Have you ever wished that bathroom stalls came with a second toilet roll dispenser containing paper designed specifically for your smartphone? Probably not. But if you ever visit the arrival halls of Japan’s Narita Airport, that’s exactly what you’ll find.
Rather than being made for some type of secret human/smartphone biological abomination, the paper can be used to clean your smartphone’s screen after you answer the call of nature.
The whole thing may seem a bit weird, but it’s a pretty good idea. Smartphone displays can hold 20 times as many bacteria as a toilet seat; not surprising, given that around 65 – 75 percent of owners admit to using their handsets while in the bathroom to check social media, message friends, and even make phone calls.
The mini toilet roll dispensers were installed in 86 stalls across seven restrooms by Japanese phone operator NTT Docomo last Friday, where they will stay until the promotion ends next March. The paper, which includes the message “Welcome to Japan,” informs visitors of the nationwide wi-fi service and suggests they install a particular travel guide app that features voice translation.
As noted in the famous Simpsons episode, Japan has a reputation for its technologically advanced toilets. Many public restrooms are fitted with heated seats that fire jets of warm water and air. Additionally, The Guardian points out that some women’s public restrooms feature a Sound Princess – a device that produces loud flushing noises to cover any embarrassing sounds. Japanese women often flush toilets to camouflage noises, but the sound princess saves water and is quicker and easier to activate.
The country’s newest toilet models have a deodorizing function and intelligent seat lids that can rise automatically depending on whether a male user is going to be standing up or sitting down during his stay. Japan: the best place in the world to go to the bathroom.