It makes me deeply happy to report that Japan should pehaps be better known as the ‘Land of the Rising Bum.’
This is because nothing, but nothing, will make someone vacate the thunderbox with more rapidity than an explosion and flames down below.
It all started with high-tech efforts to bring the lavatory into the 21st century by applying various electronic extras to the bowels of the bowl.
In addition to the disposal of the deposit the user can have checks on blood pressure, urine sugar and kidney function.
Top of the range types get a measurement of body fat on buttocks, sensors to record the degree of strain involved and infra-red sensors that automatically lift the lid when the heat from the user’s bum is factored-in.
Temperature-controlled water jets, warm air drying and the application of talc with choice of perfume can be taken for granted.
The grand objective of all this science on the basically simple task of taking a dump is to monitor the nation’s health via a central computer.
Unhappily, the electronics governing all this activity is not up to the operational demands and when things go wrong they do so with a bang, accompanied by a sheet of flame to the detriment of delicate dangly bits and pieces.
Bums like me are comforted by the fact that bums like mine are not affected –the average steam lavvie is non-combustible, it’s the units with bells and whistles that go up in flames along with their wealthier patrons. The last statistics I saw was 180,000 units of the latest in lavatorial technology had been recalled.
One man not impressed by flaming farty things is my old mate Diego Suarez, proprietor and chef de cuisine of the Hotel Diarhoea in downtown Mexico City, my usual watering hole when I’m in town.
He points out that his signature dish –goat chilli tortillas – have a similar effect without the need for advanced electronics.
He says proudly that the wooden seat in the PanchoVilla evacuation suite has frequently to be extinguished and survivors get a free air cushion made by the Happy Bum Corporation of Kowloon and a litre of rattlesnake tequila on the house.
I stll have a few bottles left over from my last trip. I am now going to drink one and then have a nice lie-down.
Vaya con Dios, amigos...