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SOURCE: CORE77.COM

What Do the Different Icons on Japanese Washlet Toilets Mean?

Visitors to Japan may find themselves befuddled by the control panels on washlet toilets, like this one:

There are at least nine different toilet manufacturers, each with their own graphic design team that has individually decided how to communicate various functions. For example:

In an effort to make these less confusing to foreigners, the members of the Japan Sanitary Equipment Industry Association have agreed to standardize the designs. Here's the new universal iconography:

And here's what they all mean:

For those of you that can read katakana, this one may confuse you a bit:

In katakana it says "bidet," yet is meant to refer to "Front Spray for Females." This is because in Japan, "bidet" has erroneously been understood to refer to only that part of the job. But consider the graphic design challenge this poses: If we look at the icon for "Rear Spray"....

...that's clearly an ass, which could belong to either gender. How does one flip the image around to indicate "Front Spray for Females [Only]" without drawing something crass? 

The designers have neatly solved this by not showing the front view at all, but by using a side profile and simply adding an extra tuft of hair to suggest a female.

Well played. Though we are a bit curious to see what designs ended up not making the cut.

In any case, the standardization of these icons is a welcome measure, and one that will surely go down in the annals of graphic design history.

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SOURCE: CORE77.COM

Happy Friday From These Friendly Japanese Gas Tanks 

I live in Portland, Oregon, which is home to several large above-ground water towers. When I first moved into an apartment near one of these enormous green mushrooms I couldn't shake the sense that it loomed over the neighborhood watchfully. Like that ominous iron-shaped edifice in FLCL. Smaller towns are likely more used to these contraptions, and larger cities have too much visual clutter and land value to think about them much. Whether they're part of your daily landscape or not, we could take some pointers from the Japanese on how to make our bulbous and off-putting industrial architecture a bit more approachable. 

Japan uses a good deal of natural gas—as of 2014 they were around the 5th largest consumer market internationally—which means they hold and process a lot of gas. While that kind of bloated architecture might be embarrassing in other cultures, the Japanese have found plenty of ways to embrace and work around their bulging buildings. 

Painting them like fruit and vegetables seems to be a common way of blending them seamlessly into their surroundings.

Nature scenes are popular too. Think it's anything like the trend of naming condos and gated communities after the stuff they cut down to make them? Probably not. The Japanese have a great respect for nature.

Maybe this gas was made from millennia-old hummingbirds? That's certainly cuter than decomposing dinosaurs and ancient plant matter.

Yeah, I don't really know. Is it steering? Why you'd want a carp in a rolling cart at all, let alone on the side of an enormous gas tank, is not something I can answer. But I'd still enjoy having it outside my window.

Everything's going to be great, I can feel it. Might just be gas though.

Have a happy weekend! 

You can find many more creatively decorated tanks (Tandem bicycles! Fat children! Soccer balls!) and their locations at the Gastank Map.

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