We all know about Japanese innovation, but some of the simplest of things stand out as being a great aid to the weary traveller. They are not the high technology ones such as the computer controlled monorail where trains travel over a 15 kilometre route and only 5 minutes apart – all without a driver . Nor are they the ability for phones to instantly convert English into Japanese, or traffic lights that synchronise along an entire street.
One of the more interesting discoveries that we made was in the convenience store, where for $1.65 we bought a little kit that made two cups of filtered coffee. Everything came inside the pack – cups, filter bag, sugar, whitener and spoons. All we had to do was assemble and pour boiling water over the coffee. Of course, they all fitted back into the container for easy disposal.
The second was the ubiquitous toilet seat. In Japan, they are all heated and as soon as you sit on them they automatically provide an initial rinse into the bowl. After the job is done, you can chose between a rinse or a bidet. From experience the jets of warm water hit exactly the right spot. Of course the temperature is completely controllable. You just can’t have little Japanese bottoms getting a chill on a cold seat!
The third innovation that we struck is really a piece of Japanese marketing. What would be a great name for an Isotonic drink? Nothing else but ‘Pocari Sweat’ you can buy bottles in vending machines everywhere along with competitors such as ‘Aquarious’ and ‘Calpis’. Don’t laugh; I’m being serious!
Don’t laugh; I’m being serious!