As we’ve already discovered ad nauseum (literally), Japan loves re-purposing poop. So it comes as absolutely no surprise that TOTO, Japan’s version of American Standard, is promoting it’s new eco-friendly image with an upcoming 500-mile jaunt from Kyushu to Tokyo on its prototype Toilet Bike Neo.
What makes Neo a “toilet bike”, you ask? Well… it’s “powered entirely by the on-board biogas digester. Biogas systems use an anaerobic bacteria system to convert dead organic matter into a usable fuel primarily made of methane.” Theoretically, this hog could run forever, provided the driver’s nice an’ regular. Oh, and if pooping out in the open into your vehicle is not embarrassing enough for you, Neo also talks as part of this campaign. Because nothing makes you less self-conscious while pooping in public than the robot you’re sitting on shooting the breeze with you. Still—pooh-derived energy certainly beats nuclear meltdowns. Right?
I “get” kawaii. I like cute stuff. I understand the appeal.
I also get irony. I am, after all, a postmodern Gen Y-er. To someone of my age and disposition, irony is the peas to my cynicism’s carrots.
So to combine the cuteness of kawaii with the irony that has been the life-blood of the last few generations seems like a no-brainer.
But something about kawaii-styled pooh smells funny (ZING!)
This is nothing against designer Undoboy, who has a much more impressive design resume than I do, and who seems to have a relatively concrete aesthetic that he works from and within.
But poop is poop. It is, quite literally, waste. And the deranged notion amongst kawaii enthusiasts that illustrating anything in a kawaii style makes it adorable, regardless of how noxious it actually is, is ridiculous. And while we’re calling spades spades, let’s also acknowledge that avoiding poop’s natural, um, “hue” in lieu of a more aesthetically-pleasing rainbow palette is cheating.
That said, be sure to be on the lookout for my upcoming design, “Pastel Vomit”. Two can play at this game, Undoboy!