to cover any natural “sound” that comes with your personal activity in the stall.   The premise, I guess, is that people would flush the toilet unnecessarily to cover the  “sound;”   therefore waste the precious water.  (Either that or rattling the toilet paper roll.) Of course, leave it to Japanese.  They’ll have a solution!

Push the button on Otohime, and it would make some sound as if you’re actually flushing the toilet.  I always thought it was brilliant, but I had not seen it around like the Washlets.  Then on my last visit, I noticed in public places such as department stores and restaurants that their bathrooms were equipped with Otohime.    May be I was just missing it, but I didn’t know it was getting to be a normal fixture in the bathrooms.

I’m sure it’s a lot simpler to install than the Washlet, and I’m sure I can probably get one to use in my own bathroom before I can get the much-coveted Washlet.  Perhaps I can start creating my own private Japan in my bathrooms at home!

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