Those Who Try Japanese Toilets, Praise Them with “Cultish Devotion”

(p. D12) Last year, Bennett Friedman, who owns a plumbing showroom in Manhattan called AF New York, took a business trip to Milan. On the morning of his return he faced a choice: stop in the bathroom there or wait until he got home. The flight was nine hours. He waited.
The move seems almost masochistic. But in his home and office bathrooms, Mr. Friedman had installed a Toto washlet. To sit upon a standard commode, he said, would be like “going back to the Stone Age.”
“It feels very uncivilized,” he said.
For those who own Japanese toilets, there is a cultish devotion. They boast heated seats, a bidet function for a rear cleanse and an air-purifying system that deodorizes during use. The need for toilet paper is virtually eliminated (there is an air dryer) and “you left the lid up” squabbles need never take place (the seat lifts and closes automatically in many models).
. . .
Most washlet owners, then, are converted after trying one out in the world. At a boutique hotel, say, or on a trip to Asia.
Such was the case with Robert Aboulache. Before he and his family went on a vacation to Japan, he said, friends who had visited the country told him he would love the toilets. “I thought, ‘How great can the toilets be?'” Mr. Aboulache said. “They were amazing. Some have noisemakers to cover up the sound. You can pivot that little sprayer. The water can be heated or not. We got home, and I thought, ‘This is not the same.'”
Three days later, Mr. Aboulache went online and bought a Toto washlet, which he installed in the shared upstairs bathroom of his home in Los Angeles as a surprise for his wife and son.
“We’ve been delighted,” he said. “It’s our favorite toilet.”
. . .
Mr. Friedman, too, is an enthusiastic proselytizer for washlets, in his showroom and out in social situations, something you gather he would do even if he didn’t sell them.
Whenever he talks about their virtues, he said, “I feel like one of the Apostles passing the word of God.”

For the full story, see:
STEVEN KURUTZ. “For Its Devotees, the Seat of Luxury.” The New York Times (Thurs., NOV. 19, 2015): D12.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date NOV. 18, 2015, and has the title “The Cult of the Toto Toilet.”)

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