The biggest example is the amazing Japanese toilet. These so-called “washlets” are famous for washing your butt with a jet of warm water. But that’s not their only important feature. For another thing, the seats are heated. Have you ever sat on a heated toilet seat? It is an experience not to be missed. Imagine a heated car seat on a cold day, and then imagine that without pants. Also, the toilet flushes at the touch of a button, and the button is on a control panel near your hand — no more having to reach behind you to pull a lever!
But Americans do not have Japanese toilets. It’s not because we can’t get them — I know some Japanese immigrants who’ve had them installed. So why? I’ve asked this question to many Americans, and they’re always ready with some reason. The toilets are too expensive, they say (but Americans spend ridiculously large amounts on their houses). The toilets use too much water, they say (but Americans waste a huge amount of water). American culture doesn’t permit the washing of the butt with a jet of water, they say (then how about just heated seats and push-button flushing action?).
I suspect that the real reason we don’t adopt Japanese toilets is the very fact that people are so eager to give reasons not to. We’ve grown used to the idea that everything good is invented in America. If it wasn’t invented here, it must not be worth having, we tell ourselves. It’s a toxic combination of “golden age mentality” and national chauvinism — a symptom of “Ming America.”