Of all the PR-friendly ways there are to spread a message, corporate or otherwise, sending some poor sap out to ride across an entire country on a motorized toilet surely ranks high on the list of “Uh, what?” schemes we've seen.
Allow us to introduce the poop-powered Toilet Bike Neo. It's a three-wheeled chopper-style motorcycle from Toto, one of Japan’s largest toilet suppliers.
Contrary to what you might think (and who can blame any mind for wandering in that direction), the retro steed runs not on human “output” from the unfortunate rider, but on biogas brewed from animal dung and household wastewater.
Um, and it also comes fitted with a tiny talking latrine on the handlebars, a nightclub-style “air-writer” LED device for leaving bon mots trailing in its wake and a high-end sound system.
The Toilet Bike Neo Project is part of the Toto Green Challenge initiative to promote the firm’s goal aim of cutting greenhouse-gas emissions in its customers’ bathrooms (again, say what?) in half by 2017.
Throughout October, the portable pooper will travel 1,000 kilometers across Japan from a Toto factory in Kyushu to its final resting point in Tokyo.
It’s stopping along the way to spread the word about the energy conservation methods that Toto promotes, such as the company's high-efficiency toilets.
Any kids undergoing toilet training should stay away from the front of the Toilet Bike Neo, as the talking commode on the handlebars is more than a little scary, yapping out fortunes, stock quotes and other snippets no one wants to hear right now.
Still, the message is a sound one and the mobile latrine’s photo blog is one of the more unusual Japan travel diaries we’ve seen -- perhaps it’ll one day inspire a new generation of eco-warriors to rise up and festoon the nation in two-ply.
Jane Leung is a Hong Kong-born Canadian who has dabbled in the mixed media bag of film and television production, the professional sports industry and magazine publishing.Read more about Jane Leung