There are certain topics that although you may be interested in, one just doesn’t bring up in polite company, the least of which being the regularity of a country’s bowel movements. But luckily our poop-curious friends over at Glico (as in the major Japanese snack company) recently completed a survey about constipation that gives us a very personal look at the health of Japan’s number two habits. The aptly named “Lifestyle and Constipation” survey has revealed which Japanese prefectures are keeping things downstairs regular and which ones are all clogged up.
I spent two winter seasons working in the hospital emergency room (as a translator) in Niseko, a popular Hokkaido snow holiday destination for foreigners. While we had our share of broken bones from ski and boarding accidents, what impressed upon me most was the number of people who get ill while on vacation. There were just as many sudden illnesses as snow-related accidents–everything from gastrointestinal disorders to ear infections and first-time asthma attacks which too many times put people in the emergency room.
The good news is that most of these illnesses can be avoided, but different cultures pose different health risks and knowing what to watch out for beforehand can be tricky, if not impossible. In this article, I’ll share some tips on how to stay healthy while traveling in Japan in wintertime, based on my experience working with hundreds of foreigners who ended up in hospital on their vacations.
By following some simple (but not necessarily so obvious) rules, we aim to keep our snow-loving Rocketeers out of Japan’s hospitals and flying down the slopes in all their glory instead!
So, usually when it comes to burgers in Japan, we prefer to let the talented burger artists at famous fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s, Burger King and especially Lotteria do their thing – because it usually results in crazy squid ink burgers, nine-patty monstrosities, and other 6th grade science experiment-esque monstrosities.
But McDonald’s has slowly been unveiling a tech- and customer-savvy new way of dealing burgers with its limited run of “Create a Burger” options at select stores.
Ever felt like you needed a little company or affection but didn’t want to go through the hassle of actually interacting with another human being face-to-face?
You might go for a new pet – a dog, cat, or, in even the creepiest of circumstances, an exotic reptile – or you might head to an online chatroom, some kind of hotline, a mobile app, or maybe even one of those newfangled virtual schoolgirl ogling simulators.
Or, if you’re a misunderstood serial killer, maybe you’d instead go for one of these incredibly disconcerting hugging clown chairs.
Oct 10, 2014
When I first moved to Japan in college, every weekend meant a party and a new group of people to meet, with a standard set of questions I got asked. The logic behind “What’s your name?” was obvious, and “Where are you from?” also makes sense when you’re one of the few non-Japanese people in the room. “Do you like Japanese girls?” was another common one, based on the widely held, if not always true, theory that foreign guys like Japanese women, and vice-versa.
Those three always came first, but it wasn’t long until someone would want to know my blood type. No, my school wasn’t filled with vampires or hemophiliacs, nor hemophiliac vampires (the most tragic undead demographic). People just wanted to get a sneak peak at my personality, which is thought to be strongly connected to what runs through your veins by many people in Japan.
One man who’s not a believer, though, is Professor Kengo Nawata from Kyushu University’s Social Psychology Department, whose recently concluded research shows no correlation between personality and blood type.
Oct 8, 2014
In some ways, Sailor Moon is a strange choice for a character to build an anime franchise around. Her natural tendency is to be lazy and whiney, which isn’t exactly what you’d expect from a magical heroine.
But what endears Sailor Moon to so many fans is that, when the chips are down, she’s loyal and brave. Whether you’re being attacked by monsters or just feeling down in the dumps about bombing your math test, she’ll be with you through any rough times.
That’s a promise that even extends to when you’re on your period, thanks to new Sailor Moon menstrual pads. No, seriously.
Oct 3, 2014
Imagine for a moment that you’re a man with unlimited wealth, who no longer has to do anything for himself. Your financial planner manages your investments, freeing you from having to do any sort of day-to-day work. Likewise, your personal assistant handles all of your shopping and household maintenance needs.
But being filthy rich is no excuse for being filthy dirty. Of course, given your economic status, personal grooming seems just a little below the tasks you should be required to perform, doesn’t it? The only sensible thing to do is to employ a team of beautiful models expressly for the purpose of giving you a shampoo while they whisper suggestive nothings into your ear.
Okay, daydream’s over. Time to go back to reality…or is it? If you’re in Tokyo this weekend, and feeling like your scalp could use a good scrub from some scantily clad women, there’s an event where you can live out that exact fantasy.
Oct 1, 2014
So today, we’re going to talk about something that has a sizeable cult following in Japan: dakimakura, also known as huggy pillows.
Hey, where’s everybody going? Come back! This isn’t about pillows with covers depicting anime girls in various state of undress (not that such things don’t exist in awkwardly huge quantities in Japan). Instead, we’re taking a look at ordinary, undecorated pillows with an extra-large size that’re designed to be embraced as you fall asleep. Not only won’t you have to hide them when you’ve got company coming over, they’ve actually got a number of health benefits, say fans of non-anime dakimakura.
