The traditional Japanese toilet remains, to this day, in many Japanese households, coexisting with the Western-like toilets. The latter was introduced in Japan in the beginning of the 20th century, but only became popular after WWII. Improving the American models, with an incorporated bidet, Japanese companies produce, nowadays, the most sophisticated toilets in the world. The washlets are sheer high-tech prodigies, which offer its user countless commodities. Just to have an idea of how popular they are, it is a fact that half of Japanese households have at least on of them, that's a larger number than the number of personal computers!
The cutting-edge technology begins in the compartment itself where the toilet is, which is often acclimatised with heating and/ or air conditioning. The toilet, itself, isn't much different from a normal toilet, but it has amazing additional funtionalities: automatic opening, massages, adjustable water streams, drier, an air disinfectant system, etc. In order to do all this, this sophisticated sanitary interface has a control pannel incorporated or, as an alternative, a wireless control device located on the lateral wall.
The most important function, though, is the bidet. In the interior part of the toilet there is a retractable device with the size of a pencil that shoots a stream of water that cleans the user's rectal area. Actually, the device has two different positions depending on the user's gender and the temperature is adjustable (Japanese researchers have come to the conclusion that most people prefer the water at 38ºC...). This device is highly higenic, never coming into contact with the person using it and automatically cleaning itself after each use. With all of this, toilet paper has become rather useless, although there are still people who use it additionally. It's never too much.
But top-of-the-line models have even more unbelievable refinement, with a top opener and automatic heating in the seat, triggered automatically, everytime someone approaches it or because they memorize it from previous uses; others glow in the dark so that you don't have to turn on the lights in the middle of the night; there are even some that have sensors capable of identifying whether the user is on his back or faced forward, lifting the top or the top and the seat, accordingly (genious!). Some of the most recent ones incorporate medical sensors that measure the amount of sugar in the blood, based on the urine and performs other analysis based on the faeces - it's true! In addition, there is also a small treat destined, especially, to the ladies: a device that muffles the most unpleasant sounds by emiting other sounds (water running, mostly).
All of this has a snag, though: you have to know your way around the technology to be able to use it. That's why, in Japan, every bathroom has a bilingual signal that informs us whether we are before a conventional toilet or not. Otherwise, it could happen to many curious people that, trying to use it, get a stream of water in their faces...