South Korea is known for great BBQ around the world, particularly in the US. (Have you been to Los Angeles?) How trite. That is not the only thing this venerable country does well. They make wonderful cosmetics and beauty products, and perhaps less well known, toilets. They import and export like any modern society, but provide a range of bathroom fixtures for domestic use. I don’t think they expect to compete with Kohler, American Standard, and Grohe, not to mention Japan’s TOTO. I know that toilets are not what you think right away when the word “South Korean” comes into your mind. However, there are manufacturers and supplier for this industry generating significant local revenue.

Like any country, developed or not, bathrooms, public and private, are quite various—from the primitive to the most advanced. Sometimes the situation produces culture shock. This is certainly true in parts of Africa, Russia, China, and the Middle East. In Korea, clogging is a problem that has caused attention among tourists and therefore fixture designers who are working on it and some of the best flushing toilet models in the world are coming out of Korean manufacturers. The old units can’t handle too much paper and adjacent garbage bins are sitting full to the brim. Perhaps this is why you will see plenty of janitors in public places. I know you are now thinking squatters, so just know that they are getting fewer and far between. If you don’t know what it is, don’t ask!

Rapid modernization is changing this dated picture and technology is now keeping pace. Better quality performance is assured when you renovate and replace old units. They now make electronic seats and bidets that meet changing standards and tastes. The cultural shift like this has been most welcome. The new shower toilet is a case in point. It sprays warm water due to a built-in heating system. This is considered the top of the line when it comes to personal hygiene. It can air dry and deodorize, and you can adjust the nozzle pressure. No more paper! Plus they are self-diagnostic and won’t break down.

If you are relocating and perhaps planning on residing in Seoul for family purposes or a new job, it is not out of the question to expect the new models in your home or rented condo. If you are a high roller, you can be pretty well assured. At this point, you might not have even seen this kind of self-cleaning system before, so you are in for a treat. You might even get wireless remote and a choice of aerated, pulsating, or oscillating power wash. They are like an electronic genie working at your command.

South Koreans pride themselves on keeping up with the technological revolution and given what came before, the impact has been vast. The citizenry is proud of its modernization. Urban areas are bustling and sophisticated. Western values are everywhere due to the spread of modern media. Okay, they do also make toilets for plebeians as they do elsewhere who are content with the old ways and don’t wish to pay a fortune. But if you are looking for love in South Korean places, you’ve got it.