Greetings! I’m reporting from Tokyo for the week, and my first post finds me barely settled into my room after a grueling 21-hour day of travel. As a tech writer, I can’t act surprised that the Japanese are obsessed with gadgets. Nonetheless, when I finally entered my room at the Imperial Hotel, I was blown away when I found technology hidden everywhere, often in unexpected places. Before I came to Japan, various friends chipped in helpful tidbits about the country. Our own Jeffrey Wilson told me how to say hello. An associate warned me to hand out my business cards with both hands, and to never, ever put someone else’s card in my pocket, especially not the back one. And more than a few people whispered that the Japanese are strange when it comes to bodily functions. Every bathroom in the country, it seems, has a panel of buttons, allowing users to play music or sound effects (namely, flowing water) while they’re in there. But my hotel bathroom takes the cake, with three consoles, allowing users to not just play sound effects, but adjust the volume. Users can also program the toilet to stay warm and “deodorize.” In case you find this confusing, you can call for help using the adjacent phone: Another thing I’d heard is that Japan is big on bathtub-friendly cell phones (because they also like baths more than Americans do). This one has a console above the faucet, so that all you have to do is press the green “Fill” button to start filling up the tub, and “Stop” when you’re finished. There’s even a thermostat so that you don’t have to adjust the temperature the old-fashioned way, by, you know, twisting knobs . In the foyer, guests can press one of two buttons to indicate whether they’d like privacy, housekeeping service, or neither. It’s a good idea, actually: those plastic over-the-door things aren’t particularly classy– or discreet. After you’ve exhausted yourself from pressing so many buttons, you can cap off your laziness by controlling the curtains, drapes, lamps, and overhead light using a single bedside console.