Editor's note: On Tuesday, tbt* published the review that Seth Stevenson posted on Slate.com of the $900 Washlet toilet, made by the Japanese company Toto. It boasts a remote, heated seat and a bidet function. Among the staggering range of pro and con reactions posted by readers on Slate:
J P McMahon: The flush commode, primarily a British innovation in sanitation with modern updates by American ingenuity, is so beautiful in its simplicity and utility, that it is one of the greatest inventions of all time. Now along comes a fancy Japanese toilet with batteries, a remote, and who knows what other electronic components that will probably cause butt cancer if you sit on it too long. It's also priced for the 1%. It's an abomination.
Whereswalden: If you're not able to clean yourself thoroughly with dry paper, then to quote Slate: YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG.
Ariadne: Dry paper is preferable. First you wipe off the nasty residue, then I hop in the shower and clean myself properly (and I ALWAYS shower after number 2).
Take Cover: I think the real difference is mostly cultural attitudes toward cleanliness. The Japanese take bathing very seriously, so leaving that area "less than clean" unnecessarily is probably something that strikes them as rather grotesque. For Americans, in terms of cleanliness, "about" is usually "good enough.''
Matt1234: It is just a butthole — how clean does it need to be?
Shotsie: My wife might enjoy the cheap thrill of being spritzed in her hootch after she pees, but I'm not sure either of us would really enjoy being anally drilled after taking a dump. And then waiting to be blown dry.
Harpedonaptae: How about a little video camera that lets me see what's going on down there?
CarlosDaniel: Does the Toto toilet seat play ''Africa'' when you sit on it?
Jolly Terry: When at home, I gotta be naked when taking a dump. I just can't stand the though of my shirt tail or pants scrunched near the floor getting in contact with anything. And in a public stall, I usually hang my shirt on a hook if I have the opportunity.
Keith Burton: I've had a Washlet for two years now, and it's one of the best tech investments of my life! I noticed that in over 100 comments, every single person who'd actually used one liked it. But nobody else ever wants to try it. Even my wife refuses to touch the controls though she adores the heated seat! BTW: Mine only cost $600. Shop around.
Michigan Guy: When we remodeled the master bath the missus insisted and I found a nice one out of some plumbing outfit in the Northwest on the internet for less than $700 that had the front sprayer, back sprayer, heated seat and blower. It did not have the auto lift / close, but it does have a slow close mechanism so the lid / seat doesn't slam. It's easy to use — I still use some TP at the end, probably just out of years of habit. It's not a conversation piece with the guys, but she brags about it with her friends.
Jane Steerswell: I lived in Japan a decade ago. When my parents came to visit we went to a department store and my mother disappeared into the bathroom for over half an hour. She was playing with the toilet. When they remodeled their bathroom the following year, she decided to shop around and see if she couldn't find a dealer who sold Toto seats, and she did.
Ybmagpye: Up the street from my house is a wonderful sushi house. Will never forget the first time I walked into the lady's room and had my first ever bidet experience. It was heaven! Took me a half hour to get the heck out the bathroom, and an additional hour to stop smiling.
ZooZooB: Once your butt gets used to the water treatment at home, you want it everywhere you go, literally. We should all be so civilized as the Japanese and other cultures. By the way, switching to water will save you a fortune in toilet tissue and wipes.
Randomnickname: One note of caution — watch out for the water pressure setting. Set it too high, and you'll end up a lot cleaner than you were expecting. (As one friend said — "I think it hit my liver!").
Gbdsaw: Just flew through Tokyo, and used their facilities. After being away from my man for several weeks, I found the frontally directed spray made me very very happy.