It never fails. After a day of hiking in the mountains, or sightseeing in a new city, you return to your hotel to clean off the smog and assorted grime and… drip, drip, drip. I’ve had crappy, low-pressure showers in every country I’ve visited, except Japan.
What’s so special about Japan? Their design is, above all else, simple. Simple = few things can go wrong. In most other countries, especially the US, shower heads have followed the Gillette approach to product innovation: complexity. “Now you can experience the ultimate in shaving technology: the Ultra-XL5000 with 15 razors!” Shower heads now have dozens of tiny holes that get clogged with minerals and decorative hoses that get kinked and knotted.
About one month ago, I had what would be the last frustrating shower in my new house. I have just come home from jiu-jitsu training and had to scrub myself for about 30 minutes under a drizzle of water to get soap off of my mat-burned body. No fun. I headed straight to Home Depot the next morning and bought three shower heads to test. All of them took up to 45 minutes to install, with assembly and hardware; two of them were too cumbersome and long to be practical (the pipe for my shower is at near-Hobbit height for some reason); and the last barely increased water pressure, despite having “increase water pressure up to 10x!!!” on the package.
I returned to Home Depot and asked for the smallest showerhead they sold, which brought me to an odd little gadget the size of a wine cork.
“Oh, you don’t want that one,” said the employee.
“I’ve never seen anyone buy it. Too simple and ugly.” I was sold.
The Alson’s Incredible Head (TM) Power Shower showerhead has been one of the best investments in my home and travel life. I installed it in 10 seconds with no more than hand tightening, and my first shower was like going from Chinese water torture to a fire hydrant. Those of you who played sports in high school will find it pleasantly reminiscent of high school power showers. There is a small ball-bearing that increases pressure, much like when you put your thumb over a hose to increase spraying distance. This design also cuts down on water use 30-40%! The Japanese would be proud.
I have since bought another Incredible Head (TM) (I’m not kidding) showerhead for traveling, and it has fit almost every shower I’ve encountered abroad.
Go simple and be clean. Two rules to live by.