Friday, May 23, 2014

Japanese engineering

I've lived in Yokohama, Japan for 2 years and want to point out some little efficiencies that have been thought up by clever people. You probably know about the two-flushing toilets (big, small) and the fact that some toilets' refill tube protrudes out of the tank so you can wash your hands.

You may even know about the microwaves that also double as ovens (it took me 6 months to get the balls to put metal in this just fine!)

That's right: I made a collage to show
how to change toilet paper.
You know those stupid dildo spring things that fall apart all the time? None of that here. Just upward-folding tabs for one-way transfer in and transfer out of tp.

Mine is one of very few with no bidet

After a certain size of dwelling, it's pretty common to find the toilet in its own separate room from the shower and bathtub. You don't have to breathe in your girlfriend's methane-y deuce while you take a shower!

Speaking of baths, lots of tubs make you bend your legs, but submerge more of your body. Not only that, but this console (there's also one in the kitchen) lets me draw a bath at whatever temperature, volume and time I want. There's also a reheat button so I don't have to draw more water. Eco friendly, AND tech-sweet!

While they certainly sell washers that also dry laundry, most of us air dry our clothes. There's a panel that gives you control over a regular bathroom fan, drier fan, and of course you can set the strength and time. If the wetness doesn't evaporate, don't worry, the moisture falls into the bathtub.

Right over the front door is the kitchen fan duct, with a light to remind you it's still on. The doors have attached mailboxes for personal deliveries. Doorbells have attached intercoms and cameras, and this has been a standard everywhere I've been.

When it comes to food, I'm not completely satisfied with the portions designed for much smaller adults, but there is one final moment of genius. Trash is separated by burnables, plastics, and recyclable stuff, and Japan would really appreciate it if you put your stuff in the right place.
That arrow left-of-center shows where to tear
Every snack bag has a notch

Little glass spice bottles, soda labels and medicine bottled all come pre-perforated so that you can strip off the label and go about your business. My medicine bottles in the US required soaking them and growing out my fingernails to scrape them off...because fuck privacy in the United States, right?

This certainly isn't the most interesting of topics, but the fact is that a few people bothered to think about small innovations to minimize everyday bullcrap like the savage chip-bag tearing, the losing-the-toilet-paper-bouncy-rod-mid-duece, and the more-important aversion to house fires and water-wasting. Thank you, engineers!

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