Tuesday, September 16, 2003

"Green" Bathroom

I became aware one day that everything is becoming automatic, especially in the bathroom. I don't know about the men's bathroom, but everything works by sensors in the women's. You must have seen the faucet and soap work by sensor quite often, but how about the toilet? If you sit down, the water sound starts. When you finish, you can't find the flush bottom; it flushes if you walk away. Now even the toilet seat cover opens up when you approach!
I've seen many people confused by this technology, usually the elders who are used to the "old style" system, but it must be helpful for the people who are physically challenged. Also, easy to imagine, it's effective for cost cutting. For example, automatic flusher decreases the cost of water by JPY15k/month for a bathroom 100 people use per day.
Behind this trend, the big push for the renovation is Law on Promoting Green Purchasing (Law Concerning the Promotion of Procurement of Eco-Friendly Goods and Services by the State and Other Entities) set in May 2000 by the Ministry of Environment. This orders the government or governmental organizations to purchase "Eco friendly" products in a proactive way so that they stimulate the market for recycled/ecological goods.
Those goods tend to be more expensive than the generic ones. I believe it's a good thing that the government supports the Eco friendly acts, but wonder if they're spending my tax money effectively....

Monday, September 01, 2003


Have you been to Spa?
I had a chance to take a look at the press release for AVEDA about the opening of their first
Spa in Tokyo on Sep 12th.
It's been difficult to find a decent spa in Tokyo, except esthetic salons. But recently, more spas are announcing plans to do business here, such as the Mandara Spa at the Royal Park Hotel in Shiodome, St Gregory Spa, etc. Obviously the target of the spas is late 20's to 30's professional women, but if you try one, you'll be addicted.
I go to a spa almost every time I travel overseas, and I'm very curious to find out what kind of services they can provide in Japan. It's unfortunate that only the Mandara Spa has facilities for men -- so my husband doesn't get left out...