health

PSA: Electronics hate hot cars too – don’t leave your smartphone locked in this summer

PSA: Electronics hate hot cars too – don’t leave your smartphone locked in this summer

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.

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Hyotan Onsen – Japan’s only hot spring with three Michelin stars

Hyotan Onsen – Japan’s only hot spring with three Michelin stars

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.

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Crazy ad shows why we need to do sit-ups: To survive alien and pro wrestler attacks 【Video】

Crazy ad shows why we need to do sit-ups: To survive alien and pro wrestler attacks 【Video】

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.

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Suicides drop for second year in Japan, still leading cause of death among young adults

Suicides drop for second year in Japan, still leading cause of death among young adults

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.

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Korean woman gets plastic surgery to look like model Miranda Kerr, gets pretty close!

Korean woman gets plastic surgery to look like model Miranda Kerr, gets pretty close!

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.

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Is Japan’s Cat Island in danger of turning into the Island of Fat Cats?

Is Japan’s Cat Island in danger of turning into the Island of Fat Cats?

There’s a Japanese proverb, “Neko ni Koban,” that translates as “Giving a gold coin to a cat.” It’s a metaphor for offering something of worth that the recipient either doesn’t need or can’t understand the value of, but it’s also a telling example of how hard it is to win a cat’s favor. Cats have no use for our money, they’re not impressed by our fashion trends, and even if they appreciate our modern sense of humor they’re too proud to let it show by openly laughing.

With so few options, in an attempt to curry favor, some people offer stray cats food (although not, in fact, a bowl of curry). But might this be causing a problem to the residents of one of Japan’s famous cat islands?

We dispatched our Japanese-language correspondent, Meg, to find out (and also pet some kitties while she was at it).

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Chinese hospital dresses nurses like flight attendants for some reason 【Video】

Chinese hospital dresses nurses like flight attendants for some reason 【Video】

If the thought of a prolonged hospital stay or the sight of common doctors and nurses terrifies you, you might consider moving to China, where one hospital has taken it upon themselves to dress their nurses up like flight attendants – presumably to help patients forget, at least momentarily, that they’re in a healthcare facility.

We imagine the planning stage for the idea went something like this: 1) Dress nurses like flight attendants, 2) ???, 3) profit!

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Need another reason to drink green tea? How about preventing dementia?

Need another reason to drink green tea? How about preventing dementia?

There’s quite a lot to be said for green tea. It has no calorific content of its own to speak of, and doesn’t need sugar or cream to taste great. A steaming cup can warm you up in winter, or you can drop a couple of ice cubes in and cool off with a glass in midsummer.

Now, new research suggests that aside from keeping your body trim and your palate pleased, a daily cup of green tea can help keep your mind sharp by warding off the onset of dementia.

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Company’s smoking regulations cover all bases with math, technology, psychology, and courtesy

Company’s smoking regulations cover all bases with math, technology, psychology, and courtesy

While progress has been slow and begrudging, anti-smoking movements are finally starting to gain traction in Japan. For example, smoking is largely banned in train stations, except for in designated enclosed smoking spaces, and even many of those are being removed.

Likewise, when smartphone advertising firm Adways moved into a new office, management saw it as a chance to rethink how to make the workplace more comfortable for nonsmokers, and came up with a solution that uses a mix of technology and simple common courtesy.

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Big in Japan: 25 insightful musings from a self-proclaimed “fatty”

Big in Japan: 25 insightful musings from a self-proclaimed “fatty”

It’s not easy out there for people with weight issues when even fictional monsters are criticized for being too pudgy. But a popular Japanese Twitter user with more than 45,000 followers is pushing back on society’s fat-shaming and telling the world how great life is when Ramen Jiro is your “afternoon snack.”

E_Debu, who says he is “the fatty who has a high consciousness,” has been musing on his observations about life as a big person. He enlightens his online audience on some of the hardships as well as the benefits of coming in a larger size. Click below to read 25 thought-provoking observations from one of the most popular “fatties” on the Internet.

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Who do Japanese women want to care for them when they get sick? (Hint: it’s not their boyfriends)

Who do Japanese women want to care for them when they get sick? (Hint: it’s not their boyfriends)

As the new business and academic year takes its toll and Japan collectively sniffles with a case of the May blues, people all over the country are hiding under their blankets and calling in sick (probably using paid vacation days rather than actual sick leave, but that’s another story). When you’re feeling under the weather, it’s always nice to have someone to fluff up your pillows, cook you comfort food and generally feel sorry for you.

Japanese website My Navi Woman surveyed Japanese women in their 20s and 30s, asking them: “When you get a cold, who do you want to be by your side looking after you?” You may – or may not – be surprised to hear that boyfriends came in at a measly third place, with only 22 percent of women saying they’d want their man to care for them.

Let’s take a look at the rest of the rankings, and at what reasons Japanese women gave for wanting (or rejecting!) someone’s love and attention.

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Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the baldest of them all? Japan top for male baldness in Asia

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the baldest of them all? Japan top for male baldness in Asia

There are a number of theories regarding the causes of male pattern baldness. Some suggest that one’s diet and stress levels play key roles. Others feel that regular exercise will help keep locks thick and plentiful until well after retirement. Most would agree, though, that our genes hold the most sway, and if a man loses his hair then chances are his son, too, will have increasingly more face to wash as he ages.

Baldness affects some more than others, however, and a survey by Trip Advisor Japan has revealed the countries where male baldness is most common, with Japan found to have more bald men than any other Asian country.

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Can’t finish all your sake? Try bathing in it for healthy, younger-looking skin!

