Suddenly, you find yourself in a primitive public bathroom not equipped with a Sound Princess! What are you going to do to cover up unseemly noises, without wasting gallons and gallons of water?  Eco-oto to the rescue! Now you can make loud flushing sounds anytime, anywhere, from your very own mobile phone!

The first time I encountered a Sound Princess mounted on the wall of a Tokyo Denny’s, I pushed the button, thinking it was the actual flush thingy. The stall was filled with a magnificent cascade of whooshing and gurgling toilet sounds, but nothing actually happened. I eventually found the actual flush button (whew!) and it was explained to me later that the Sound Princess was invented because Japanese women were using millions of gallons of water just covering up embarrassing noises by flushing continuously while in the loo.

Of course, one hopes the Eco-oto doesn’t spontaneously trigger on a crowded subway train, or while shoveling in the lunch ramen…

I always though a toilet was one of those things I’d be pretty safe skipping the instructions for, but in Japan, they take toilet design seriously. This one even has a Sound Princess feature built right in!

Jonelle Patrick is the author of the Only In Tokyo mystery series, now out for the first time in paperback

More Nightshade book goodness here, in case you think you might want to, you know, read it or something

A young woman is found dead in an abandoned car, with a pair of strangers old enough to be her parents. Their suicide note apologizes for a disaster that hasn’t yet happened. And someone is stalking the…read more

…or watch the book trailer (0:52)