Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Japan Takes Travel to the Next Level

There are many inconveniences in life.

Having to floss your teeth. Actually showering for the blind date your mother set you up on. That moment of horrible realization when you go to make your morning coffee and realize you've run out of coffee filters.

The worst petty offenders? Getting gas- and pooping.

"Gas went up to $5.25!? Fucking OPEC!"

Scenario: You're on your way to work. You've just left town limits and are singing along to your eclectic mixed CD when you glance at the dashboard and realize the gas light is on. This is a problem, as all the cheap stations were miles back and you know for a fact that the only place in the next ten minutes has a ten dollar surcharge and likes to fuck you in the ass if you don't pay fast enough. Then, as you frantically search around for an alternative, your stomach rumbles. That morning's coffee is coming back to haunt you (shouldn't have gone for cup #3!).

Now you're faced with a high pressure situation- literally.

Birthplace of the Teaparty movement. 

You pull up to the station, throw on a pair of over-sized sunglasses and hope no one will recognize you. It's 50 bucks to get your stupid car filled. It would have been forty if you hadn't spent all your cash on three-dollar Margaritas the night before. Meanwhile, you are staring at the little unisex door next to the dumpster and wondering how many hobos have died in there. The law of averages says at least one, and the reality of gas stations states that part of him is still in there.

When you eventually drive away, you do it with a sense of shame and violation. They've hit you where it hurts- in your wallet, and your dignity.

Imagine if you never had to go through this again. Stretch your mind, and entertain the idea that these problems- gas and pooping- might in fact be each other's solutions. 

This is the kind of thing they think about in Japan.

I hope you weren't eating when you read this post. 

Very soon TOTO, the Japanese toilet company that brought you the talking toilet, will send a man across Japan on a bike that is run on 'biogas.' In other words, shit. The seat on the bike will be a fully functioning toilet, connected to a motor in the back which converts the, ah, waste into fuel. This toilet will, like most traditional TOTO toilets, make noise. It also has a handy new feature where it will read you the stock market ticker or weather reports. If you're interested in the particulars, you can read more at

At the moment, this is only a promotional stunt in order to raise awareness of bathroom waste.

No, not that kind. 

Apparently a shit-run-toilet-bike is the perfect way to educate people about CO2 emissions from bathrooms. I guess it will garner a lot of attention, but not for the reason they may think.

My question is this: how will they do it? Will the rider, complete with poopy-helmet, just pull down his pants at stop lights? Or will he pull to the side of the road and do his business discretely? The potential for this to turn into a political shit storm is just astronomical.


Seriously, though. I know this is just a promotional stunt, but this is the kind of technology that could save our futures. Think of the convenience! Think of the lower CO2 emissions! Of course, accident scenes will be significantly more disgusting, and let's not even get started on the hygiene of it all. Perhaps we'll see a resurgence of pink eye in the coming days. But is that too high a price to pay for such renewable energy?

It remains to be seen.

Shitting in a city near you. 

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