The hot seat

Just read a travel article where the writer said that one of his favourite hotel amenities is the heated toilet seat. If you have been to Japan you will have no doubt experienced this for yourself. I just love this guy’s description of his first experience with a Japanese toilet.

“Why, I wondered then, had I only ever sat on cold, unresponsive toilet seats before? Why hadn’t I been pampering my derriere with the temperature-controlled treatment it deserved? How was I ever going to go back to using regular old toilets again?”

Now if you haven’t actually tried one of these toilets yourself you might be thinking that it sounds a bit offputting. Imagine sitting down on a warm toilet seat? As if someone else has only just vacated it. Yuck. But it is not actually like that and apart from the heated seat you get all the other extras built in on a control panel that you might not quite understand.

If you cannot figure out these hieroglyphics then maybe this English version of the Toto Washlet will help

Yep that’s right folks – you get rear cleansing (spray up the bum) regular or “soft” and you also get front cleansing. OMG don’t go there. And you get a dryer – so no toilet paper needed. Oh and you will see that you can choose from oscillating or pulsating.

Now this all sounds very uncomfortable (especially the pulsating) but honestly give it a go. It is actually very civilised. Where did we come up with the idea of rubbing our bottoms with paper. This type of toilet is kind to the environment (only compostables going down the loo). Mind you I have to say that when I typed that phrase “rubbing our bottoms with paper” I was taken right back to my granny’s outdoor toilet. She wouldn’t have wasted her money on Charmin Ultra Soft…. no way! Cut up pieces of newspaper stuck onto the nail in the back of the door. Goodness me, sounds like I grew up with the Beverley Hillbillies. Now this was only my gran who did this. My mom always bought proper toilet paper. Whew!

The worst toilet situation I ever saw was in an apartment in Lisbon – the toilet was slap bang in the middle of the kitchen. I kid you not. No walls or anything. I guess it would be handy if you were in the middle of frying an egg and just had to go. Some of the toilets in India were a bit challenging – had to have really good balance to pee standing up (as a woman). The worst toilets were at the border crossing between South Africa and Swaziland. After a long 4 hour drive from Johannesburg sometimes you just had to pee so the rule was to stop about half an hour from the border and pee in the bushes.

So after all those experiences a warm toilet seat and a “hose down” afterwards sounds really good.

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.


  1. Lesley, you must have run into the bidet with its hose or jets which is very common in Europe in their slightly upscale and above hotels. In Phuket, Thailand, a cheaper hotel a few years ago, had a sign about no toilet paper flushed down or it would plug the sewer but they did have a hand held hose to wash yourself and hand towels to dry yourself. If you used paper, it had to be deposited in a convenient waste bin. I also saw this on a day cruise boat in Mexico.
    India can be very interesting. One ‘toilet’ in a national park where we went to see an elusive tiger was a just concrete slab surrounded by woven matting. Very unhygienic. Bring your own TT and hand sanitizer. The standard was the hole in the floor with 2 slightly raised footprints and the flush washed the waste to the hole. We insisted on a room with ‘western style’ toilet. This 2 footprint style was a standard in Morocco, again in cheaper hotels. This is why airlines flying some routes such as to India often have pictographs in the toilets showing ‘no standing on the toilet seat’.
    Yes Japanese hotels, Ryokans particularly, are very hygienic, and asked you to wash yourself before getting into the sit-down tub in your room. In the 70’s and 80’s, USA / Hawaii had problems in their hotels with Japanese tourists washing themselves before getting into the bath as the bathroom floors weren’t designed to cope with this wash water which would then flood the room and often leak down onto the room below.
    Isn’t travelling eye-opening and how you probably have to talk to your clients telling them what to expect. No surprises.


  2. Love the hieroglyphics.
    So, I recently bought a toilet brush.
    Long story short, I’m going back to toilet roll!
    I think urine trouble with this topic. You’re looking a little flushed.


  3. Lol, this is a refreshing blog!
    Can’t say I’ve ever come across it , but I’m a novice traveller.
    Looking forward to new experiences, but maybe not that!😝


  4. When we travelled on a trip in Mexico, you became the attraction at the restaurant as there were no doors on the outhouse that faced the restaurant .
    Luckily my friend had a large scarf that helped to camouflaged our modesty… we took turns using the facility and were boo’d when we returned to the restaurant!


  5. On a trip to the beach in France I had to use the restroom. It was a hole in the floor. I positioned my feet and proceeded to go. I bent my head down to look and my sunglasses fell in the hole.OMG I reached down and carefully rescued them, all the while dying. I probably spent at least 10 minutes washing them with soap, which they had Thank god. Lesson learned super glad it was number 1 😀


    1. Omg Kim….I literally laughed out loud when I read this. No kidding number 1 way better than a number 2 in this situation….. still….if they were designer glasses then a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do


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