TP! Please RT!

We’ve already noted the twittering water meter and the twittering toilet; naturally it was a matter of time before someone twittered from the toilet. Now if this doesn’t prove the awesome power of social networking, I don’t know what will. From via The Presurfer (and already re-tweeted with the ferocity of the stomach flu),

naika_tei is a Twitter user and anime song DJ in Tokyo. Last week, he found himself stranded in the third floor toilet of an electronics store in Akihabara with a soiled ass and no toilet paper. So he sent out this tweet: “[Urgently needed] toilet paper in the 3rd floor toilet of Akiba Yodobashi.” Five minutes later, he sent another desperate tweet.

18 minutes later, he sends another tweet saying: “The toilet paper arrived safely! Thank you very much!” Hooray for helpful Twitter followers.

Death-Defying Diners Shoo Away Safe Sushi

For those who like to live dangerously, the pricey Japanese treat Fugu (Puffer fish or Blow fish) has achieved an almost mythological status in adventurous dining. Eating Fugu is synonymous with risk taking because if incorrectly prepared, even a single bite could mean certain death.

So you would think that the introduction of non-poisonous, commercially farmed fugu would be welcome news in the puffer-partaking community, right? Well, wrong. After all, what fun is that? Do you think a squeaky-clean Puffer fish would amaze and impress your friends?


But many fugu chefs – who are traditionally bound to commit ritual suicide with their own fish knife should one of their customers expire after eating one of their meals – said they preferred to take their chances with the potentially deadly wild varieties.

“It’s a very tasty fish, but that’s not the only reason people choose to go to a fugu restaurant,” said Shinichi Ueshima, the chef at the Dote fugu restaurant in Yokohama.

“It’s obviously more than a little exciting to go to a restaurant knowing that it might be the last meal that you ever eat,” he said. “Where is the enjoyment in eating something that has no risk in it?”

At Osaka: Whole fugu for sale at Kuromon Ichiba for up to 27,000 yen (about $270) from A Culinary Photo Journal on Flickr

Certainly, the Fugu chefs themselves have much invested in the toxic thrill of the classic experience. For 50 years, only specially licensed elite chefs are permitted to prepare and sell fugu to the public. Getting there involves a 3-year apprenticeship culminating in rigorous testing that only 35% of applicants pass. (There’s no room for a slight mistake in this particular occupation!)

That should make you feel better about putting it all on the line for the ultimate extreme meal, especially since the potent neurotoxin in question, Tetrodoxin, Tetrodotoxin (Toxin typo! See comments) is not affected by cooking and works by rapidly paralyzing the nerves and preventing the lungs and other body systems from working. There is no antidote and death can occur within minutes. (It does not cross the blood-brain barrier so the victim remains fully conscious.)

Thrilling, right? But not a cheap thrill…Fugu can range anywhere from US$30 up to a $200 full course meal.

Photos: Whole Fugu from A Culinary Photo Journal on Flickr

Fugu Restaurant from tiptoe on Flickr

You Always Go First at All Nippon Airways

Soon, will your airfare include an additional fee for “holding it?” Maybe, now that Japan’s All Nippon Airways has started asking passengers to go to the toilet before boarding because…they want to reduce carbon emissions! (Just think of the greenwashing potential…ANA: we’re working hard to address Carbon Leak issues!) From The Daily Mail (UK):

All Nippon Airways (ANA) claims that empty bladders mean lighter passengers, a lighter aircraft and thus lower fuel use. Airline staff will be present at boarding gates in terminals to ask passengers waiting to fly to relieve themselves before boarding, The Independent reported.

ANA hopes the weight saved will lead to a five-tonne reduction in carbon emissions over the course of 30 days. The airline began the policy on October 1, according to Japan’s NHK television.

Although it is intended as an experiment lasting one month and 42 flights, the trial may be extended if it is well-received by passengers and if results are positive. Based on an average human bladder capacity of 15oz, if 150 passengers relieved themselves on board an aircraft, this would amount to 63.7kg of waste.

