From The Folks Who Brought You Soccer And The Metric System...
How green do you want to be?
My wife refuses to allow me to use a lawn service out of fear we'll forever taint our groundwater, and is in the midst of putting together a compost system for our home--the "black gold" it generates will be used in our garden next spring. I saw nothing wrong with this summer's dirt, and the cherry tomatoes that sprung from it are as tasty as any I've ever had. Maybe "gold" will generate a tomato that is not only tasty, but one that plucks itself from the vine, walks into my kitchen, and slices itself before landing ever-so-gently on my turkey sandwich.
Green means different things to different people, and to some in Japan, it means getting the brown out.
Newsweek reports that the Japanese porcelain concern Toto will start a U.S. marketing push for it's line of bidets--the pitch being that they can dramatically cut/eliminate the use of toilet paper (and thus, the environmental strain that TP generates both on trees and plumbing).
I quoth the article--but be ready, it's not a very appetizing read:
Deep down, Americans have always known that wiping their rears with dry paper is ineffective; a classic survey showed that half of TP users spend their days with "fecal contamination"—anything from "wasp-colored" stains to "frank massive feces"—in their underpants. And yet we continue to mock the bidet, the Frenchest of innovations, as froufrou, risqué, de trop. But while personal hygiene is one thing, the future of the planet is another. The average American uses 57 sheets of toilet paper a day; collectively, we burn through 36.5 billion rolls each year. Tossing all the TP in America would save 15 million trees, 17.3 terawatts of electricity, and more than 473 billion gallons of water annually; the environmental impact of bidets is minimal in comparison. No wonder the Japanese bidet behemoth Toto is gearing up for a massive sales push in the States. When it's hip to be green, ditching the Charmin could -actually make a difference. And not only in our (dirty) drawers.
I've encountered bidets during overseas trips, but never actually mounted one (I thought they'd make keen places to ice down a six-pack while freeing up the bathroom sink, which usually is assigned that task when I'm on the road). In terms of using it for what it's designed to do, I took a pass. Part of the problem was ignorance--I didn't know the procedure, and had no clue as to how to mount the damn thing. Is this a kick-start? Or does it have a pull rope?
Here's how it's done, according to wikiHow. They even have pictures.
Personally, I still have a hard time figuring out some of the new-fangled towel dispensers in local men's rooms (I wiped my hands on my pants at the Bradley Center for years--their machines totally had me outfoxed). I can't imagine the learning curve on the bidet, but then again, it's tough teaching old dogs new tricks (then again, don't dogs drag their butts on the ground?).
I wonder if the fine folks at Kohler are changing their production lines--fewer toilets and tubs, more bidets? I doubt it. Not everything that works well overseas is well received here in the states. The Beatles were an exception. Same for Herman's Hermits and U2. Soccer and the metric system have yet to take the nation by storm, even though they've been touted for decades as being "the next big thing".
I like my football with 11 guys to a side and helmets. I like my beer in 12 ounces cans. And, speaking of cans--I like mine with a toilet and a roll of paper riding shotgun. That bidet in the picture right here?
Looks to me like it could maybe hold a 12 pack.