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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!

Read a novel set in Tokyo

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Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

2 thoughts on “Portaflush Leave a comment

  1. I remember hitting all the buttons my first time there just to see what they did. It was like a water show but in the toilet. Of course since I wasn’t using the toilet when this couriousity struck, water went everywhere. Woops.

    • Hey, I’ tried to do that for ages, but the ones I tried it on have some sort of sensor that keeps them from making fountains if someone isn’t sitting on the toilet! Must renew efforts…

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