Sep 8, 2014
If you’ve ever experienced an Asian summer, you’ll know how unbearably hot and humid it can be. In Thailand, where summer temperatures often stay above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees F) and can reach 100% humidity, keeping body temperatures down becomes a priority not only for people, but for our furry friends as well.
Clever canines know to beat the heat by hanging outside local convenience stores, where there’s shade, a cold surface to lie on, and best of all, a steady flow of traffic to open the automatic doors, releasing precious, steady gusts of cool, conditioned air. But there’s more…
At first glance, the sleek packaging of these pantie liners for men looks like a mocked-up image that could have been made as a joke. It looks almost identical to the packaging of some (women’s) liners, except that the branding is silver and dark navy. The product is real and can be purchased in Japan. And unlike bras and panties for men, the market it’s targeting isn’t niche.
When crazy ideas work, they can be genius. And if that little spark of genius makes our working day just that little bit easier to get through, it’s got to be applauded and shared.
So, without further ado, we bring you the foot hammock. With benefits for your physical and emotional well-being, there’s never been an easier way to rest your body and your mind while at work.
When I was in high school, every year there was an on-campus blood drive. It always saw a pretty good turnout, with a large number of generous and socially conscious students willing to part with their home-brewed hemoglobin to help others. The organizers even sweetened the deal by holding the event in the middle of the day, meaning that you could get out of a period of class by participating. And while that’s a pretty nice incentive, I think it’s been one-upped by a blood bank in Tokyo that offers a bookshelf of free manga to read and ice cream to munch on.
Aug 9, 2014
Cigarettes. They’re awful, stinking things that do nothing but make you want more and give you cancer. Yet millions of people continue to smoke, putting their lives even more at risk every time they light up.
But as this video from Indian youth entertainment channel YTV Network shows, when a kid approaches and asks for a cheeky cig, pretty much every smoker will refuse to give them one and immediately starts lecturing them about the dangers of smoking.
Aug 1, 2014
I used to think it was kind of strange how every summer so many women in Japan carry parasols, as though the whole country suddenly slipped back in time to the 19th century. I soon came to understand that this isn’t due to any sort of classic image of propriety or fashion sense, but simply because Japan can be mercilessly hot in the summer, when high temperatures and humidity can make walking around a concrete heat island like Tokyo for too long not just uncomfortable but dangerous.
In light of how much walking you have to do in urban Japan, parasols are actually a pretty smart idea. Still, sometimes they can do their job a little too well, since being insulated from the harsh sunshine can sometimes make you forget about the importance of putting on sunscreen.
There’s now a cute new way to remedy this, though, with a parasol that uses cat paws to tell you how strong the UV rays are.
Jul 31, 2014
For the most part, Japan takes personal hygiene pretty seriously. Combing your hair, putting on makeup, and getting dressed in the proper attire are all seen as essential parts of getting ready to go out in public, and dress codes are a much bigger deal than in some countries.
The standard grooming routine runs into one pretty big problem in the summer, though. Since most people in Japan take a bath at night before going to bed, by the time they arrive at work or school the next day, several hours have passed, during which sweat, oil, and odors can build up on the body. To combat this, there’s a wide variety of fragrances and deodorants available in drug stores, with one brand in particular that’s being described as “the ideal scent for women.”
Jul 3, 2014
Like much of the Northern Hemisphere, Japan is now entering into the deep summer and the unbearable heat and sunlight that come along with it. This means that it’s time again to remind people not to leave their loved ones – human or animal – inside the car on a hot day, as even over a relatively short period of time the temperature inside a vehicle can rise to lethal levels.
Electronics, too, have a particularly strong aversion to the summer heat, as proven by a car-related mishap reported on 2-channel yesterday. This technologically tragic tale doesn’t have a happy ending, but hopefully it will save others in the future from suffering a similar fate.
Even though the prefecture is home to barely a million residents, Oita has not one, but two famous hot spring resorts. Yufuin is generally held to be the more refined and tastefully restrained of the pair, while Beppu, despite having some of the most popular hot springs in Japan, gets saddled with the reputation as the more touristy town.
While there may be some truth to the labels, there’s one thing Beppu has that you won’t find in Yufuin, or anywhere else in the country for that matter: Japan’s only hot spring with three Michelin stars.
Jun 19, 2014
All else equal, most people would prefer to have a set of firm, sculpted abdominal muscles. Of course, most people miss out on their chance for six-pack abs when they give in to the temptation of a six-pack of beer, unlimited fried chicken, or one of the numerous other ways our modern, delicious society can derail one’s quest for personal fitness.
Making things even harder is the perception that you can get through your daily life just fine without a particularly strong or muscular core. After all, what kind of catastrophe is going to befall you where only your abdominals can save you?
We’re glad you asked, because this crazy, breakneck-paced Japanese commercial has several answers.
Jun 6, 2014
The Japanese government recently released its 2014 white paper on suicide in the nation. While the continuing downward trend in the number of people taking their own lives is encouraging, the statistics also revealed the sobering and troubling fact that suicide is the leading cause of death among Japanese aged 15 to 34.
