By Asian American in Tokyo | June 8, 2006
Take a look at the photos below. Have you ever seen these devices? All Japanese women have.
This device is called the "sound princess" and comes in various models. What does it do? That takes some explanation.
Japanese women are well-known for their modesty. Despite the fact that Japan often has restroom stalls with floor-to-ceiling walls and doors, they still don't want anyone in the area knowing they are sitting on the toilet doing their "business". Up until the 1980s, Japanese women using public restrooms would continuously flush the toilet to cover up sounds of their… well, urination noises. Tokyo alone is home to more than 10 million people, so let's say that's roughly 5 million women. That's a lot of continuous flushing and a lot of wasted water! To address this problem, toilet companies created a device that makes an electronically-generated flushing noise, so the "sound cover" effect is accomplished without wasting water. It's activated by a motion sensor, though I'm not exactly sure how this works because I've never been in a Japanese womens' restroom.
Hmm, I'm at the office late tonight and nobody's around, so maybe I'll do some investigation…
It must be really weird for non-Japanese women to see this when using Japanese restrooms for the first time. Talk about a crazy solution to a problem that needs a lot of explanation! But hey, it works. Check out the savings below.
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