The thing I miss the most from my adventures in Japan was, mind you, the toilets.
Seriously, their cans are advanced enough to deserve their own Wikipedia entry and numerous media reports. Once you get your inner self properly cleaned by one of those beauties, traditional wiping won’t do it anymore. I had to get one at home. But how?
Surprisingly, TOTO (a popular Japanese manufacturer of those) is present in the US since the late 80s. But a basic model like the B100 starts at US$ 599, and fancier ones can cost 2-3x that. So when I found an S300 (which includes all the niceties in the image above) on sale for “just” CAD 550, I bought it. And despite my limited plumbing experience, I decided to install it myself.
To be honest, before purchasing I checked the fit guides (for old and new models), so I could find which ones would work with my toilet. An important factor is the distance between the mounting holes and the tank – mine had the bare minimum, leaving almost no gap where one is supposed to exist. Worked for me, but keep such details in mind when picking yours.
My lack of plumbing skills showed up early: the “T” device that splits the water between toilet and washlet didn’t match the toilet’s connector very well. So what did I do? I forced it. First mistake – it “chewed” the connector. Then I insisted (second error), turning the float valve and breaking the floating ball handle. Way to go, champ.
After briefly considering calling an adult, I researched a bit and found not only how ancient my valve was, but also how cheap and easy it would be to replace it. Got this model installed in just a few minutes, ending with a working toilet and a connector that actually fit the “T”. Double win.
You also need a power outlet close to the toilet. Didn’t have one, so I used an extension cord. If you have to do the same, just ensure it is grounded and certified to handle 15A (and check the manual for all outlet specs). Electrical shocks are bad enough in normal situations – you won’t want one in such a… “vulnerable” moment.
One last detail: the remote was supposed to hang on the wall. But I had a phone/tablet desk stand hanging around that fit the unit nicely, so I could just leave it on the counter. One less thing for me to break!
In the end, the cost (toilet, parts and tools) was around CAD 600. Installation required three visits to the hardware store, and blew half a weekend. Was it worth it? Of course – if you like those toilets as much as I do. Otherwise, stay with the traditional posterior-wiping material…