Tuesday, August 28, 2012

No. 2 on Route No. 1

Toto's Toilet Bike Neo on the streets of Japan

She rolled into town straddling the frame of a hog the likes of which no one around these parts had ever seen. It was the Toto Corporation's Toilet Bike Neo, a mean, green, asphalt eating machine. At first glance it looked like she was doing a number two right there on Route One but that just couldn't be.  According to the toilet and bath fixture manufacturer's website, Toto Talk, "Toilet Bike Neo does not have the mechanism to run on the rider's waste. It runs on bio gas fuel provided by Shia-oi Town in Hokkaido and Kobe City. Therefore the NEO Rest seat does not function as a toilet, and has been created for promoting TOTO's environmental efforts."

The Toto label has always been a welcome sight for me. I'm eternally grateful to live in a land that gives you a choice when it comes to even the most basic biological functions. Public lavatories in Japan usually have both the squat Japanese toilet and (thank goodness) the Western style commode. The latter selection often features a heated seat along with a puzzling panel of push buttons that will suddenly launch a surprising array of features like a bidet function and lots more. In light of the cutting-edge porcelain thrones and other state-of-the-art plumbing devices Toto has rolled out over the years, it was kind of a downer to learn the crapper topped chopper is all just for show. I think Toto may have missed a golden opportunity to hit the road with an authentic feces-fueled motorcycle.

More on manure and more


Now Bill Gates is somebody who seizes  opportunity when he sees it. Maybe that's why  the Gates Foundation has dropped three million dollars into developing toilets for the more than 2.6 billion people in the world who are essentially forced to go without. The basic idea is to create cheap toilet seats that don't need water, electricity or a connection to a large sewage system. Ultimately the goal is to prevent the life threatening diseases born of the poor sanitary conditions that plague some of the international community's poorest neighborhoods. 

So far The Gates Foundation has awarded sizable grants to engineers across the globe who are coming up with revolutionary commodes that will turn feces into fertilizer, fuel and more. 

Further reading: Why Is the World's Largest Foundation Buying Fake Poop?  

Related post: There's a Girl in the Boy's Bathroom


  1. As Japan is getting odder and odder by decade their inventions are really helpful to mankind. Cheers for japan!

    1. I guess it's just as odd as anywhere else but if you went looking for weird you might find it here:


      It's a Japan Times feature article on a totally transparent glass outhouse in Japan's Chiba Prefecture where they have turned a public toilet into a room with a view.