May 27, 2014
I have a little game I sometimes like to play where I compare Japanese people I see on the street with American celebrities and friends. I once had a Japanese acquaintance who was a dead ringer for Nathan Lane, for example, and a popular Japanese comedian reminds me a whole lot of a childhood friend.
Of course, it’s not like these guys were going out of their way to look like Westerners; they just happened to have similar features. But there’s a whole other class of Japanese, Koreans and other East Asians that spend an exorbitant amount of time and money trying to get that Hollywood look – from wardrobe changes to hair dying, even skin bleaching and plastic surgery.
Results are typically mixed, but one South Korean woman apparently hit the jackpot in her quest to look like Australian model Miranda Kerr – because, after numerous plastic surgeries, she’s pretty well on her way to looking like Kerr’s long-lost twin.
- Video of guy giving pandas medicine is insanely cute, unless you’re the guy1
- Korean tattoo artist’s small, simple, stylish “line tattoos” change our impression of getting inked2
- Worst date ever! Japan’s ladies reveal the top five date ideas to avoid3
- We still don’t feel bad for you, Emperor: Photos of actors and their historical counterparts4
- “Don’t play for more than an hour a day”: Japanese video game master gives great advice5
- Small-you-can-eat: Japanese netizens are not happy with Denny’s new endless pancakes offer6
- Has a Japanese company found the fountain of youth? One man’s youthful skin suggests so7
- The Simpsons Halloween episode pays tribute to popular anime8
- Poor little dog is driven into corner by owner’s terrifying new house guest9
- Sun + Magnifying glass = Art? One man’s unique “painting” style will blow your mind10
- Korean tattoo artist’s small, simple, stylish “line tattoos” change our impression of getting inked1
- Anime pregnancy tests: The latest otaku meme, and it’s not just for 2-D girls2
- Why does Engrish happen in Japan?3
- The 10 best anime of the fall season, according to Japanese otaku4
- Somebody turned a Disney Channel cartoon into an anime and it’s pretty awesome5
- Clever font sneaks pronunciation guide for English speakers into Japanese katakana characters6
- Beautiful old footage shows “God of Judo” Kyuzo Mifune gracefully defeat young challengers【Video】7
- We still don’t feel bad for you, Emperor: Photos of actors and their historical counterparts8
- Awesome Air Umbrella from China keeps you dry with blasts of air9
- Chinese woman’s catty comeback to Korean colleague gets netizens talking10
- Mickey and friends in human form are more charming than we had imagined! 【Pics】1
- A sad turn of events at a butterfly exhibition in China2
- Chinese cat with unfortunate dark patch of fur tired of people asking why it’s shocked3
- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea4
- Watch liquid turn into food at Japanese sample food factory 【Videos】5
- Japanese mothers react to being called by their first names after years of just being “Mama”6
- Korean tattoo artist’s small, simple, stylish “line tattoos” change our impression of getting inked7
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls8
- “Beautiful foreigner walking a polar bear” spotted at Shibuya’s famous crossing9
- Anime pregnancy tests: The latest otaku meme, and it’s not just for 2-D girls10
- “Mom’s 1st Birthday” – Try to get through this video without tearing up【Video】1
- School textbook is withdrawn after “teacher” on the front is recognized as Japanese adult video star2
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls3
- Mickey and friends in human form are more charming than we had imagined! 【Pics】4
- A sad turn of events at a butterfly exhibition in China5
- 6-year-old boy vowed to marry his childhood sweetheart, really marries her 18 years later6
- Ten-year-old boy cuts construction worker’s lifeline because noise was interrupting his cartoons7
- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea8
- Chinese cat with unfortunate dark patch of fur tired of people asking why it’s shocked9
- Surgery, diet, and sunscreen transform heavy, swarthy Thai boy into slender, tan-free lady10
- Small-you-can-eat: Japanese netizens are not happy with Denny’s new endless pancakes offer
- Has a Japanese company found the fountain of youth? One man’s youthful skin suggests so
- The Simpsons Halloween episode pays tribute to popular anime
- Poor little dog is driven into corner by owner’s terrifying new house guest
- Sun + Magnifying glass = Art? One man’s unique “painting” style will blow your mind
- Spoil your pet rotten with this comfy bed and blanket that looks fit for a king!
- Trending on Twitter, girls draw themselves as dashing high school boys【Photos】
- 35 fascinating photos of Korea from 100 years ago (before K-dramas took over Asia)
- Kirishima Geopark: Trekking through a bonsai forest in the clouds 【Photos】
- Robot rebellion begins with a cranky Roomba, Internet users too busy laughing to fight back
- Rising star of Japanese horse racing is as ridiculously fast as he is comically scatterbrained
- When first-try character bentos go wrong 【Photos】
- New ‘Shrine Cafe’ in Tokyo offers fortune-telling and counseling services with your tea