Think about it! 63.7kg, (which is 140 lbs) means that All Nippon could transport an additional paying passenger whose weight could be totally offset by all that urine that stays on the ground! That’s an idea that could go right to the bottom-line! (tee hee)

Intriguing, but let’s look at the total picture, that of 150 flushes at both ends of the terminal, or approximately 360 gallons of water assuming a very-efficient 1.2 gallons per flush. We’ll all be stamping our carbon feet either way; it’s simply a matter of who will pay for it. Our policy at Thirsty in Suburbia? “Go where you wanna go, do what you need to do.”

Deep Meaning in Japanese Game Show

Let’s play the guess the game show game! I’ve watched this hyperactive clip several times, and have no idea what’s going in this Japanese game show, except that it involves a crazy aquarium toilet, voting by a “local secrets” panel, and an MC with one of the biggest rubber stamps I’ve seen anywhere. And, I think the female contestant “won.” (Whatever it was she was trying to win!) Watch and guess… I’ve storyboarded it below to give you a head start!

To start: The unusual toilet is revealed; contestant (in upper left) is wide-mouth AMAZED!

Wow! Audience and contestants gasp as 3000 is revealed!

Ok, now to the panel, who are all busy punching to vote/rate the toilet.

Calculating...and the panel comes up with a collective "score" which shows on the screen.

This contestant is happy! The light-up big fish must mean something great!

The host dramatically brings down the big stamp!

And then the stamp's mark magically shows up on the screen.

After than, a giant goldfish/koi emerges from smoke and fire behind the host!

Bandai Bottled Water Fun Enhancer

Now that we’re soooo bored with the all clever branding and unusual bottles, leave it to Japanese toy company Bandai to freshen bottled water consumption with their new “magic pet” micro-toys, little sea creature gizmos that swirl and swim about inside your bottled water, producing several minutes of pure entertainment. Choose the Jellyfish, Squid or Octopus. And importantly, be sure to sip rather than gulp lest you choke on your $6 investment!

Following, some screen shots from their website, but if you visit the site yourself, be sure to catch the mesmerizing movie! (As far as I can tell, these are available only in Japan.)

Advanced Technology Building Better Water Toys?

Economic meltdown or not, progress shall continue unabated in the push for more technologically advanced Japanese toys. “Aqua Dance” from Bandai uses nanotechnology to create a special coating that makes water droplets take on mercury-like qualities. (From Crave on Cnet News.)

Using the same nanotech coating, “Aqua Drop,” also from Bandai, replaces those noisy, low-tech metal-ball choking-hazards of yesteryear. And by all reports, the new high-tech version is as frustrating as its predecessors. U.S. $27 from

I hate to complain about such cutesy oddities, but this is a disappointing outcome; weren’t we led to believe we’d have lotus-leaf-inspiried self-cleaning bathtubs by now?

Disaster Dignity: Water Emergency Week Day 5

Have you considered that in an emergency, your bath water might “save you from great embarassment?” Kobe, Japan’s website shares real-life experiences of citizens who were victims of the devastating Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake to encourage people to start thinking about disaster contingency plans. Here, Nada Ward, age 24, writes…

On the day of the earthquake, my husband was on a business trip and there were just two of us, myself and my child. I was so terrified by the seemingly never-ending after-shocks that we went to take shelter in our next-door neighbor’s house. Because I was under such stress, I had an upset stomach and went to use the toilet. There, something happened that I had never dreamed of. I could not flush the toilet. I did not know what to do. My neighbor’s wife brought me a bucketful of water from the bathtub.

In their household, they always used to leave their bath water in the tub undrained so that they could use it for washing or in case there was a fire. I was saved from great embarrassment because of this.

The 1995 Kobe quake left nearly one million homes without water and power. Electricity was completely restored in a week but it took over two months to fully restore drinking water. So there, shower-loving Americans, take a bath instead and don’t pull that plug just yet. Especially you folks near the fault lines.