IT’S NOT EASY being an early adopter. Seeing what others haven’t yet seen often leads to suspicion, and the incomprehension of the masses can be very isolating.
That’s the lesson I learned after clipping an ad for the Toto Neorest warm-water personal cleansing system and tacking it to my office wall. What I recognized as an ultra-luxurious home spa, my coworkers dismissed as a mere toilet. What I saw as the ultimate nexus of hygiene and technology, they reduced to a plumbing fixture. What served for me as a reminder of why I was coming to the office every day and toiling, others labeled a weird bathroom fetish.
For the record, I am not inclined to avail myself of the Neorest’s advanced rectal and genital spray massage features. But how can one not marvel at them anyway? Lamborghini owners will never exploit their car’s full capabilities—no sane person would even want to—but merely possessing them is a powerful intoxicant.
Like an exotic automobile, the Japanese-designed Neorest crouches low and sleek, almost in attack posture. Notice the side indentation that resembles the air intake on a Harrier jet. Open her hood and whistle at the sight of the exhaust port from the multi-sequential CycloneSiphon Jet Flushing System. Now, assume the command position and survey the capabilities at your fingertips. Front cleanse, rear cleanse—check. Water pressure, water temperature—check. Oscillation, pulsation—check.
Even more impressive, all of these features can be operated with a truly magnificent wireless remote, a device almost as imposing as the Neorest itself. Note the generously sized LCD screen and the flip-down panel that covers the remote’s lesser-used controls. Grasp the unit and admire its masculine heft. Caress the opalescent finish. Then tell me you’d prefer a wad of paper in your hand.
Tell me you don’t want a toilet that washes your ass. Then dries it. And then sucks the befouled air through odor-erasing filters. Tell me you don’t want a toilet that lifts its lid in greeting and takes it upon itself to close and flush post-interaction. Tell me you don’t want a heated seat, antibacterial SanaGloss glazed finish, and sound-masking white noise generator—all integrated in a self-cleaning body Pinanfarina would envy.
What I’d really like you to tell me, though, is why no one else seems to want one. Maybe it’s the price, which is astonishing (I’m not afraid to talk about intimate cleansing, but I will never tell you how much I paid for this thing). Or maybe it’s our discomfort with the very idea of electronic butt washing—a possibility raised by a friend who accompanied me to a Toto showroom. After witnessing the Neorest in action, my companion said, “You know, spray massage…the retractable wand…. It’s kind of disgusting.”
“Sure,” responded the salesperson wisely, “until you realize that, actually, it’s the opposite of disgusting.”
I chimed in: “Exactly! Because it’s all about being clean!”
Of course, that’s not entirely true. It’s also about the artistry, engineering, and attention to detail brought to bear by the craftsmen of Toto. It’s about the beguiling impenetrability of Japanese culture. It’s about having something no one else has. And, of course, it’s about that remote.
Alas, what the Neorest is no longer about is state-of-the-art toilet technology. For while mine was en route to Minneapolis, Toto Japan unveiled its successor: the networked Intelligence Toilet, which also analyzes your urine and somehow manages to take your blood pressure.
That will have to go in the guest bath.
Tim Alevizos is a writer for Gage Marketing Group.