segunda-feira, 21 de agosto de 2006

Hooray for the Bidet!!!

The first step was easy: sit down and use the toilet as normal. The technology only kicks in when you are perched on the seat; which, incidentally, is gently heated to the temperature of a half-bled radiator. And then I had a choice: press "bidet" or "wash". Not knowing which was which, I threw caution to the wind and experimented. The former was a more gentle affair, as a mellow jet of warm water shot up towards my bottom. The latter involved an extended, shower-like spray head and was rather more ... bracing.
at Saki, a Japanese restaurant in Smithfields, London, was such a revelation.

Though Saki claims to be the first commercial establishment in these islands to install the paperless toilets so beloved of the Japanese (70% of households in Tokyo have one), it is probably a while before they will take the whole nation by storm. But could the mere fact that such a whizzy loo has been pioneered anywhere public in the UK be indicative of a wider social change? While investment in public conveniences has generally plummeted over the past decade - there are an estimated 6,000 public toilets in Britain now, compared with double that 10 years ago, and some places, even big cities such as Birmingham, now have no free public loos - there are signs that a quiet revolution is under way among the nation's cisterns and urinals.

"It's just like when mobile phones came in," says Iyako Watanabe, the Japanese-born managing director of Saki, of her futuristic loos. "For a while there were lots of refuseniks, but once you get one, there's no going back." Colin Davies, MD of Ascot Hygiene Ltd, the only UK distributor of Saki's Dutch-manufactured £400 toilet seats, agrees. "Once you've tried them, you can't live without them," he says. "Whenever we visit friends who don't have one, I can't wait to get home. It's such a joy."


Read on, 'tis British, but very good :)

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