The Japanese are known for being incredibly efficient, so you’d expect them to also have the most efficient gizmos. Today, we’re looking at eight Japanese gadgets that we’ve become so dependent on, we can’t live without them!
Here they are, in no particular order:
1. Kitchen Gadgets
Japan has a lot of great kitchen gadgets such as radish graters and tamagoyaki pans, but the one people voted most convenient? The humble Japanese rice cooker! Even Chinese tourists buy these to take home after a visit to Japan. You can make anything from pancakes to steamed vegetables and, of course, rice, and even the cheaper models have things like built-in on/off timers and settings to keep your cooked rice nice and warm.
2. Toilet gadgets
Japan’s Washlet toilets are famous the world over. Their elaborate functions allow you to have a more hygienic lavatory experience. But what is the number one device even Westerners are known to buy here and take back home? The heated toilet seat! As long as you have an electrical outlet in your bathroom, you can affix one of these to any privy and ensure a toasty warm bottom with every sit.
▼ How warm would you like your buns to be? Low, medium or high?
3. Shower gadgets
Many of us come from countries that use the imperfect two-knob shower system where you adjust one for hot water and one for cold, mixing them to get the correct shower temperature. In Japan they use an automatic temperature control lever on the shower, or a button on a unit mounted on the wall, that sets the temperature to the exact degree you want. No finicky adjusting!
▼ Set your perfect temperature for either your shower or bath, then just turn on the water.
They also use short foot-high stools (30 cm) to sit on while showering so you can sit down and relax while performing your ablutions. In this position, you can more easily scrub the bottoms of your feet, shave your legs, or wash your face. It’s got to be safer too—no more slipping in the shower.
4. Bath gadgets
Soaking in a hot bath is a nightly ritual for Japanese people (and takes place immediately after showering, so you’re clean when you get into the tub), so it’s not surprising they’ve come up with a multitude of ways to reuse clean bath water. Perhaps the most ingenious contraption for the bath is a tube that allows you to siphon the leftover bath water into the washing machine to wash clothes.
▼ Many people have washing machines in or next to their bathrooms, so you can just stretch this special hose over to the bath to recycle the bath water.
5. Massage gadgets
Asia loves massage, and Japan is no exception. Most families seem to have a slew of self-massaging appliances from electric neck massage pillows and foot massage gizmos to full-body massage chairs, all with a plethora of adjustments to set the length of time, type of massage, and amount of pressure. And they work!
▼ Heaven for tired feet!
6. Automating gadgets
Almost all stores in Japan have automatic doors. If they’re not completely automatic, they only require a simple touch of a finger on the door to activate the sensor that opens it. Surely these doors help temper the spread of flu viruses! Sensor lights are also common which makes it a seamless experience to walk from room to room, even when going down the hall to the restroom in a building. On some of Japan’s bullet trains, you don’t even have to touch the toilet seat—just touch the sensor to lower the seat.
7. Warming Gadgets
Japan’s houses can be cold in wintertime, which has spurred the creation of an array of warming doodads you probably never knew you needed such as futon/bed warmers and microwaveable slippers. While central heating is preferable to having to warm individual body parts, some of these apparatuses we’ve become so accustomed to that we want them all the time! The king of all body-part heaters is the kotatsu!
▼ The kotatsu looks like this on the top (left), but underneath has an electric heating element (right).
Snuggle under this thing with your cat, and you’ll likely never want to leave the house!
8. Light Gadgets
Although we love the universal ceiling fittings that all houses in Japan use so you can easily clip in your old hanging light into the fitting in your new abode without rewiring, one of the most favored light novelties is something different. Each hanging light, not only has three levels of brightness, but each has a tiny bulb setting which is just barely enough light to be able to see at night without turning on a bright light. Just keep the tiny bulb setting on all night and there will be no fumbling around for light switches in the dark when you make a trip to the toilet or when stealthily making a side trip into the kitchen for a midnight snack!
It’s the little things in life!