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Column: Otaku

GEEK'S CHEEKS HIT THE SEATS OF AKIHABARA'S NEW LUXURY LAVATORY. From the MAINICHI NEWS.  (Posted by dumbo of NYC, NY - November 03, 2006 10:42)
Tokyo's government desk jockeys have created an ultra high-tech toilet that gives spending a penny an entirely new meaning, according to Shukan Asahi (11/3).

Oasis@akiba, the pricey public convenience, opened last month amid much fanfare.

It's a fully staffed washroom where patrons pay 100 yen (in cash or e-money) to go about their business.

The 160-square-meter, single story luxury loo cost the Chiyoda Municipal Government a whopping 90 million yen to build and is the only public toilet in Akihabara, the capital's famous electronics and otaku district, according to Shukan Asahi.

For the expense, patrons can expect to pee in a pristine potty or sit down on a commode that is both heated and equipped with a washer. On the walls of each cubicle are touch panel displays that provide loads of information about Akihabara and its stores. For those who like a puff with their poop, there are even cubicles for smokers.

Both the men's and women's toilets have an attendant, with three shifts daily ensuring that there is somebody to look after patrons needs during the convenience's operating hours of 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. When the attendants aren't taking care of those seeing a man about a dog or dropping off the kids, they're keeping the place clean by giving it a mop or polish.

About the only complaint users voiced to Shukan Asahi was about the charge, which they seemed to consider fairly steep at 100 yen a shot.

About 150 people used the toilet on the day the weekly spent reporting on it, with men outnumbering women by around two to one. (By Ryann Connell)
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