[Update 10/20/2010] Here are some interesting stats on Japanese people and their ofuro habit. Note that over 50% (55.3% to be exact) of the respondents said that they reuse their water for washing machines.
The post was written in 2006…it’s now 4 years later and here in the US, this option is still not available to us…as one of the Japanese commented (on another discussion site), it’s hard to believe that the US is a technically advanced and “green” country…sigh~
Actually, speaking of conservation, I wouldn’t mind having one of the Japanese style toilet + sink combos either.
It saves water and space…what’s not to love?
Even after enduring two icy cold seasons in the Midwest, Charlie and I find winters in California to be the coldest. Last year we managed to keep warm by freeloading off our downstairs neighbors’ heat (we lived on the top floor of a four-story building) and taking advantage of the new double-pane windows and central heating system in the building (the apartment complex was completed the summer we moved in.) Then in August we moved to an older one-story home with hardwood floors and poor insulation so we were apprehensive as the weather got colder.
Thankfully God provided a solution in the form of a Japanese soaking tub. And now every night we go to sleep toasty even when the outside temperature drops to the low 40s (I know, I know…this temperature would be spring-like in the Midwest.)
I came across the Takagi Tub several months ago while researching the Japanese ofuro (baths that allow you to soak up to your shoulders). Back then, we were thinking about acquiring a wooden tub because it seemed like the only portable and inexpensive option. But it turns out that wooden tubs can be quite costly and the ones available in the US are large and some even require custom installation. Then I read about the Takagi Tub, which is light-weight, easy to install, and fits in a standard shower stall. Even though At-House, the company that sells the tub, has a website that provides detailed information on their products, I was hesitant about buying the tub because it just seemed too good to be true – otherwise, why wouldn’t everyone have one? (My google search turned up only product/commercial descriptions and no user reviews.)
Then a few weeks ago, Charlie and I talked about soaking and decided to look it up again. According to At-House, since the tub is only 50 lbs, it’s highly “portable,” which means that we can take the tub with us when we move. Also, being able to install it ourselves means that we wouldn’t have to alter any of the existing fixtures (we are leasing our home.)
After reading the company product information carefully and measuring to make sure that the tub will indeed fit our stall, we took the “plunge” and placed our order, just in time for Christmas. They were sold out of the small model so we ordered the larger one which is only $20 more than the smaller one.
For $800, you get the tub and a cover which helps to retain the water temperature and to keep the tub clean when it is not in use. Shipping is a flat rate of $80 for anywhere in the US – no discount for living only 8-hours away but we got the tub in just three days.
Since there seems to be no user review or post about this tub, let me post some photos for those of you out there who might want to purchase one.
How the package looked when it arrived
Charlie taking it out of the box for inspection. The delivery guy isn’t allowed to help so he’s just standing there and watching. I’ll bet he doesn’t get to see something like this everyday!
Look at the simple but efficient packaging!
The tub lid/cover
Bottom of the tub. Everything looked fine.
We forgot to measure to make sure that it would fit through the door. Good thing it did!
Charlie took off the glass shower doors before installing the tub.
The tub was slanted (for drainage) towards the opposite side of our shower head so Charlie added some wooden planks to prop it up the other way.
And it really does fit in a standard shower stall! (We put the glass doors back in later but they fit without any problems.)
First soak that day…at 4 in the afternoon.
So how do we like it? As Charlie puts it, “It’s the beset $900* we’ve ever spent!”
Here’s the link to the Takagi Tub page on At-House’ website
*$880 before tax
P.s. Forgot to mention that in addition to keeping us warm, soaking in baths every night has also many health benefits, including better blood circulation and relief from aches and pains. My backaches from picking up and holding Noah has lessened a great deal since we started soaking! If only I can do yoga consistently too…sigh~