Can’t finish all your sake? Try bathing in it for healthy, younger-looking skin!

A few of Japan’s most popular pastimes aren’t exactly what some other societies would consider socially acceptable, or even comprehensible, as hobbies. It’s perfectly acceptable to say your hobby is “drinking” or “taking baths,” and while those are both common activities the world over, in other countries most people stop putting their enthusiasm for the first front and center after graduating from college, and the second is seen as more of a necessity than an entertainment option.

Japan’s love for alcohol and bathing, though, is immense, as evidenced by the thousands of bars, pubs, and hot spring resorts that cover the country. Now, some are claiming there are health benefits to combining the two by mixing a little booze into your bath.

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Five foods you should never feed to your cat

Five foods you should never feed to your cat

From Hello Kitty to the ubiquitous cat cafes, it’s no secret to our readers that Japan loves cats. Despite their tendency to view us humans as their own personal servants, we can’t seem to get enough of their fluffy cuteness and sometimes ridiculous antics. Whenever you need to smile, a silly cat video will usually do the trick.

So why not repay your cat by ensuring its healthy lifestyle? For starters, you can reevaluate your cat’s diet by checking out this list we’ve compiled of five at-a-glance foods that you should never feed to your pet. Maybe your kitty will thank you for your concern with even more purring and nuzzles (and no dead mice!).   

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Gadgets before flowers – Japanese moms reveal what they really want for Mother’s Day

Gadgets before flowers – Japanese moms reveal what they really want for Mother’s Day

Although the association of carnations with Mother’s Day began in the United States and stretches back over 100 years, I grew up never really being conscious of it (likely due to some combination of being a terrible son and having little interest in historical events that didn’t involve swords).

In Japan, though, most people are aware that carnations are a symbol for Mother’s Day, and a bouquet of the flowers is by far the most common gift given on the holiday. But while mothers across the country appreciate the gesture, one survey says there’s something they want even more: electronics.

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Advice for new employees in Japan: Never take your temperature

Advice for new employees in Japan: Never take your temperature

My very first job in Japan was with an established, well-known company that’s one of the top enterprises in its field. The company’s nationwide scale and decades of operations seemed to mark it as sophisticated and experienced enough to appreciate the value of a good employee support system, so I was a little surprised during the training session for new employees when we were told, “If you’re going to take a sick day, you have to tell your manager at least 24 hours in advance.”

The problem is, coming down with the flu isn’t like getting free shipping from Amazon, in that it usually doesn’t take more than a day. Unfortunately, my old employer never taught us how to know we’d be sick two days ahead of time, but another Japanese company has an effective way of sidestepping the issue entirely: never check to see if you have a fever.

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Miso soup could help protect against cancer, research suggests

Miso soup could help protect against cancer, research suggests

Miso soup is a staple of the traditional Japanese diet and has long been anecdotally connected with Japanese people’s famously long life expectancy. Now, research has linked consumption of miso soup with a reduced risk of stomach and breast cancer.

Japan’s cancer rates are low compared to western countries, but the country’s relatively high rates of stomach cancer have often been blamed on the high sodium content of the traditional Japanese diet. However, research suggests that miso, the fermented soybean paste which makes the base of miso soup and many other Japanese dishes, could actually counter-act the harmful effects of sodium consumption and even smoking.

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Healthy eating just got better with cupcake wrappers made from seaweed

Healthy eating just got better with cupcake wrappers made from seaweed

If you’re a fan of obento, those delicious looking home-made Japanese lunches full of colour and variety, then you’re going to love this product from Japan: edible cupcake wrappers made from seaweed.

Traditionally, these little wrappers are made from paper or plastic and while they’re great for keeping flavours separate in your lunch box, the daily waste involved isn’t really that great for the environment. Now with this edible variety on the market, you can look forward to taking home an empty lunch box at the end of the day and rest easy knowing you’ve left nature unharmed. Plus, if this idea spills over to the cupcake world, it looks like we could soon be having our cake and eating its wrapper too!

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How to enjoy wasabi painlessly, or at least as painlessly as possible

How to enjoy wasabi painlessly, or at least as painlessly as possible

A few months ago we mentioned the various health benefits a daily dose of the Japanese condiment wasabi has to offer. Afterwards, I was intrigued by the potential anti-aging and cancer preventing effects that five grams a day could bring.

However, eating that much wasabi every day is easier said than done. As small as it is, that little ball can pack quite a punch if eaten all at once. Other more traditional uses of wasabi like on sushi are small and require you to eat a lot every day.

Luckily, there actually are quite a few ways to try and enjoy wasabi without feeling its notorious sting. If you can get past that, then you can enjoy what a delicious root it truly is.

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We put the internet’s “techniques for emptying your bladder with morning wood” to the test

We put the internet’s “techniques for emptying your bladder with morning wood” to the test

Ladies, you might want to cover your eyes for this one, ’cause this piece is going to get a little, um… messy.

Guys know all too well how awkward it can be to wake up with what is not-so-delicately referred to as “morning wood;” That is, a big honkin’ erection first thing in the morning for no apparent reason. Now, if you’re getting your standard eight hours of sleep, odds are – man or woman – you’re also going to have an urge to pee, but morning wood complicates this significantly: How on earth do you empty your bladder while pitching an underpants tent?

A series of hilarious diagrams outlining the possible methods a man may use to tackle this situation recently appeared online. The Japanese arm of our site thought these were frankly the best thing ever, but wondered whether they could really be applied to real life, so with a willing model and a camera, headed into the bathroom to give the poses – from “the Lunge” to “the Superman” – a try.

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